If you’re reading this post, then a number of things are likely to be true. First, you’re probably either a graduate student or someone who works with graduate students. Second, you’ve almost certainly spent time in the last few months thinking about funding for next semester, next summer, or next year. Finally, I’d guess that the deadline for internal grants and fellowships has either just passed or is about to—the deadline here at Duke, for example, is November 17. All of which raises the question: why read an article about applying for funding now?
Let me start by saying that I, too, am a graduate student, and I know how much time and energy our research and teaching require. It’s no exaggeration to say that for many of us, the work of finding funding can rise to the level of feeling like a third part-time job. So I’m willing to bet that for many of you, the process looked something like this:
- A quick online search.
- A chat with a friend, a professor, or your DGS.
- Applications to a few internal fellowships and one or two well-known external fellowships from groups like Mellon/ACLS or the National Science Foundation, all due around the same time.
If that sounds about right, you may be surprised to learn that there’s a wealth of other funding opportunities whose deadlines haven’t passed, like the $25,000 Ford Foundation Fellowship Program due in December, or the $22,000 Louisville Institute Dissertation Fellowship due in February 2018.
I can hear you saying, “But Phillip, you work at The Graduate School! Of course you know about these opportunities. How can the rest of us get that inside scoop?” Well, you can relax, because The Graduate School’s Find Funding page is a smart, searchable database that you can use to track down a variety of funding opportunities whose deadlines aren’t all at the same time.
In addition to connecting users with internal fellowship opportunities (which it obviously does as well) the Find Funding page is also your point of access for:
- The Office of Research Support’s huge funding database
- Duke’s PIVOT subscription, which offers even more search tools and tutorials
- Funding workshops and training from the Office of Research Support
Want even more help? Consider enrolling in one of these classes for the 2018 spring semester:
- GS 805 Writing in the Natural Sciences
- GS 810 Grant and Fellowship Writing in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Both of these classes include substantial attention to writing grant and fellowship applications. (In fact, the entire GS 810 class is devoted to the topic!)
Last but not least, there’s always this extremely helpful handout assembled by the Nationally Competitive Scholarships group at the Office of Undergraduate Scholars and Fellows, which lists some of the best graduate student fellowships around. Don’t let OUSF’s name fool you: they also serve graduate students!
Think about it: as the semester winds down, it might be worth writing one or two more applications, applications you can write at your own speed because they aren’t due at the same time as all the others. Or even better, maybe you can put yourself at ease by realizing that even if the opportunities you’ve already applied for don’t come through, you’ll know in advance about a few more opportunities whose deadlines haven’t come. And best of all, if you take one of The Graduate School’s classes you’ll have guidance on writing and structured time right when you need it most to make sure that your applications are as well-written and stress-free as possible!
No, application season isn’t over—and it turns out that’s very good news indeed.
Ph.D. candidate, English; Graduate Student Affairs Administrative Intern, The Graduate School
Phillip Stillman is an intern in the Office of Graduate Student Affairs and is preparing to defend his dissertation on biology and British fiction in the nineteenth century. He studies the work done by novelists to manage the contraction between Enlightenment notions of personhood and the modern science of human biology, arguing that in the nineteenth century, it fell to fiction to imagine the human being as both autonomous individual and a biological organism at once. You can find out more on his LinkedIn page.
Professional Development Tag
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