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Getting Started

How to Find Funding

The search for external funding can be a time-intensive process. Here are some suggestions to get started.

  1. Talk to the colleagues both inside and outside of the Wilson College of Textiles about their sponsored activities. Many faculty members at NC State are successful in obtaining external funding, and they can provide invaluable information about the types of external funding opportunities that might exist in your field. Partnering with other individuals who already have external funding is also a great approach to develop a productive relationship with a sponsor that could lead to funding for your collaborative or individual projects later.
  2. If you are a junior faculty member, consider joining the Junior Faculty Research Mentoring Program
  3. Review articles in the professional publications within your field that relate to your research interests and look for acknowledgement statements within the article about how the activity was funded.
  4. Attend professional conferences and meetings, and look for presentations that relate to your research interests and acknowledge their external funding agencies.
  5. Utilize Opportunity Search Tools to explore potential funding opportunities. Follow the suggestions in the user guides provided by these Opportunity Search Tools.
  6. Explore our Research Funding Opportunities spreadsheet.
  7. If you are a graduate student, please consult our Graduate Student Funding Opportunities.
  8. When you have identified a potential sponsor through the means listed above, go to the sponsor’s website to find out what types of funding opportunities exist and what the sponsor has funded in the past.
  9. After you have narrowed your search to one or more sponsors that might have an interest in funding your research, you may wish to contact the program manager to discuss your idea. Do your homework ahead of time so that when you contact the program manager you have thoughtful questions that cannot be answered just by reading the funding announcement. You do not want to give the program manager a negative first impression.
  10. When there is an opportunity, try to meet with a program manager of the sponsor at a professional conference or at the sponsor’s office. When discussing a research idea with a program manager, make sure to respect the fact that the program manager is expected to treat every potential applicant equally and fairly.
  11. Many sponsors hold grant workshops, meetings, open houses, or webinars.  Attending these events is a great way to learn what they normally fund and whether your research idea has a fit.
  12. Serving as a proposal reviewer is also a great means to learn how proposals are evaluated and selected.  For example, you may wish to inform the NSF program manager that you are interested in serving as a peer reviewer for future competitions. If selected to serve as a peer reviewer you will not evaluate your own proposal, but you will have the opportunity to see firsthand how proposals for this program are evaluated. This can provide you with valuable insight into the NSF proposal review process.
  13. While writing your proposal, pay attention to what the sponsor wants to fund. Presenting what you want to carry out is not enough. It is critically important to address what the sponsor hopes to accomplish.

Opportunity Search Tools

The Wilson College of Textiles Research Office maintains a spreadsheet of Funding Opportunities

Additionally, you can search funding opportunities and set up personalized email alerts on InfoEd SPIN and

InfoEd SPIN provides intuitive and easily customizable access to the most extensive research funding opportunity database on earth. Tools are provided that are geared towards both individual and administrative users, and SPIN provides both active searching as well as automated, daily or weekly opportunity notifications. Learn how to create your registration and set up your customized searches and funding alerts (Instruction for InfoEd SPIN). provides a unified site for interaction between grant applicants and the U.S. Federal agencies that manage grant funds. You can also subscribe to receive notifications of new grant opportunity postings and updates on Options include subscribing to all grant notices, selected notices based on specific criteria, or notices based on funding opportunity number. Learn how to search for grant opportunities and set up email notifications (Instruction for

Other sources to find funding: 

Research Development and Grant Writing News contains useful information for funding searches and preparing proposals. NC State University maintains an institutional subscription. Back issues are available as well as two e-books; all can be downloaded or printed. Please respect the publisher’s copyright and the institutional distribution limitation.

NC State Funding Opportunity Listserv is maintained by NC State Research Development Office to notify faculty about the release of select solicitations, including institutionally-limited opportunities.

The National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP) keeps a list of available funding opportunities from agencies like NIH, NSF, DOE, NASA, DoD and more.

The following is a list of additional searchable funding databases.