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Finding Funding Challenge

Welcome to Day 1 of the Finding Funding Challenge!

Today, we'll look at Pivot, a searchable database of thousands of external funding opportunities that come from a range of funders, including government agencies, research institutes, foundations, and corporations. Funding opportunities in this database are primarily aimed at the types of funding sought in higher education settings, including grants for research and scholarship, curricular development, equipment and materials, conference attendance, thesis or dissertation funding, and postdoctoral fellowships, to name a few. 

pivot funding database logo

Your Challenge: Set Up (or Revisit) Your Pivot Account and Start Finding Grants!

1. Set up (or revisit) your Pivot account at this link and find 3 potential grants to apply for! Having a Pivot account allows you to save searches and receive alerts when new opportunities are added to Pivot that match your search criteria! Having an account also lets you track grant opportunities to stay on top of deadlines, and share opportunities with research teams or collaborative partners. Note: Pivot accounts are available to current UMaine faculty, staff, and students.

To set up your account, click on "Use Email Address/Create Password" to begin.

2. Start your search by doing the following:

  • Go to the Funding tab, and then click on Advanced Search, to find funding opportunities that match who you are as a grantseeker. Note: You can find definitions of terms used on the Advanced Search page here.

    Pivot funding page

  • Complete these four fields to begin:
    • Citizenship (when you choose your citizenship, Pivot will automatically check a box labeled "Unrestricted." This field tells Pivot to include grants geared toward people from a particular part of the world, plus grants where citizenship is not a determining factor.
    • Funding Type (scholarship, fellowship, research grant, conference travel, artistic pursuit, etc.).
    • Keyword (e.g., climate change, fish and fisheries, wind energy, etc.)
    • Applicant Type (academic institution, graduate student, PhD or professional, etc.)
  • In your results, you will see active grant opportunities. Look for whether or not an opportunity is a good fit.
    • Open grants in your results list, and first check the eligibility section to see if you meet the applicant criteria they're looking for.
    • Next, look at sections like program description (to see where the funder focuses their funding), deadlines, and amount awarded, to see if you and your work are a good match for the funding being offered.
    • At the end of each opportunity are keywords, like those you selected in the Advanced Search, that tell you the gist of the grant opportunity. See if there are additional keywords that describe or relate to the work you're trying to fund, and click "Refine search" at the top of the Results page to add relevant keywords to your Advanced search criteria.
    • If you are seeing grants that require you to be in locations that do not work for you (e.g., climate change research in southwestern Chile, or fellowship funding at the Art Institute of Chicago), click "Refine search" at the top of the Results page and add an Activity Location, like Maine, to your search. This will include grants that are for work taking place in Maine, plus grants where the activity location is not a factor.

3. Save your search. Once you land on a search that isn't too narrow (very few results) and isn't too expansive (over 200 results), save your search. This allows you to opt in to notifications when new opportunities are added to Pivot that match your search criteria!

4. Track opportunities that look like a good match for current or future projects. This allows you to stay on top of application deadlines by receiving alerts from Pivot anywhere from 1 week to 3 months in advance of the deadline.

Pro tip: If you're applying to a grant through the University of Maine, set up alert deadlines that match the Office of Research Administration's submission requirements.

5. Share opportunities with collaborators that look like a good match for current or future projects.

BONUS (Optional) Challenges: Take Your Pivot Skills to the Next Level

Below are several actions you can take to further optimize your use of Pivot and your search for funding.

1. Within Pivot, you can easily add grant application deadlines to your calendar! Once you track a funding opportunity, you will have an option to add it to either your Google, iCal, Outlook, or Yahoo calendars.

Add to calendar screen shot

Additional calendar options are outlined here.

2. Tag funding opportunities that you track in order to keep them in meaningful categories for easy retrieval. While you're viewing a funding opportunity that you have tracked, you'll see an option to add a tag with a name that fits the project.

Here's how to tag:

Pivot funding opportunity example result

Here's what tags look like in your Pivot account:

example list of tags

3. Use the Awarded Grants database to get a sense of who has been funded in the past and for what types of projects. This can help you further identify whether your work might be a good match with a particular funder, and possibly help you find collaborators for your projects. Pivot includes millions of previously awarded grants, across dozens of international global funders. Note: The Awarded Grants search is not comprehensive of all grant funders in the Pivot database - Pivot lists the funders that are included.

where to search for awarded grants

4. Find a conference to possibly showcase your grant funded project! Pivot has a "Conferences and Papers Invited" database, where you can search or browse for calls for proposals in your field of study.

where to search for conferences

5. Create a group for your research team, department, or unit so that whenever someone finds a grant that is applicable to that group, it's a quick click to share that grant with everyone in the group.
Log in, and on the Pivot landing page, click on Groups in the section labeled, My Profile & Groups.

Then, click on new group to create a personal or public group, depending on your needs.

Congratulations! You've completed Day 1 of the Finding Funding Challenge!

Tomorrow, we'll look at Foundation Directory Online, a different type of funding database that can expand your grant options.

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