Funding Alerts in 30 Minutes or Less

Jan. 22, 2018

Did you know the National Science Foundation offers funding to graduate students?

Of course you did.

However, did you know that the Romance Writers of America also has funding for graduate students? As does the government of Ireland, the Slovak Academic Information Agency, and the Huntington Botanical Gardens.

But how could you possibly find a funding opportunity that is just right for you?

I’m about to tell you.


You were about to save this article for some vague time in the future when you have time to actually work through the information. You can go ahead and do so. But before you do, please mark off 30 minutes in your calendar to come back to this information. This is literally worth your time.

Okay, welcome back.

Here is your goal for the next 30 minutes: to create a weekly email funding alert of opportunities just for you.

I recommend that you receive email alerts from two funding databases, Pivot and Grant Forward. We’ll start with Pivot.

1 – 5 minutes: Find Pivot

The easiest way into both databases is through the UA library website here:

Search for Pivot and go to their website.

Pivot is a database with a dizzying number of funding opportunities. According to its own website, the cumulative opportunities are worth more than $44 billon. Only a sliver of those are relevant to you. However, Pivot has information on everything from a $900 internship for young artists interested in functional clay to the $144,000 Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship Program. (I hear you, artists. We’ll discuss equity at some other point. The clock is ticking.)

5 – 10 Minutes: Create a Pivot Account

On the top right of Pivot homepage, you’ll find “Sign up.” Go there.

You will need to use your account since the UA pays for the subscription to Pivot and this email verifies your relationship to the UA.

10 – 25 Minutes: Search Pivot

Figure out a search that works well for you. This will take some trial and error. 

I usually do not use the top three rows at all. Put in your citizenship, your funding type, and applicant type.

For “keyword” begin broadly with the “browse” function. Do your first search with a general category such as “engineering” and then, using that little triangle on the left of the categories, you can try another search with a more specific keyword (but I suggest using their keywords).

A good search has between 10 – 200 results with several that pertain to you. You’ll rarely, maybe never, get a perfect search with 100% of the results relevant to you.

25 – 30 Minutes: Save Your Search

Once you have a good search (as defined above), save it. When it asks if you want weekly alerts, say yes. You will get one email a week with funding opportunities just for you.

Action Items for Later

Okay, so we didn’t get to Grant Forward. But this has been a really productive 30 minutes. You will now get personalized funding alerts once a week.

You can schedule 30 minutes later to set up an alert from Grant Forward. It is basically the same process as above.

Also, you may want to check out the UA library’s tutorial on Pivot. There is a lot you can do with this database.

Good luck!