Three Things Every Grad Student Should Do On Pivot

Feb. 12, 2020

Pivot is a huge database of funding opportunities. And, as a University of Arizona student, you can use it for free. If you are a graduate student interested in funding, one of our top recommendations is to invest a little bit of time in Pivot. Forty minutes is enough to give you a good start.

Pivot offers a plethora of tools at your fingertips. But, being new to the interface, it can feel overwhelming without knowing where to begin. We will walk you through three things you can do in 40 minutes to take advantage of this database:

  1. Create a Profile
  2. Find Funding Opportunities
  3. Collaborate with Researchers


1. Create a Profile

You can use Pivot without a profile but claiming one will allow you to save funding searches and connect with other researchers.  As a UA student, you can create a profile for free! You can create a profile in ~5 minutes or just skip to Step Two below.

  • Find Pivot through UA library and search under “databases”
  • Click “Sign-up” (see right corner of screen).
  • Follow the remaining steps listed in this 3-minute video

Next, you’ll want to detail all of your profile sections. The more biographical information you provide, the better Pivot can match you with funding, connect you with potential collaborators, and alert you with relevant funding deadlines. You can detail many sections by copying/pasting from your resume, which is estimated to take ~10 minutes + of your time.

  • From the drop-down menu where your name is shown (see top right corner of screen), click “Your Profile”. Or, you can access your profile from by clicking “Profiles” (see top row of screen), then clicking “Your Profile” (see left column of screen). Then, click “Edit Profile”.
  • In the “Overview” section, add biographical information to all sub-sections.
  • Continue completing the Publications, Grants, and Patents sections outlined in this 7-min. video
  • You should try to keep your profile current, especially after changing institutions and receiving funding


2. Find Funding Opportunities

Generally, you want to narrow down your funding search to fewer grants/fellowships. This may sound counter-intuitive, but the logic is that the fewer funding opportunities that appear in your search, the more likely you possess expertise and interest in that field. There are a number of ways to search for funding. Here is one that you can do in ~10 minutes.

  • After clicking the “Funding” tab (see top row of screen), click “Search by keyword”.
  • You can type in your own keyword, which will auto-populate, or you can use the arrow to the right of the search box to use the keywords provided. Finding the best keywords can be tricky, especially if you do interdisciplinary work. After a bit of playing around, you will find the best terms to use.
  • You can also search by keyword by clicking “Advanced Search”, scrolling down to “Keyword”, and then entering terms you’d like to search.
  • From your initial search, use the blue sidebar filters (e.g., “Top applicant types”) to narrow the grants/fellowships to the population(s) you specify.
  • If you’re interested in learning about the different ways to search for funding opportunities, check out this 3 minute video

Once you’ve identified have a search with several opportunities that pertain to you, click “save search” at the top of the page and click the box saying that you want weekly email updates on the search.  


3. Collaborate with Researchers

The last major way you can optimize Pivot is to connect with researchers at the UA and beyond. Search for professionals to collaborate with on research, grants, fellowships, conferences, publications, and more. Complete the steps below in ~5 minutes +.

  • From Pivot, click “Profiles” (see top row of screen). Use the search bar to find profiles of researchers with similar interests. (Tip, you can start with your advisor.) 
  • You can enter a first/last name, a topic, or an institution.
  • Use “Advanced Search” to refine your search, such as degrees, roles, and so on.
  • Continue narrowing your search by following the steps listed in this 4 minute video

While Pivot features multiple tools to find funding, the steps outlined are not exhaustive but should launch your journey in Pivot.

If you’d like to learn more about Pivot, you can:

If you'd like to have/share a pamphlet summarizing this article with links, download the digital version for distribution or print.

Best of luck with your funding search!


Thank you to Alex Kemp, Ph.D. Student, Educational Leadership and OFCE Graduate Assistant, for her help with this article.

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