Freefund.com is very green, and I don't mean environmentally friendly. As the name suggests, this Web site is dedicated to giving students lots of the green stuff, in other words loadsa money. The whole of the site is minimalist and colour coordinated in, yep you've guessed it, green, which makes it easy to navigate, soothing to look at, and stress-free to search for information. But here is the problem, the information, although there is lots of it, is quite diverse and generally applicable to all students and not just science postgraduates.

The aim of Freefund.com is to provide a searchable database of grants, scholarships, bursaries, and benevolent institutions that are just desperate to give students some money. Membership is free and a few quick and easy forms have to be filled in. This information forms the basis of your tailored search of the database and the computer brings up any material that might be relevant to your area of research or level of education (i.e. undergraduate, postgraduate, Ph.D., etc). To see what might be available to science students, I searched for grants in biology and engineering and came up with some options. For example, I found funds from an Action Research Grant. These grants are available for researchers in the U.K. at any level of study provided they are conducting clinical research into preventing disease or disability. I also found a Fund IIII Mining/Engineering postgraduate research grant from the Cambourne School of Mines at Exeter University.

The site also includes a free e-mail newsletter service with information about new scholarships and an e-mail question and answer forum to ask financial experts advice. However, the questions by e-mail and current news about corporate scholarships are lacking to say the least. The two corporate schemes that are posted on the site (£750 from deo.com for students who have a 'genuine' love for music and £500 from the Royal Bank Insurance services available only to students on risk management degrees) seem to be more of a bribe to obtain student demographics. The question forum is also deficient, but I suppose this is harsh criticism considering the site has only been up-and-running for a couple of months.

The really helpful parts of this Web site, apart from the fund search, are the 'employment', 'your finances', and 'why scholarships?' sections all under Life Guide. The employment section has a wide range of information available from career advice, CV and interview hints, and advice on negotiating contracts and even sections on body language and psychometric testing. 'Your finances' also has an excellent range of material on many money matters that concern students including student loans, National Insurance, and even TV licences.

Overall, this site has a comprehensive range of advice, information about scholarships and funds, and great potential for further expansion (Freefund.com hopes to establish a job database on the U.K. site and will also be setting up sites in France and Germany, having started out in Sweden). As this site shows, there are many resources available for science students, even if they are not targeted at them in particular; it is just a question of looking in the right places.