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How do I find money for doctoral molecular biology research?

How do I fund engineering research?


Dear GrantDoctor,

I am a graduate student at National Medical University in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. I recently have done research on PCR [polymerase chain reaction] diagnosis of infectious disease at the central research laboratory of this university and got a master's degree.Presently we are starting research on PCR diagnosis of STDs (sexually transmitted diseases). I am looking for grants to study abroad for a Ph.D. in this field. Can you offer some advice?

Best regards,

-- T. Gantsetseg


Dear Mr. Gantsetseg,

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (another "CDC") is very interested in further training of scientists with expertise and interest in genetics and disease prevention. Although some of their programs are open only to U.S. citizens, and I can't tell from your letter if this applies to you, if you visit the Web page above you will see a list of possible sources for funding of your studies. In addition, there is a link to a list of schools of public health across the United States, and I'd guess that this would be the type of graduate program that you would want to concentrate on. The CDC also sponsors the National Network of STD/HIV Prevention and Training Centers; visiting this Web site will give you a good sense of the nature and extent of public and private funding that might be available to you.

The World Health Organization (WHO) also sponsors research on AIDS and other STDs. One WHO-sponsored program is at the University of Washington, Seattle. Even if this is not the part of the world you had in mind for further studies, I recommend that you visit this site for a comprehensive review of the types of funding available through the WHO consortium. Your research area is a well-funded one, and I think you should be able to find support for further studies. But don't neglect to get in touch with scientists in other countries whom you or your research advisers know; they may have additional ideas about funding for your doctoral work. And who knows, you may even end up with an invitation to work in their lab.

Best of luck,

-- The GrantDoctor

Dear GrantDoctor,

I've just had a quick (perhaps too quick) look at your site, and there seems to be a lot of questions about medical sciences. I think I'm being thick, but do you tap into engineering, too?

I'm searching for a job, looking all around the world, but at present focusing on the United States. I finished my Ph.D. and would like to apply for fellowships or private funding if possible to carry out my own research program at a third-party institution that could support it.

I have done quite a bit of research on the Web so far but would love to find a comprehensive site that list resources, options, contacts, agencies, applications, universities, etc., for engineering research. Associated subjects include mechanical engineering, materials science, and applied mechanics.

Thanks for any help, even if it's only to agree that I have been thick!

-- Paul


Dear Paul,

No, you are not being thick. You are correct that we do focus on the biological sciences in this column, but that's mostly because the majority of our questions come from readers of that ilk. In fact, I'm pleased to have received a question from a nonbiologist for a change and thank you for writing.

As far as a comprehensive list of funding sources goes--the mother lode, so to speak--the best place to find this is in, dare I say it, a library of books on fellowship opportunities. And the best place I can think of for you to find such a library is the career center at your university. However, the Web can lead you to small nuggets of gold, such as the ones I've dug up here, which may just satisfy your needs.

From your letter, I can't tell if you are a U.S. citizen. This is important because, as in every country, some fellowship programs are restricted to citizens. If you are not a U.S. citizen but are a citizen of a NATO or NATO partner country, there is a National Science Foundation-NATO postdoctoral fellowship program that might suit your needs.

Beyond that, my advice would be to look for funding at some of the U.S. national labs, such as Oak Ridge. On this Web page, you will find information on funding for postdoctoral research associates, as well as contact information for people who can help if you're interested in this program. In my experience, the quickest route to a postdoctoral adviser and fellowship is a personal connection, so your best bet is to get to know someone there or at another of the U.S. national labs run by the Department of Energy. The best way to do this is at conferences or via look-see visits to the labs. And speaking of visits, you might even want to plan a tour of visits to researchers whose work you admire--having first done your homework on what types of funding might be available should you be invited and choose to work at their institution.

Good luck,

-- The GrantDoctor

Due to the high volume of questions received, The GrantDoctor cannot answer all queries on an individual basis. Look for an answer to your question published in this column soon! Thank you!