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Applying for Foundation Funding

Posted on October 19, 2007

Harold Pincus (bio) talks about private funding.


With foundations, it's very different. Every foundation is different. There is no standard approach. Foundations have very varying scopes of interest, so that if you have experience with one foundation, it does not necessarily generalize to another foundation. Foundations are not required to have any kind of specific form of review. They could provide a grant to somebody simply because the person is a friend of a member of the board of trustees. Or, they could send it through a review panel of 25 experts who critique it just like an NIH review committee might. So it's really quite variable.

The trick with a foundation is making sure that you really are addressing the specific mission of the foundation. Every foundation will have some kind of description of their mission and the kinds of work that they support, and the kind of work sometimes that they don't support. And if you're not in that scope, in that range, they will not consider it. It's also important, actually with foundations as well as with the government, to talk to the program officers. They know what's been funded. They know what hasn't been funded. And in foundations, often more so than in NIH, they wield a great deal of power in deciding what gets funded. Ultimately most foundations, the foundation's board, has to make a decision for most of the grants that go through. In some large foundations, they will delegate that to the program staff for certain proposals that are below a certain level. It's often useful to understand what that level is so that you know what process you need to go through.

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Excerpted from interview with researcher at the 2006 Career Development Institute for Psychiatry in Pittsburgh, PA.


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