So you need research grant…

One thing almost every researcher needs to deal with, at some point or the other, is getting funding to do their work. While it would be nice if we could all have six-figure research grants, a lot of work can still get done using funds from outside the big federal (e.g. NSERC) or provincial (e.g. FQRNT, OGS) funding agencies. From personal experience I’ve found that, with a bit of creative planning, even a few thousand dollars can go a long way. However, I’ve been discovering over the past few months that despite regular searches for funding sources even I was unaware of a number of grants, some of which, according to their managers, are being underutilised. As such, I thought it might be useful to put together a list of some of the funding sources that are available, and that people may not realise are out there. In some ways, this page is as much a reference for myself, and I will try to occasionally update it as new grants come up.

Note: this post is written from the perspective of a Canadian palaeontologist, and as such is intended to be a resource for both myself and my peers. That means that for non-Canadians or non-palaeontologists, they may not be eligible for many of these grants.

Dinosaur Research Institute (

The Dinosaur Research Institute (DRI) is an Alberta focused group, dedicated to promoting and supporting dinosaur research in western Canada. They have a variety of grants which can be applied for, ranging from student travel funding (primarily for travel to SVP) as well as fieldwork grants. Researchers applying to the DRI typically have to be doing work in Alberta, or have come from Alberta themselves, though they do appear to be loosening these rules somewhat.

Grant amounts: often $1000 to $4000

Deadlines: grants are typically reviewed once in spring and once in fall.

Jurassic Foundation (

The Jurassic Foundation supports scientific research on dinosaurs, and is international in scope. They typically try to fund researchers who are otherwise unable to find alternate funds, usually students.

Grant amounts: up to $3000

Deadlines: February 15th and September 15th

National Geographic Society (

Several grants of various types and sizes are available, for researchers of all levels and nationalities.

Grant amounts: typically up to $20000, depending on grant

Deadlines: 10 months before field work begins

Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (

Various awards for various levels of researchers (with a primary focus on students).

Grant amounts: depends on type, but often $500 to $2000

Deadlines: April, though changes from year to year

Royal Canadian Geographical Society (

The RCGS supports both student research and independent researchers, with a priority on projects that support their mandate “to make Canada better known to Canadians and to the world.”

Grant amounts: variable, from a few thousand for independent grants to $6000 for some of the student grants.

Deadlines: February 14th

Saskatchewan Heritage Foundation Archaeology and Palaeontology Research Grant Program (

A relatively recent grant, available to researchers working in Saskatchewan. Note that they will only cover expenses incurred in the province, or for work on Saskatchewan specimens. Also, they ususally only give a grant for 50% of a project costs, so alternate funding (including in-kind support) is required.

Grant amounts: not stated, but program manager has told me they accept budgets of $10000 to $20000 (of which they will support 50%, or $5000 to $10000).

Deadlines: January 15th

George Frederic Matthew Research Grants in Geology (

A grant distributed through the New Brunswick Museum, for work that is done in New Brunswick. Can be a project on palaeontology, stratigraphy, paleoecology, mineralogy or petrology.

Grant amounts: $500 to $1000

Deadlines: December 31st

Nova Scotia Museum Research Grants Program (

Nova Scotia Museum gives out grants for research projects that “improve Nova Scotians’ understanding of heritage or offer a different interpretation of our province’s cultural history.” The funded project must be based out of Nova Scotia.

Grant amounts: up to $4000 (h/t to Kirstin Brink)

Deadlines: February 26th

Explorers Club Grants (

From what I have seen, a difficult to obtain grant, but may be worthwhile for some. They provide both student and postdoctoral/early career scientist awards.

Grant amounts: $500 to $5000

Deadlines: October 19th

Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies (

ACUNS gives grants for northern fieldwork; you can see a map on their site that will show you if your site is “northern” or not. As their focus is northern studies, your project would be competing against things like polar bear and sea ice studies, which could be some stiff competition.

Grant amounts: $1000 to $50000

Deadlines: January 29th

Northern Scientific Training Program (

Provides funding through universities for research in northern regions. You need to be a registered graduate student at a participating university. Each university has its own application process (or at least, did as of 2013).

Grant amounts: $1000 to $5000

Deadlines: December 1st (or earlier, depending on institution)

AINA Grant-in-Aid (

Another Arctic focused grant, the Arctic Institute of North America Grant-in-Aid is intended for young researchers (typically students) to help offset costs associated with Arctic fieldwork.

Grant amounts: $1000

Deadlines: February 1st

Palaeontological Association Research Grants (

The PalAss gives out grants for research that supports their mandate, and generally to those already with a PhD in hand. Also, they prefer projects to be a single research project, or help with the initial start-up of a project that may later be funded by another funding body. Also, you must be a PalAss member.

Grant amounts: up to £10,000

Deadlines: March 1st

Alberta Museums Association (

I received a grant from the AMA to travel to a conference and present my research, which fulfilled their requirements that I “undertake professional and personal learning opportunities to increase the overall body of knowledge of the Alberta museum community.” You need to be an AMA member to apply.

Grant amounts: up to $2500

Deadlines: was January 31st, but check website for updates.

Yukon Historic Resources Fund (

Provide research funding for projects based in the Yukon, however will only cover 50% of budget, so matching funds must be found.

Grant amounts: up to $10000 (50% of a $20000 budget)

Deadlines: October 1st

Nunavut Archaeology and Palaeontology Research Support (

Provide research funding for student projects based in Nunavut. Details in the form are scarce, so be sure to contact the program administrator.

Grant amounts: up to $5000

Deadlines: Not listed

Paleontological Society Arthur James Boucot Research Grants (

Funding for early-career scientists (though others may be considered) for projects focused on morphology, taxonomy, and biostratigraphy. Must be a PalSoc member, and be affiliated with a professional institution.

Grant amounts: typically up to $5000

Deadlines: February 1st

M.A. Fritz Travel Grants (

Intended for graduate students, the fund helps to cover the cost of travelling to the ROM to study their palaeontology collections.

Grant amounts: typically up to $750

Deadlines: March 16th

The Lewis and Clark Fund for Exploration and Field Research (

For US PhD students, or PhD students wanting to do fieldwork in the US.

Grant amounts: up to $5000

Deadlines: February 1st

Redpath Museum Awards (

Not for most people, but if you’re a McGilligan…

Grant amounts: $500 to $5000

Deadlines: January 31st

One response to “So you need research grant…

  1. The Nova Scotia Museum Research grant is up to $4,000 CAD.

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