Post graduate research is both time consuming and costly, but is a necessary requirement for getting a Masters and/or PHD. Luckily there are lots of funding opportunities for graduate students to conduct their research whether it be here in the US or abroad. Research grants are just one of the types of funding available, and undoubtedly the most popular. This is because the money awarded never has to be repaid.
Unfortunately, applying for a research grant is a far more grueling process than all other available financial aid. You will be expected to create a detailed research proposal and only the most outstanding applicants will be considered. You can increase your likelihood of being accepted by assuring that the research grant you are applying for is suited to your area of study and moreover, that you meet all of their requirements.
There are two main types of research grants: publicly funded research grants and/or privately funded research grants. Publicly funded research grants are those awarded by your school. This is usually done at the departmental level for each individual educational institution. Keep in mind, however, that not all applicants will receive the same amount of money. The amount of your award will be based on your area of study, as well as the cost of your research project.
Keep in mind that natural sciences receive the most money to fund research initiatives, with social sciences and humanities being awarded minimal, if any, funding depending on the school. This difference can be attributed to the type of research being conducted. Humanities and social science grad students very rarely do original research; rather, they are almost always working on ideas and initiatives being pursued by their professors. Thus they do not require research funds like those needed in other sectors.
There are also privately funded research grants. There are many independent foundations and scholarship funds whose sole mission is to award graduate grants to students with research projects that comply with the company or foundation’s vision. For example, if you are a medical sciences scholar you may consider grant awards from hospitals and health associations around the nation. They likely have graduate grants that you didn’t know exist, and/or may even agree to fund your research efforts with a onetime grant award in order to be privy to your results.
Ask your university about these award opportunities and they will be able to point you in the right direction.Another option is doing cold calls to large companies that don’t appear to have a scholarship fund but likely have the capital to contribute. Don’t rule anyone out, until they tell you so.