Funding for Postdoctoral Students

funding for Post docs

Fund Your Research

It is common for postdocs to be supported by their PI initially, but often postdocs will be asked to find their own funding at some point. Here are some resources that may help you start your search for funding.

Fellowships are competitive awards that generally do not require service (i.e., work) as part of the award. They are intended to fund your academic study and research. Fellowships may be offered by your department, the University, the federal government or private agencies.

Plan ahead, if you are interested in applying for a fellowship. Most fellowship competitions have deadlines six to 12 months prior to their award dates, and they usually require personal statements and letters of recommendation that may take several months to compile. Give yourself plenty of time to write, re-write and gather supplementary materials.

Fellowships are typically very competitive, and many students apply for several fellowships at one time. Some competitions require nominations from departments or a faculty members. When asking your department to consider nominating you, be prepared to provide documentation to justify your nomination.

Need some guidance on applying for grants and fellowships?  Learn more from a recent compendium of tips from Yale’s grants office. See below for more tips and tricks from UMN OVPR, UMN graduate office and several other academic institutions from across the US.

Search Tools

    • NIH also maintains a list of non-NIH funding opportunities.
    • The Pathways to Science Portal hosts opportunities across a range of STEM disciplines, funded by NSF, NASA, NIH, and university and research labs across the country. Along with funding opportunities find a library, webinars, and tips on applying, interviewing, and negotiating a postdoc position.

Past Proposal Writing Workshop Videos

Information below from the Council of Graduate Students site:
    • Writing Fundable Grants in Sciences & Engineering, proposal writing workshop 2020 Slides HERE
    • Writing Grant Proposals in the Sciences & Engineering: by Dr. Esam El-Fakahany. Video HERE (Spring 2019)
    • Training Video with tips on how to complete your application and write effective proposals and budgets! 
Foundation and Private


Federal Sponsors

Funded Research Databases (Federal)

Both NIH and NSF maintain public databases of grants awarded.  This is a valuable tool for assessing whether proposed research is in the realm of what is being funded by either agency.  These records include an abstract of the funded research, the funding opportunity announcement under which the proposal was submitted, names of principal investigators and program officers, dollars awarded, (for NIH) the study section that reviewed the grant proposal, and the divisions or institutes funding the research. Both are kept up-to-date to reflect awards made through the last day or two.

Federal Government Funding Opportunities 

For information about funding available through the federal government, please see this February 2020 compendium, organized by the agency that runs the program.