Research grants are monetary awards given by granting agencies to qualified researchers for the purpose of carrying out research projects. A researcher who receives a grant is not required to repay the grant as long as he or she uses the funds for the specified research project and in accordance with the granting agency's guidelines. Most research grants seek to contribute to the intellectual, social and economic development of society.
Individual researchers, charitable organizations, and educational institutions are common recipients of a research grant. Governments, non-profit organizations and charitable foundations typically provide the required financial support for a research grant. A for-profit company may also finance a research grant. When a research grant is backed by a for-profit company, the company often believes that the research may become profitable in the future. For example, a pharmaceutical company may be financially motivated to research a drug that can cure a particular disease.
Generally, a recipient must submit a formal grant proposal in order to receive research funding. Completing and submitting a grant proposal can be a lengthy and time-consuming process. Most granting agencies specify detailed requirements for submitting the particular proposal. A grant proposal may require the prospective recipient to provide detailed background information on the proposal as well as a clear explanation of what the desired outcome of the project will be. When completing a research proposal, a researcher may seek assistance from a grant writing expert in order to improve his or her chances of receiving the grant.
A variety of research grants exist, including government research grants, medical research grants and education research grants. A government research grant is usually awarded to a recipient by government-sponsored universities or specific government agencies. Government research grants frequently focus on funding grants and research that advance the fields of science, technology or social sciences. Government universities or agencies may also provide grants for defense-related technology research.
Medical research grants are among the most common types of grants awarded. Typically, they focus on providing clinically relevant research studies that will improve medical knowledge and lead to more effective patient care. The results of some medical research projects may lead to changes in health care policy or practice.
An education research grant is typically awarded to an academic individual, such as a college professor or a masters or doctorate student. The intent of most education grants is to support research that promotes understanding and improvement of educational fields. Generally, recipients of education grants have the ability to decide on the course of the research and to use the funds as they deem necessary. The results of an education research project are often published in peer-reviewed, academic journals.