Research funding is your lifeblood–how can you get more of it?

April 01, 2022

Becoming a Top Research Institution


America’s top research universities all have something in common: money. While teaching and research are the stated dual objectives of R1 and R2 universities, obtaining  funding necessary to fuel research is an unstated but critical and perpetual goal.


Research funding directly correlates with each university’s research ranking. This bolsters prestige, thereby enabling the top research universities to attract the most productive research faculty and the top graduate students. Research funding dollars purchase new state-of-the-art facilities and equipment. More research funding also improves university economics–compensation, rewards, tuition, alumni engagement. 


All of this creates a virtuous cycle whereby funding leads to>> excellent research infrastructure that attracts >> the strongest talent that produces>> the most leading edge research. 


Understanding Why Research is So Expensive


To remain at the highest level of the research rankings, universities must first spend money attracting and retaining star faculty and post docs who are highly productive researchers.


The most prodigious researchers are everywhere in demand. Universities will compete to hire and retain them. A recent study (link it) states, “Many recruited high performing research personnel, while receiving generous salary support, require in addition an investment in equipment, related support personnel, graduate student stipends, and additional allied faculty all requiring money that far exceeds the cost of paying a competitive faculty salary.” Thoughtfully planned, research-centric infrastructure is needed to support the requirements or their highest producers. 


Consequently, the universities that are ranked at the top tend to remain at the top. This may be a cruel law of physics and of research funding, but a constructive question to ask is: can it be disrupted? Can research universities move up in the rankings and, if so, how?


How Can Universities Attract More Funding?


Driving site traffic to your labs and boosting the SEO for researchers’ current areas of investigation are steps that raise the visibility of the interesting, often cutting edge work that your faculty produce. Openness and transparency in research can turn it into content marketing–for labs, departments, the faculty themselves. This, in turn, gets the attention of funders, of up and coming research talent, post docs, and potential collaborators. A solid first step in climbing up the research rankings and attracting more funding is sharing what you do now and shining a light on it. To learn more about how increasing research visibility leads to increased funding opportunities, read our blog, “Findable research is fundable research.” 


OpenScholar provides the infrastructure to support and encourage research visibility. Your research is a powerful asset that can attract talent, funding and partnerships. 

When you use OpenScholar to show your work, share your work, and collaborate on research, magic happens: science advances, and outcomes are accelerated.