The start of any major societal change through informed information begins with a research question. Whether that question is allowed to take form and achieve fruition often depends on the funding available to the researcher at that time.
There are many avenues of financing that researchers can attempt to procure to aid them in their path to a successful research project. Federal and private grants are some of the most traditional sources. When those avenues don’t pan out, though, researchers may have to turn to other funders, like corporations and industries that have a stake in the information the researcher is looking to uncover.
The funding source of a researcher is important to the integrity of the entire project. With the wrong funder backing them, the researcher’s results could be accused of bias.
Traditional Funding Sources
The typical researcher attempts to go through traditional funding sources that are already cleared for bias and accountability. Knowing that the research is being funded by a reputable financing organization gives the researcher the confidence that they will be able to make an academic or social impact without the taint of biased practices associated with their work.
Traditional sources usually give the researcher more leeway and freedom to design the project in their informed interests. These sources include funders such as:
● Grants that are backed by federal organizations or fellowships
● Philanthropic foundations run by donors who want to help improve and drive knowledge in technical, medical, scientific, and creative endeavors
● Awards given via organizations that are focused on a specific cause
● A nonprofit research organization that steps in when government funding is unavailable or disinterested
When these sources are not possible for a researcher, they may turn to corporations or industries to back their project instead.
Things to Watch for When Choosing a Funder
Ignoring the challenges and strings that can come with a funder is asking for trouble down the road. Yes, it’s great that someone is willing to cover you financially so you can get your research done, but if the outcome of all your hard work becomes tainted with biased accusations or if the funder decides they want to be in control of the process, you’ll regret your choice later.
Watch for these problems ahead of time before you choose your funder. Make sure to read the fine print carefully, particularly if you are working with a federal grant or industry sponsorship. Federal grants have very detailed inclusions in their requirements that must be met, including regular communication, follow-up, on-site administrative evaluations, and other aspects that can derail your funding options and require you to pay back money you’d spent “incorrectly.”
Industry sponsorship, on the other hand, has the potential to affect research in subtle ways throughout the process. For instance, stakeholders often determine how the design is set up, how the research is conducted, or how the outcome is allowed to be published. They can adjust the design of an experiment so that it is influenced to follow a particular path that is in the stakeholder’s preferred interest. Or they can require the work to be conducted in a manner that benefits them as well. When the work is finished, if it is not in their best interest for the public to have access to the knowledge, they can drive the direction of publication as it suits them.
Because of the strength of these large corporations through their deep pockets of funding and corporate attorneys to find legalities that cover their choices, working with industries as a research project backer is fraught with potential problems. No matter how aware the researcher is of these concerns when going into the funding contract, it’s possible that the research itself could become out of their control at some point in the project’s stages.
Knowing this information and the pros and cons of the different financial options you have as a researcher, you’ll see why choosing your funding choice wisely is one of the most important decisions you can make in terms of your project.
When You’re Ready to Put it All Together, Choose Impactio
You made a smart decision with your funder, got your project off the ground and in momentum, and now you’re ready to publish. The next savvy financial and academic decision you need to make is to choose Impactio as your digital platform for compiling and publishing your work.
With Impactio, academic experts like you have an all-in-one program that lets you incorporate your work seamlessly into text chunks with subheadings and graphics for data organization. Easy programming gives you the ability to handle all of your research gatherings and then follow the impact through citation indicators after it’s published.
Impactio offers you as a researcher the confidence you need to get your work into the hands of your readers and get back to doing what you do best - research and make changes happen!