Know Your Research Funding Options
Over the last few weeks, many scholars around the world have been informed that, among other challenges they face due to the Coronavirus crisis, they will now have smaller budgets with which to conduct their research. Now more than ever it is more important to be aware of your research budget, how it works, and the best ways to use it.
First and foremost, if you don’t know what funds are available to you to pursue your research, be sure to check in with your research authority and clarify how much you have and what you can spend it on.
We have put together a list of 5 ways to help you maximize your limited research budget over the next few months:
1. Prioritize expenses that further your career
Research budgets can often be used for a wide range of purposes, including hiring research assistants, attending conferences, purchasing books, translating articles and editing research papers, and more. Now is a great time to reevaluate how you have been spending your research funds until now and where your priorities should lie. The best way to do this is by differentiating between expenses that are essential to your research and those that are ‘nice to have’ but may have to take a back seat for the immediate future.
2. Make sure to use the full amount every year and don't let funds go to waste
In many colleges and universities, research funds are time-limited and run out at the end of the academic year. Check if your funds will roll over next year; if not, be sure to plan ahead and use your entire budget before the end of the year. Some services can be paid for even before you need them, allowing you to take full advantage of your budget while making use of those services when you are ready down the line.
3. Ask suppliers to work with you in terms of payment conditions
If your budget is temporarily frozen or if you won’t have new funds coming in for a few more months, ask vendors if they can offer flexible payment options, such as dividing a payment into multiple installments. Suppliers are often appreciative of your business and would be happy to find a payment arrangement that works well for both sides.
4. Reallocate funds you saved from expenses you can't use (such as conferences and travel)
Conferences around the world have been canceled due to Covid-19. If you had been planning to attend a conference, you might have funds available that you thought were already allocated. Be sure to try and recoup as much as possible from hotels and airlines so that you can make use of the funds elsewhere.
5. Partner with colleagues and increase your effective budget
Aside from the benefit to your research, teaming up with colleagues or other scholars in your field can help you multiply your research funds and enable you to pursue more ambitious projects. Be sure to discuss financial arrangements with your potential partners before you begin working together to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Regardless of how you plan to spend your research budget, keep in mind that the current crisis is dynamic and policies are changing rapidly. If you do have access to funds at present, it may be wise to allocate them in a timely manner in order to ensure that you make the most of your budget this semester.