OPPORTUNITY SCANNING (OR FINDING FUNDING)
Opportunity Scanning (or Finding Funding) is the first phase of the research project life cycle. Opportunity Scanning represents a systematic and methodical process of tracking, accessing and monitoring granting opportunities for the pursuit of scholarship for institutional development.
It has numerous benefits for researchers, research teams, academic departments, faculties and the institution as a whole. Benefits include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Awareness and up-to-date knowledge of funding opportunities for R&D across all fields, disciplines and specializations in the institution
- Up-to-date knowledge of the annual calendars of Calls-for-Proposals by funding agencies.
- Up-to-date knowledge of thematic areas, and specific requirements (including occasional change of focus) of global funding agencies
- Robust information about the seasonality of calls, including occasional and special calls for proposals across all funding categories, including basic and applied research, R&D, mobility grants, capacity building / strengthening grants, and grants for Knowledge Parks, new institutes and centres, including Centres of Excellence.
- The comprehension and mastery of the artistry of “Finding Funding” confers a competitive edge in grantsmanship to the institution.
A primary goal of the OAU Central Office of Research (COR) is to enable and empower all researchers, and indeed, early career researchers and administrators to leverage on local and global granting resources for nurturing and driving scholarship through a CoP model. Since Finding Funding represents the first phase of the project research life cycle, it is therefore imperative that it is well comprehended and exhaustively implemented, for the benefit of researchers, faculties, scholars and administrators, across all cadres, disciplines and specializations.
From the foregoing, it is apparent that Finding Funding requires special processes, skills and procedures to run well, in order to drive a globally competitive grantsmanship agenda of the University. A key starting point is to recognize the vastness of global funding opportunities across all fields and specializations. Of importance too, the new trend of collaborative, inter-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary R&D provides a grand platform for opportunity scanning (finding funding) for appropriate avenues for research grants across all fields of studies in a University.
In particular, research administrators at the Central Office of Research (COR) have the responsibility to learn, access, and navigate funding opportunities for dissemination to researchers across 13 Faculties. To facilitate this, series of capacity building efforts are being undertaken at the COR, by applying the tools and resources for finding funding listed in Section 1.2.
1.2 Tools and Resources for Finding Funding
Some tools for finding funding (or opportunity scanning) include the following:
- News feeds on grants (a great asset, in this CoP website (click here))
- Subscriptions to Newsletters of granting agencies (Most granting agencies have periodic Newsletters)
- Direct sponsor contact (through e-mails or cold mailing, phone, etc.)
- Special tools (e.g. grants.gov)
- Networking through a community of practice for grantsmanship model
- Subscription services (e.g. through Research Africa®, etc.)