Finding Your Opportunity: The GradFund Database

Hello Doctoral Fellowship Mentoring Program participants and GradFund Conversations readers! Today, I will be introducing you to a very useful tool that you can use to search for funding opportunities, the GradFund Database!

The What?

First thing’s first: your friendly GradFund team maintains a database of approximately 3,800 funding opportunities ranging from multi-year predoctoral support fellowships to one-time cash prizes for essays in a given field. This database is fully searchable and can be tailored to a specific student based on criteria like program, discipline, and even stage of support. In this post, we will be going over some basic features of the database search engine as well as a few more advanced features.

The Where?

The first thing to note is that the database is accessible to anyone with an internet connection from the homepage of our website,, by clicking “FIND AWARDS” along the top ribbon. This will auto-scroll to the Find Awards section of the main page.

The How?

We recommend first performing a basic search using any of the three criteria on the main page: “Type of Funding,” “Research Interest,” or “Funder or Award” by simply selecting the radio button to indicate your selection. The red “?” next to each term generates a tool tip to help guide you. Selecting “Type of Funding” provides a dropdown field where you can search specifically for opportunities that provide fellowship support, travel support, or even language training support. We’ll start with “Fellowship” under the “Type of Funding” search.

This brings up a list of 657 awards! While that is encouraging, it can also seem like an overwhelming task to manually sort through them all. “How do I find an award that is more specific to me,” you ask? Well, the first thing you should do is click the login button so you can save any awards that you may want to view later. Just use your Rutgers NetID and password. Now you can click the “Add to List” button next to any award to save it. This way, you can view the list of saved awards any time you log back in and click “My Award List.” Convenient, right?

Now, back to the search! You can refine the search results by clicking the red “Click here to add search terms to your query.” This drops in a few expanded search fields including a keyword search and degree type, among others. Using myself as an example, we will fill in some of these fields. I am a PhD candidate, so let’s select “Doctoral” under “Type of Degree.” You will notice that this action drops yet a few more search fields on you: “Discipline,” “Graduate Program,” and “Stage of Study.” I am a Chemical Engineer performing my dissertation research. So let’s select “Engineering” followed by “Chemical and Biochemical Engineering” and “Dissertation Research.” After clicking the “Add to Search,” I now have 143 awards on the list. This process can be repeated until all available fields are filled in.

If the procedural approach isn’t your style, you can always skip directly to the advanced criteria by clicking “Click here to use our advanced search” on the GradFund Find Awards page. Just login, fill in your information, and click “Search.” There is also a handy, in-depth guide to using the database on the Advanced Award Search page. Here you will find direct explanations for each search criterion.

We encourage you to use this tool as well as the database at to develop a list of relevant awards and construct an individualized funding plan to help you navigate the world of external funding moving forward. You can also view our previous introduction to the Pivot database HERE. As always, we welcome your feedback and look forward to assisting you in your graduate funding endeavors.

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