The Search for Funding

Below, those looking for funding opportunities will find two approaches.  The primary resource is SPIN, BMC's funding search tool. The second is combined review of 1.) sponsors who have invited BMC proposals and made awards and 2.) the three major types of sponsors.  

Find Funding through SPIN

SPIN is BMC's search tool for locating funding. SPIN™ database points users to funding opportunities across all areas of research. At any given time, it tracks approximately 40K funding opportunities across thousands of governments, foundations, and commercial entities around the world. Although a separate application, it is "bolted onto" InfoED, BMC's SP administration system of record, required of all SPs, externally or internally funded.

To use SPIN, one must either already have an InfoEd log-in or request an InfoEd account, receive credentials, and complete introductory training. Levels of access are determined by BMC role and the user's SP-specific role.

Consult the one-page SPIN Funding Opportunities Guide for quick support.

Frequent BMC Sponsors

Principal investigators/program directors (PI/PDs) and research teams are best suited to search for funding. Department administrators (DAs) should be aware of the search tools and may assist PI/PDs and study teams on the use of SPIN, but the research team knows its research interests and capabilities best, is able to complete a timely review, and decide whether or not to pursue an opportunity. The PI/PD should make the final decision on committing to proposal development and determine if sufficient non-sponsored funds are available to support the proposal effort.

In addition, organizations maintain their own funding opportunity announcements (FOAs). The following list outlines various sponsors that have invited proposals and made awards to BMC in the past. Please note: this list is not exhaustive.

  • American Cancer Society (ACS)
  • American Heart Association (AHA)
  • American Lung Association (ALA)
  • American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry
  • American Society of Hematology
  • American Society of Nephrology
  • Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC)
  • City of Boston
  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
  • Merck
  • National Kidney Foundation (NKF)
  • Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)
  • Pfizer
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)

Types of Sponsors

Types of Sponsors

Sponsored programs (SP) awarding organizations are most often categorized readily into three major types: governmental, industry, or foundation. The majority of funding for research at BMC comes from governmental sources. As each individual sponsor has its own rules and requirements, be sure to read carefully through program announcements and published grants policy.


Federal, state and local governments provide funding support for a variety of activities including research, training, public service, and other sponsored activities. Foreign governments may also offer funding through established programs. Governmental grants policy is often well developed, published, and available for general review. It can also be complex and subject to interpretation. Grants policy provides the general framework, while funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) and sponsored agreements address specific requirements. Examples of governmental sponsors include the National Institutes of Health, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, City of Boston, and the European Union.

Biotechnical Companies or Industry

Pharmaceutical and medical device companies often seek out health care institutions to run interventional clinical trials that test FDA drugs, biologics, and devices.  In most cases, they have conducted the basic and animal research; developed a hypothesis and protocol; and tested their products for safety in human beings, before coming to BMC for efficacy and further safety testing. In some cases, an industry sponsor may support a PI who has developed their own hypothesis and protocol. Occasionally, a business may contract with BMC for purposes other than investigational treatment, such as data analysis or lab research. Almost always, the funding mechanism is not an award but a negotiated contract, even if the industry sponsor uses the term "grant." 

BMC is especially interested in forging relationships with companies that share our vision of health equity, active participant partnerships, and community engagement.

Non-profit Foundations, Associations, and Societies

The Council on Foundations defines a foundation as an entity that supports charitable activities by making grants to unrelated organizations, institutions, or individuals for scientific, educational, cultural, religious, or other charitable purposes. While foundations are often primarily engaged in grant-making activities, some may engage in their own direct charitable activities or programs.

Private foundations are generally financially supported by one or a small handful of sources—an individual, a family, or a corporation. There are a few different types of private foundations: independent, family, and corporate. These categories are not legally defined. Rather, they are commonly used in the field of philanthropy to distinguish the different kinds of private foundations.

Public charities include a wide variety of charitable organizations, including hospitals, schools, churches, and organizations that make grants to others. Charities that primarily make grants are commonly referred to as public foundations. Most of these foundations are publicly supported charities, meaning they receive their funds from multiple sources, which may include private foundations, individuals, government agencies, and fees they charge for provision of charitable services. Public charities, unlike private foundations, are heavily supported by the public. For this reason, public charities are more subject to public scrutiny, which can help ensure adherence to appropriate standards of conduct in the absence of the more strict rules and regulations governing private foundations.