Being able to hire students and pay them for their time ensures my research lab is more productive, and it also helps students gain valuable experience
Staffing is one area in which external funding, such as grants and charitable contributions, can make a real difference for faculty researchers. In most cases, professors are able to recruit students willing to volunteer their time to gain research experience. However, offering students paid positions is often a more effective way to keep studies running at a steady pace.
“Working in a lab can help students determine whether research is something they want to pursue in the future, or for those who want to earn a master’s or PhD, the experience can help with admission to graduate school,” says Kelly, whose research focus is pain modulation.
Today’s competitive funding environment
Because Kelly’s pain studies require human subjects, funding also is needed for participation incentives and other subject-related expenses, including paying for participants’ on-campus parking during study visits. Another major expense is acquiring the equipment necessary to run major studies.
While the National Institutes of Health offers a variety of external funding opportunities and research grants, only a very small percentage—an estimated six to 10 percent—of proposals receive NIH funding.