Using Twitter to find research funding

Here’s a guest post from Dr Sara Walker from the School of Built & Natural Environment at Northumbria University. Sara is Director of Research in the Department of Architecture, Engineering and Construction.

Jeff Turner

I recently dipped a toe into the strange world of Twitter. Twitter enables you to “follow” a range of people and organisations and to find out what they are up to. I am currently following Research Councils (@research_uk; @EPSRC; @ESRC), organisations that distribute research money (@the_ETI; @UKERCHQ), professional bodies (@RAEngNews; @RIBANorthEast; @IEEorg; @PhysicsNews; @CIBSE; @HEAcademy), government departments and quangos (@thecarbontrust; @ofgem; @DECCgovuk; @HEFCE), specific projects (@UKITRC) and other sources of information about research (@ResFortnight’ @timeshighered). I also follow individuals in my field of research (@jameskeirstead; @ecominimalnick; @mclott; @BH_DanP).

Sometimes it is a bit like information overload, but twitter “feeds” contain useful information on funding announcements, findings from funded research, musings on the research process, as well as some less useful stuff.

So today (5th July 2012) I learned that the Royal Academy of Engineering has some funding (up to £30k) for public engagement, for example. I find that twitter is an additional way of finding out about funding opportunities, about research being undertaken and about what matters in the profession. And by contributing your own thoughts, you can contribute to ongoing professional debate in your subject. It isn’t all teenage angst and what people had for breakfast. It can be a professional tool to enable quick communication with a range of people.

Let us know if any of you have experience of using Twitter for finding research funding, or use any other form of social networking to stay in touch with funder’s priorities – contact: