Vet Comp Orthop Traumatol 2024; 37(02): v
DOI: 10.1055/s-0044-1782160

Procuring Research Funding for Your Research

Kenneth A. Johnson
1   School of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
› Author Affiliations
Zoom Image
Kenneth A. Johnson, MVSc, PhD, FACVSc, DACVS, DECVS

Securing research grant funding is a major challenge in performing research in veterinary orthopaedics. While you might not need salary costs, there probably will be expenses for diagnostic imaging, mechanical testing, consumables such as implants, statistical advice, or publication charges. Small grants, or so-called seed grants, are likely to be more attainable for young investigators starting out than the very large multidisciplinary grants such as an NIH (National Institutes of Health) grant. Seed grants are intended to support small-scale projects, particularly those that generate pilot data, establish a new model, or provide “proof of concept,” for example.

We are very fortunate that generous research funding is distributed on a competitive basis annually by three societies that hold Veterinary and Comparative Orthopaedic and Traumatology (VCOT) as their official journal, these being the British Veterinary Orthopaedic Association, the Veterinary Orthopedic Society, and AO VET (Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Osteosynthesefragen Veterinary). Additionally, the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and the European College of Veterinary Surgeons make research grants available to their residents and diplomates.

A careful reading of the rules and guidelines relating to the conditions of award of any potential research grant being advertised is an essential first step. Your research problem must be within the scope of interest of the potential grant. Also, there may be restrictions relating to the ethical and humane use of animals. In some instances, the principal investigator must be younger than a certain age, or be a member of the society or foundation that is making the award. So, ensure that you can “tick all the boxes” before taking your time to apply.

If you are employed by an organization, such as a university, it is possible that your organization might want to take a large slice of your new research grant (up to 40%) to cover “overheads” (this means costs of running your institution and providing the facilities for your research). However, beware that some foundations do not allow their precious grant money to be applied to overheads. Another question to be addressed is ownership of the intellectual property arising from the research project. Does it remain with the funding agency or belong to the investigator?

Some manufacturers of orthopaedic devices and implants are willing to make their products available for a research project. Although this generous support may be critical for a resident project, there should be a clear prior understanding by all parties that the outcome of such studies should be free from any commercial bias, regardless of their disposition.

Perhaps most important of all is having one or two senior mentors who are very experienced and interested in your research to provide suggestions, wisdom, and guidance through all stages of this process. This is how the research process works best; as you become more engaged, experienced, and successful, you may become a role model for the next crop of junior people coming along behind.

Kenneth A. Johnson

Editor-in-Chief, Veterinary and Comparative Orthopaedic and Traumatology

Publication History

Article published online:
12 March 2024

© 2024. Thieme. All rights reserved.

Georg Thieme Verlag KG
Rüdigerstraße 14, 70469 Stuttgart, Germany