Funding the Pursuit

Money might not grow on trees, but grant funding may be within reach for students

Students at the University of Maine have a range of financial needs, from scholarship and fellowship monies, to research support, to travel and conference funding. One of their key resources in covering these expenses comes to them freely through grant education at Fogler Library.

Librarians regularly work with students to identify and access quality information for their academic, professional, and personal pursuits. Increasingly, librarians see grantseeking fall into this domain, with outreach efforts related to grant funding growing in popularity.

The early history of grant support through the library

Grants outreach to the campus community began as a collaborative effort between Fogler Library, the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, and the Grant Development Office in the Office of the Vice President for Research. The initial goal was to apprise new and early career faculty of grantseeking tools and services at UMaine, as well as to offer refresher sessions for seasoned faculty seeking to fund their research and creative projects.

One of the cornerstones of this support is the Grants 101 workshop series offered throughout the year in Fogler Library in collaboration with Director of Grant Development Jason Charland. As faculty members attended these workshops, they recognized the benefit the instruction could offer to graduate students.

“I highly recommend it,” says a University of Maine faculty member who attended the grants workshop, “especially for graduate students in their first year.”

Her suggestion was prescient. As the effort grew from its initial faculty focus to include outreach to students studying and working in various capacities throughout the university, the number of graduate student attendees increased dramatically. At a recent workshop, half of the more than 50 participants were graduate students.

Finding support for projects, academic work, and research

Most often, the library works with graduate students who are looking for research support for some aspect of their theses or dissertations (such as fieldwork). Graduate students also regularly seek grants to fund the work they’re pursuing as a member of a faculty-led research team.

But, the need for grant support isn’t limited to graduate students. Undergraduates also visit the library with funding needs, whether in pursuit of conference attendance opportunities or for scholarship or research support.

Given the close relationship between the university and many community nonprofits in Maine, it comes as no surprise that both graduate and undergraduate students regularly seek funding on behalf of the organizations where they volunteer or intern.

Students in search of external grant funding are encouraged to attend a grant workshop or schedule a one-on-one consultation with grants librarian Jen Bonnet (

For more information, visit the library’s online guide to grants.

This story was originally featured in the 2016 Raymond H. Fogler Library Magazine.