Million Dollar PhD

This book in one minute

Here are the simple but rarely applied guidelines to increase your graduate funding:

  1. Ask for money. Sometimes a single email to your department can be worth thousands of dollars. Graduate students rarely negotiate because academics are weird about money.

  2. Apply for the usual governmental scholarships. Find other potential funders by seeing who has supported your colleagues and professors. Check their CVs, read funding acknowledgements in papers and presentations, and ask around.

  3. Ask yourself: Who would benefit from my research? Consider partnerships with organisations or companies. Check award lists and databases occasionally, but focus on little-known (and less competitive) funders. You can also write grants with your professor.

  4. Prioritise awards that: have a high expected value (attainable awards worth a lot), award multiple times, enable other awards, provide feedback, require reusable work, and “stack” atop other awards. Avoid most essay contests and all awards with an application fee.

  5. Find examples of successful applications and copy their structure. Since award evaluations are mostly random noise, apply and re-apply to different organisations until your projects are funded and you reach a reasonable income. This may be higher than you expect.