Funding Search Tools
Pivot is listed as #1 here as we feel that, used correctly, it will return much of the same results of any of the other 4, plus some. As such, on this website we will focus on how best to use Pivot for optimal search results. If interested, you can find a quick guide for Foundation Directory here and a comprehensive online user guide for Grants.gov here. GRAPES has no user guide, but the interface is very straight forward, so if you’re a student/postdoc looking for funding, just give it a whirl.
Let’s see how to optimize the use of Pivot…
OK. The first thing we need to do is get you a Login.
While you can use Pivot without logging in from any UCI networked computer (including through VPN), custom functions require a login.
Go to https://pivot.proquest.com/
Click the “Sign Up” link, located in the upper right hand of the page.
Fill out the required information to create your account. Use your UCI email address for the “” field. Your password does not need to match that of your UCInetID.
Once this is done you will receive a confirmation email. Click the link to confirm your account and then you’ll be able to access the full features of Pivot, including claiming your Pivot-generated profile (if one exists). We’re not going to cover profiles here, but we encourage you to check out this video on how to setup your Pivot account and profile.
We recommend not using the basic (Quick) search box, but instead skipping ahead to Advanced search. Basic search tends to return rather broad results.
Advanced search may appear a bit intimidating, and it really does have a lot of options to help refine your search, but the following recommendations should simplify things for your first go at it.
Advanced Search is divided into two major sections “Find Opportunities matching” (i.e. “Include”), which is the top section and “Exclude Opportunities matching,” which is the bottom section.
- Under the top section, ignore the first group of fields and skip down to “Amount.” This is optional, but if you’re looking for a certain funding level, enter your minimum threshold here.
- Next Enter “United States” under “Activity Location” and check the box labeled “Sub-entities.” You may also wish to check the boxes labeled “Unrestricted,” and “Unspecified” which will include opportunities that don’t specify or enforce an activity location.
- The next part is the real engine of this search technique: Keywords. Pivot has a library of keywords you can explore under “browse” (found to the right of the form field). We recommend browsing this keyword library to familiarize yourself with how Pivot groups key terms. Enter/select the keywords most relevant to your research. You may check the box labeled “Explode” if you want Pivot to search subsets of your selected search terms. This is on by default. For finer results, uncheck this box.
- Finally select from a list of 9 Sponsor Types. You could select them all, but the 3 major categories would be: “Federal, U.S.,” “Private Foundation” and “Other Nonprofit.”
Under the “Exclude Opportunities matching” section, we’ve found that it’s useful to exclude all continents aside from North America. Select the 6 continents from the drop-down list, and check the sub-entities box as well to exclude.
Now that you have your search results, you can preview them quickly using the magnifying glass icon, or click on each opportunity title for more detail. If the search results are too, broad just click “Refine search” and narrow the results by excluding more activity areas or narrowing the keyword search.
Save and name your search query for easy retrieval later. You could also opt in to receive a weekly email (sent Sunday evenings) that includes updated results from your query.
We spent hours on YouTube—mostly because we were distracted by cat videos—to find the following Pivot instructional videos. There are many on the ProQuest Pivot YouTube Channel but these few are our recommended picks:
Advanced Search (we like this better than the quick search)
Navigating Search Results
Claiming & Updating Your Pivot Profile
Saving & Tracking Funding Opportunities
Need additional help with funding searches? Contact a Research Development professional in your area.