Research funding is a term usually covering any funding for scientific research, in the fields of both "hard" science and technology and social science. The term frequently connotes funding obtained through a spirited process, in which potential research projects are assessed and only the most promising get funding. Such methods, which are followed by government, corporations or foundations, allot limited funds. Total research funding in most urbanized countries is between 1.5% and 3% of GDP; Sweden is the single country to exceed 4%.
Most research funding comes from two main foundations, corporations (via research and development departments) and government (chiefly carried out via universities and specialized government organizations). A number of scientific researches are carried out by charitable foundations, particularly in relation to developing treatment for diseases like cancer, malaria and AIDS.
In the OECD, approximately two-thirds of research and development in scientific and technical fields is passed out by industry, and 20% and 10% in that order by universities and government, although in poorer countries like Portugal and Mexico the industry donation is considerably less. The US government expends more than other countries on military R&D, although the ratio has fallen from around 30% in the 1980s to below 20%. Government funding for medical research amounts to about 36% in the U.S. The government funding proportion in assured industries is higher, and it controls research in social science and humanities. Similarly, with some exemptions government offers the volume of the funds for essential scientific research. In commercial research and growth, all but the most research-oriented companies focus more seriously on near-term commercialization possibilities rather than "blue-sky" thoughts or technologies (like nuclear fusion).
Frequently research funding is applied for by scientists and permitted by a granting agency to financially support research. These funds need an extensive process as the granting agency can query about the researcher's background, the services used, the apparatus needed, the time involved, and the general potential of the scientific result. The procedure of fund writing and fund planning is a fragile process for both the granter and the grantee: the granter wants to opt the research that best fits their scientific principles, and the grantee desires to apply for research in which he has the best opportunity but also in which he can construct a body of work towards future scientific endeavors. This interaction can be a frustrating.
However, most universities have research administration offices to assist the communication between the researcher and the granting agency.
Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the chief federal agency responsible for funding health research in Canada. It is the descendant to the Medical Research Council of Canada. It plans to generate new health knowledge, and to interpret that knowledge from the research setting into real world applications. The CIHR was fashioned by an Act of Parliament on June 7, 2000; bringing together open government activities. In 2009-2010, CIHR's budget was more than 1 billion dollars.