Dimensions’ extensive grant data allows a variety of stakeholders: government and funders, academic institutions and researchers to have a holistic view of research funding dynamics across the entire research lifecycle, from inception to impact. 

When Dimensions began aggregating grant data in 2013, the aim was to democratize access to different aspects of the research process, including information about research funding. At the time of writing in May 2024, the Dimensions grant data included details of 7.1million grants, totaling USD 2.6 trillion in funding.

Grants7.1 million 
Research funders covered700
Total funding amountUSD 2.6 trillion
Average funding amountUSD 481,000
Total funding of projects active in 2024USD 594.2 billion

Indicators of emerging trends and a global picture of funding

Funded grants offer a glimpse into the future of research, providing insights into the trajectory of scientific inquiry and innovation. One can view grant data as markers of emerging trends, indicating the direction in which various fields are headed. Take for example the field of next-generation sequencing, or NGS, a range of modern sequencing methods revolutionizing the pace of discovery in fields ranging from molecular biology to genomics. Dimensions data unveils the dynamics of financial support from both private and public funders and shows that grants began surfacing around 2008-2009 for research on the topic. These are the kinds of insights that could aid in predicting the trajectory of emerging technologies, enabling companies to better strategize their patent applications and market entry.

Because the Dimensions grant data is extensive and interconnected, it offers a comprehensive perspective on the global resource allocation within fields of research. For a study titled Prospective Research Trend Analysis on Zero-Energy Building (ZEB): An Artificial Intelligence Approach, authors used Dimensions “due to its ability to organize and provide considerable global R&D grant data systematically. “The research category feature offered by Dimensions.ai was used to narrow down data collection to research fields relevant to ZEB to reduce noise in the collected data,” they write.

Pointers for interventions and strategic-decision-making

In addition, by analyzing the projects slated for funding, stakeholders gain invaluable foresight, allowing for interventions where necessary and strategic decision-making. Take for instance a study published in the Lancet. Described as the “first comprehensive global analysis of cancer research funding,” covering approximately $24.5 billion of global investment, drawn from 66,388 public and philanthropic awards,” it was based on content analysis of research award data from 2016 to 2020 extracted from the Dimensions database.  By analyzing funding flows from public and philanthropic awards for cancer research, researchers unearthed multiple disconnects between funding distribution and real-world needs. Other examples of publications that have used Dimensions grant data to understand trends, include Using a Modern Linked Research Database to Examine Gender Disparities in Orthopaedic Grant Funding from 2010 to 2022 and Global trends in psycho-oncology research investments 2016–2020: A content analysis.

Funded grants are crucial components of the research ecosystem, representing not just financial investment but also the collective trust in the vision and capability of researchers and the topic under investigation. Each grant awarded is the culmination of a rigorous process, where researchers present their ideas to funding bodies, seeking validation and support. Historically, agencies lacked insights into each other’s funding activities, hindering collaboration and synergy. However, with data sources like Dimensions, linking and standardizing data across disaggregated systems has become feasible. Dimensions aggregates not just grants but also publications, citations, clinical trials, patents, and policy papers. Advanced techniques such as natural language processing and machine learning facilitate the connection of research metadata, including researcher profiles, grants, and publications of various types.

For more information download the Dimensions Report: A Guide to the Dimensions Data Approach
If you want to learn about how you can use Dimensions to access and analyze grant data, contact the Dimensions team.