To provide some brief background, I am a High School student and part-time researcher at UC Santa Cruz's Chemistry & Biochemistry Department. My lab's primary focus is on the novel functions of nanomaterials and their optical-electronic properties.
The goal of my research project is to explore functional nanometer sized clusters of transition metal and characterize their morphology/structure/composition. In terms of applications, the long-term objective is to design a catalyst that will speed up the kinetics increasing the overall efficiency of a hydrogen fuel cell, with a focus on studying how changing the properties of the catalysts will affect the overall ORR activity.
More than anything, I want to perform research on a level worthy of reference and publishing, to further the field chemistry, no matter how small. However, the two major problems I'm faced with:
My question is, if a student has proven their competency as a researcher and has publishable data, then how do you propose they go about seeking small to medium-sized funding grants? I reason, that with all the competitive science fairs (e.g. ISEF, Siemens, Google) there exits some type of funding model to support this type of ad-hoc research.