CMDR functions both with project funding and core funding. The notable national agencies which have sponsored research activities of the Centre are ICSSR, HRD Ministry, Government of India, Government of Karnataka, Planning Commission, All India Handicrafts Board, ICFTU, Industrial Finance Corporation of India, Canara Bank, Industrial Development Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank, NABARD, etc. The international agencies which have financed CMDR’s research activities are the World Bank, International Institute of Educational Planning and Administration, UNESCO (Paris), Ford Foundation, International Development Research Centre (Canada), Research In Tobacco Control (RITC), (Canada), ECAFE (Bangkok), SAARC Secretariat, WHO, SANDEE (Nepal), UNDP(New Delhi), IDPAD Netherland, UNICEF, DFID, Manchester University, UK, CFTK, Washington, ESRC, American Cancer Society, European Union, etc.
The Indian Council of Social Science Research has recognised CMDR with effect from 1991, as one of its national level research institutions with regular funding on matching basis. The Government of Karnataka has also been providing regular maintenance grant to CMDR.