Bridge Funding Support for Research Programs

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Overview

The competitiveness of the federal funding climate presents unique challenges to principal investigators, especially as unanticipated gaps in funding have negative effects on the continuation of active research programs. The Bridge Funding Support program provides interim resources to mitigate a challenging federal climate and to facilitate the ongoing viability of federally funded research projects.

 

Purpose

The Bridge Funding Support program helps ensure the continuation of research projects that have a demonstrated likelihood of continued federal funding. It is intended to support the research activities of projects for which no other funding resources are immediately available. 

Bridge Funding Support is not intended to replace sponsored funding and is not renewable. PIs are expected to re-budget existing funds and/or reduce the scope of research activities to the minimum necessary to maintain the program while awaiting review and funding of pending applications. Bridge Funding Support is not meant to replace funding gaps resulting from re-budgeting or scope reduction, but to fund the minimal operations between extant and anticipated sponsored funding after re-budgeting and scope reduction have occurred.

Bridge Funding Support is not intended to provide “seed” funding or to furnish funding while PI’s are developing applications for sponsored support. 

 

Eligibility

Faculty are eligible to apply who have both

1) full-time, tenure track appointments or appointments in the research track (Research Assistant Professor/Research Associate Professor/Research Professor) whose paid faculty appointment includes the academic year following the year for which bridge funding is requested and

2) extant federal funding as principal investigators. 

Non tenure track research associates, post-doctoral fellows/trainees, visiting professors, faculty without a demonstrated history of external funding, faculty applying for support for projects to be performed while the PI is on sabbatical, and faculty who do not have paid university faculty appointments for the academic year following the year for which Bridge Funding is requested are ineligible. 

 

Scope of Award / Use of Funds

Requests should be limited to the minimum funding necessary to maintain a defined project over a short duration (9 months or less) between project end date and date of anticipated award of pending applications. Requests are not expected to cover maintenance of an entire lab or all current personnel.  The PI is expected to re-budget all available resources and/or reduce activities to the minimal necessary to maintain the program.

The amount of funding provided will be commensurate with the impact of the research program, the applicant’s past record of sponsored funding, and the prospects for securing new sponsored funding, including peer review. 

 

No more than $200,000 from the Office of the Vice President for Research & Innovation can be requested to maintain ongoing research projects. Typical awards are expected to be substantially smaller. Because advancing research excellence is an institutional priority, PIs are strongly encouraged to secure pre-authorized commitments for matching funds from non-grant, non-Office of the Vice President for Research & Innovation sources from departments, schools/colleges and research centers/institutes (if applicable).

 

The following will be considered for BRIDGE funding support:

  • Salary / fringe of postdocs or other research staff
  • Essential supplies

 

The following are not eligible for BRIDGE funding support:

  • Summer or other additional salary for the PI
  • Base salary for the PI
  • Graduate students
  • Replacement funding for projects that are completed
  • Travel, seminar, or conference registration fees
  • Budget reductions in existing awards from external sponsors
  • Cost overruns

 

BRIDGE funding is not renewable.

 

Bridge Funding Application

Application materials should be submitted in a single PDF format in the order listed below: 

  • Grant Summary that includes the proposal summary page and the specific aims page (or equivalent) of all pending applications.
  • List of all pending and planned applications for which the faculty member is PI, co-PI, or Investigator, estimated award amounts requested/to be requested, and agency program.
  • Copies of the most recent review agency panel summary statements for an R01 or equivalent from NIH, NSF, or other agency; the proposal must have received a score/evaluation.
  • A brief narrative describing the need for bridge funding, including demonstration of how requested funds will “bridge” existing research efforts and eventual external support for the specific period of bridge funding. Narratives should also describe the existing foundation from which the “bridge” will be built to eventual external funding and 1) include a plan for how the PI will reduce research activities and repurpose existing staff or resources to operate the laboratory at the minimum necessary and 2) delineate how the laboratory will be operated in the event that funding is not secured when the bridge funding period ends.
  • A budget and budget justification that fully explains the relationship of costs to the proposed activity and the basis for cost estimates. Include information on the employment status, contract period and renewal dates, salary and terms of employees and a budget plan for essential employees for the bridge funding period. 
  • The project director’s current curriculum vita (CV), including a summary of current and pending support for the past five (5) years.
  • A description of other support (not to exceed two pages), including sources of internal and external support available for all research efforts at the current time or within the next six months. Include all department funds (including discretionary, ASA, start-up, retention, gift or other funds). Indicate how you intend to spend these available funds, including the specific plans to re-budget available resources to support activities in the bridge period. Clarify the relationship between the proposed project and all currently funded activities. 
  • Documentation of authorized matching funds from the PI’s department, school/college and research center/institute (if applicable).

 

Timeline

Applications for bridge funding must be received at least three months before active sponsored funding ends. 

Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis.

 

Review

The Research Advisory Board, Office of the Vice President for Research & Innovation staff and other colleagues may be consulted in evaluating BRIDGE funding applications. Final decisions will be made by the Vice President for Research & Innovation. Applications with pre-authorized matching funds secured by the PI from non-grant, non-Office of the Vice President for Research & Innovation sources, including his/her department, school/college and research center/institute (if applicable) will be prioritized.

 

Reporting Requirements

Successful applicants for bridge funding will receive an initial installment of funding. A second installment will be dependent on completion of specified milestones. All recipients are required to submit a progress report 6 months after receipt of funds. This report should be a summary of one page or less indicating the following:

  1. Funding received from all external sources since the receipt of bridge funding
  2. Proposals for funding submitted
  3. Manuscripts published or submitted since the receipt of bridge funding
  4. Any other measures of research progress or productivity that are appropriate

The report should be submitted as a single PDF file to Research Development Services (rds@uoregon.edu) with the subject line: Bridge Funding Report  <Last Name>.

Requests for extension of funding will be considered in light of achievement of milestones and demonstration that the project has a significant and reasonable chance of receiving external funding. 

 

Additional Information

PIs who receive BRIDGE funding are NOT eligible for other Office of the Vice President for Research & Innovation support during the period of BRIDGE funding or for the year thereafter. 

If a PI leaves the University of Oregon during the period of bridge funding, all unspent funds will be returned to the Office of the Vice President for Research & Innovation.

Research Development Services is available to assist with applications for external funding, procuring external review of draft proposals, interaction with Program Officers, and other services to assist PIs in securing sponsored funding for their projects. Generally, faculty who obtain support from the BRIDGE program are expected to take advantage of research development services in order to develop the most competitive proposal possible to enhance funding success.