The Dean for Research Bridge Fund provides support for key research staff members during critical gaps in extramural funding. The fund is intended to stabilize research programs and enable ongoing productivity when external funding is temporarily disrupted, while simultaneously maintaining quality of life for valued members of the University research community.
The Bridge Fund was established to recognize and address two key issues for research staff members at the University: first, employment and salary are dependent on continuous external grants for a majority of personnel; and second, flat or declining funding from government granting agencies has led to lower success rates for proposals, even for programs that were highly successful in the past.
Those eligible for bridge funding include research scholars, senior research scholars and senior professional specialists/researchers with a demonstrated history of successful extramural funding and good prospects for renewal of funding. Researchers may become eligible for the Bridge Fund when they:
- lead an independent research program that has temporarily lost support; or
- are a critical part of another investigator’s research program that has temporarily lost support; or
- provide a key resource to a facility or multi-investigator cooperative research program that has temporarily lost support
Graduate students, postdoctoral research associates, associate research scholars, associate professional specialists and professional specialists are normally ineligible for support from this program. Researchers in these categories who are in need of gap funding are encouraged to consult their sponsor -- the highest-ranking faculty administrator in the candidate’s discipline, such as a school dean, department chairperson or program director -- about other means of support.
Researchers who are facing an interruption in grant support should discuss their plans for obtaining funding with departmental leadership and faculty advisers at the earliest possible time.
Requests for gap funding must be submitted with the sponsor’s fullest support. In issuing a request, the sponsor should make a case for the value added by the individual, research program and discipline to the department, school or program. The letter also should explain how the provision of bridge funds would support the priorities of the University. Normally, the home department, school or program will be expected to endorse its commitment to the researcher by contributing matching funds. Requests for bridge funds must also include a plan for career transitioning should external funding not be reinstated.
Applications must be signed by both the researcher and their sponsor and include the following materials:
- Letter from sponsoring school, department or program
- Explanation of the temporary loss of support and plans to obtain future support
- Curriculum vitae of researcher, including tenure in present position
- Documentation of previous externally funded grants (from the past five years) and current and pending support that includes all federal, private and University sources
- Evidence of attempts to obtain funding (abstracts of submitted grants, panel reviews, priority scores or other evaluations and comments)
- Budget and justification, including departmental matching funds with accompanying commitment letter for the match (Budget will normally cover salary and benefits, but may include essential supplies and travel, as necessary, to continue the research. Include the date(s) when present funding ends and the earliest possible date when new funding may begin.)
Applications are accepted throughout the year. Proposals are reviewed by an ad hoc committee headed by the associate dean for research and recommendations are made to the dean for research for a final decision. Notification of a decision will be made within one month of submission. Awards will be for a period not to exceed eight months, or until extramural funding is re-established, whichever occurs first.