The Department of Medicine (DOM) Bridge Funding Support program provides up to 12 months of short-term, limited financial support for faculty members with research programs experiencing a temporary loss of significant funding. Typically, applicants have been unsuccessful in a recent attempt to renew or replace an extramural grant but are likely to be funded upon submission of a revised application, based on scores and reviewers’ comments.


The Bridge Funding Support program helps ensure the continuation of research projects that have demonstrated a likelihood of continued federal funding. It is intended to support the research activities of projects for which no other funding resources are immediately available. Applicants must demonstrate their research program is jeopardized due to lack of extramural funding, they have one or more rounds of well-scored but unfunded federal applications, and they will have exhausted all available discretionary or start-up funds within one year of applying for bridge funding.

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


The PI must have an extramural grant administered through DOM that is near its expiration. Bridge requests for grants administered in a Center or other group outside of DOM will be considered only if it represents a matching proposal with funds provided by the administering group.

Before bridge funding is awarded, applicants must have expended all unrestricted start-up funds aside from amounts committed to staff salary support.

Individuals not eligible for bridge funding include non-faculty research associates and assistants (not eligible for PI status), post-doctoral scholars, visiting professors, faculty without a demonstrated history of external funding, faculty PIs on sabbatical, faculty on the non-tenured research track, and faculty who do not have paid university faculty appointments for the academic year following the year for which Bridge funding is requested.

  1. Applicants must be faculty members who have a full-time, salaried appointment in the Department of Medicine and have been faculty members for more than 3 years. Priority will be given to two groups of applicants:
    • Established Investigator (Associate/Full Professor) who has lost or will lose more than 40% of all extramural funding in her/his research portfolio, and anticipates a deleterious effect (e.g., loss of research personnel or research participants). Bridge funding applications may be submitted up to six months prior to the expected loss of funding. Established investigators must have independent research programs with continuous peer-reviewed, extramural funding during the previous three-year period. Applicants must include reviews for at least one well-scored but unfunded application.
    • Assistant Professor who has an independent research program that is supported, at least in part, by extramural funding. The applicant must be facing a significant gap in this funding, and applications must include reviews for at least one well-scored but unfunded new or renewal application. Bridge funding in the new investigator category is intended for faculty during the early post-mentored phase of their careers.
  2. Established Investigators who receive bridge funding awards are not eligible to reapply for bridge funding until at least a year after their award period has ended. Assistant Professors who have received bridge funds in the gap between Career Development and Independent extramural funding may reapply with a letter of support from the Division Chief and the most recent summary of the applicant’s progress documented by the Promotion Oversight Committee. Finally, no more than two awards will be granted in a five-year span for any PI.

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

Proposals must be sent as a single PDF file within the DOM Bridge Program Application by the following deadlines:

  • Spring deadlines: April 1st for a July 1st start date.
  • Fall deadlines: October 1st for a January 1st start date.

Proposals will be reviewed by up to two members of DOM Executive Committee (or their designees) from Divisions not involved in the proposal. Funding recommendations will be provided to the DOM Research Oversight Committee for funding approval.

Review Criteria

The applicant has an independent research program; applicants with laboratory-based research have independent laboratory space.

  1. The applicant has demonstrated conscientious efforts to establish and maintain extramural funding and to diversify funding streams.
  2. Support of the Division Chief, including any documentation of the division’s willingness to assist in the financial support of the applicant during the bridge period.
  3. A record of accomplishment of recent extramural funding and overall research productivity in terms of publications and/or participant enrollment.
  4. Recent grant applications (last two years) that received favorable scores (close to the funding range); the applicant should explain how the reviewers’ comments will be addressed.
  5. For applicants who are awarded bridge funding, they must rely on discretionary (including start-up) funds until the discretionary fund balance is depleted.
  6. For applicants who are awarded bridge funding, all resultant applications to external funding agencies must be routed through the Department of Medicine, or the office providing the majority of the bridge funding (for partnering commitments). This is necessary to ensure that indirect costs are directed back to the DOM to support the department’s activities, including this bridge program.
  7. The Research Committee and other colleagues may be consulted in evaluating Bridge funding applications. Final decisions will be made by the Department of Medicine Chair and Research Executive Committee.

Requests should be limited to the minimum “essential” funding necessary to maintain a defined project over a short duration (12 months or less). 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 reduce activities to the minimal necessary to maintain the program.

The award amount will be commensurate with minimal funding levels to sustain a program and will be based on a review of the funding history and potential for future funding. A single, non-recurring award is anticipated. Any funds not expended by the end of the award period will be returned to the DOM. Further, should other funding be secured during the Bridge period which closes the stated funding gap, remaining Bridge funds must be returned.

Awardees must notify the DOM’s Office of Research Services within two weeks of receiving notice of any funding from any source to support any project within his/her research portfolio (e.g. extramural, intramural, industry, and foundation awards, startup, gifts, discretionary funds, etc.).

  • If the new award is larger than the balance of the bridge funding grant at the time the grant is reported, the bridge funding award will end as soon as the new funding begins.
  • If the amount of the new award is less than the balance of the bridge funding grant, then the balance of the bridge funding award will be reduced accordingly.
  • The total amount of any bridge funding award will not exceed $75,000.

Funds will not be released until documentation of IACUC or IRB approval has been provided, if applicable.

All resultant publications and presentations should acknowledge funding from the DOM.

All resultant applications to external funding agencies must be routed through the University of Wisconsin, Department of Medicine. This is necessary to ensure that indirect costs are directed back to the DOM to support the department’s activities, including this bridge funding program.


Bridge funding may be used to maintain research programs at a minimum "essential" level for a limited time to facilitate success in re-securing external funding.

The Bridge funding award may be used to support:

  • Essential salaries/benefits for research personnel
  • Essential supplies/project expenses
  • Animal care or core facility services
  • Essential research participant accrual or maintenance

Bridge funding award funds may NOT be used to support:

  • PI salary
  • Administrative salary support
  • Equipment
  • Travel
  • Seminar or conference registration fees
  • Replacement funding for projects that are completed
  • Budget reductions in existing awards from external sponsors
  • Budget overdrafts
  • Administrative costs (i.e., school and departmental surcharges)
Required Documents
  1. Grant Summary: includes the proposal summary page and specific aims page (or equivalent) of all pending applications.
  2. Panel Summary: copies of the most recent review panel scoring and summary statements and a 1-page response to those reviews indicating how proposals will be modified to address reviewer comments; the proposal must have received a score/evaluation.
  3. Budget and Budget Justification: fully explain the relationship of costs to the proposed activity and the basis for cost estimates. Include information on employment status, contract period and renewal dates, salary and terms of employees and a budget plan for essential employees for the bridge funding period.
  4. Biosketch: of the PI in the standard NIH format.
  5. Other Support (2-page max): 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, start-up, pilot, retention, gift or other funds). Indicate how these available funds will be spent, 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.
  6. Letter of Support: a letter or email from the Division Chief or head of the unit (e.g., department, division, center, institute, etc.) addressing the following:
    • An explanation of how the research program fits the unit's research priorities
    • An assessment of the budget
    • An assessment of the investigator's ability to attain continuation or new funding to sustain or extend research activities into the future
    • Confirmation of any matching funds provided by the unit, if applicable
      • Matching funds can come from any combination of support from the faculty member’s home division and college/school. If awarded, such matching funds will be transferred from the source account to a separate account established for the awarded activity. For sources of funding that are difficult to transfer, units can capture those funds as in-kind contributions within the application budget. Any funds remaining at the end of the award period will be returned to the contributing sources.
Reporting Requirements

Successful applicants for bridge funding from the DOM will receive a single installment of funding. 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, (which should acknowledge support from DOM)
  4. Any other measures of research progress or productivity that are appropriate

The report should be submitted as a single PDF file to the DOM Office of Research Services ( with the subject line: Bridge Funding Report - <Last Name>.

PIs who receive Bridge funding are NOT eligible for other DOM support during the period of Bridge funding or for the year thereafter. If a PI leaves the Department of Medicine during the period of bridge funding, all unspent funds will be returned to the appropriate units.

DOM’s Office of Research 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. Faculty who obtains support from the DOM Bridge program are expected to take advantage of research development services to develop the most competitive proposal possible to enhance funding success.

For more information, contact us at