Bridge Fund

Bridge Fund/Pilot Study Program


The primary objective of the Bridge Fund/Pilot Study Program is to support individuals who have demonstrated or show promise of developing an academic research program, and whose ideas are of sufficient scope and creativity that they have good prospects of attracting additional funding at the national level.  A research grant proposal should state a hypothesis and, in a focused manner, describe a research project that would interest major external funding agencies.  The application should describe how the results of this research will be used to support an application for an existing or new external grant.

Types of Support

Grants are made in the following categories:

  • PIs who have had grants in last two years and have tried to submit grants but were not successful, or who need additional or Pilot Study data for submission
  • Researchers who have published as recently as during the last 12 months and need bridge funds to complete and apply for grants

Terms of Support

Projects are supported for a one-year period.  Requests for extensions of 60 days or less for submission of 6 months or final reports will be granted for extenuating circumstances only and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. However, the funding period (12 months) will not be eligible or considered for extensions.  A mid-year and final reports are required.  An application from an individual who has a final report outstanding will not be processed until the final report is received.


Grant Application:

  • Application Forms including completed signature pages, budget and budget justification
  • Requests should be limited to the minimum funding necessary to maintain a defined project over a short duration and are not expected to cover maintenance of an entire lab.
  • Awards may not cover budget reductions in existing awards from external sponsors, cost overruns, or travel. See the Budget Restrictions.
  • Budget Justification (one page) – A narrative should be attached to this form that fully explains and itemizes the costs to the proposed activity and the basis for cost estimates.
  • A short introduction stating the problem and summarizing the literature
  • A statement of the hypothesis and specific aims
  • A description of the experimental plan and methods
  • Anticipated results and how an award will facilitate longer-term studies. Preliminary data can be included.
  • Plans for obtaining extramural support based on data gathered during this pilot program. Describe your plans to obtain support for this research program. Have applications been submitted to National agencies?
  • Experimental plan for use of the requested funds. (2 pages maximum)
  • Other support pages (NIH style) listing all current and pending research support to the PI’s laboratory. List all current research support by agency number, title, and total direct costs awarded. Make sure that you include all past start-up and institutional support, including amounts and dates.
  • Letter of support from Applicant’s Chair or Division Chief.

Budget Restrictions

Faculty Research Grants will provide support for the following categories of expenditures:

  1. General expenses of research, such as supplies, materials, services, animals and animal care costs, etc., that are essential to the project.
  2. Equipment essential to the research being proposed.Equipment requests should relate to a particular project, even though the equipment may be used beyond its conclusion.
  3. Funding for more general equipment should be requested from other programs.
  4. Equipment requests should be accompanied by an explanation of why the equipment was not covered by startup funds.
  5. Travel to professional meetings, even to report on research supported by a Faculty Research Grant, will not be funded through this program.

*This program cannot pay any salary directly to the faculty member, give additional compensation or be used to hire personnel including students or consultants.

Guidelines for Letter from the Applicant’s Chair or Division Chief

A letter from the individual’s department chair (or division chief in large departments) will be an important component of the application.  The letter should address the quality of science, the applicant’s promise as a researcher and potential for regaining funding, the importance of the individual to departmental activities, what the department will do to support the investigator’s salary, and other relevant information.  If the applicant functions primarily as a member of a center or program (excluding a graduate program), the director of that center/program should also write a letter.