Bridge Funding (not talking pork barrel here)

Before those of you with competing R01 renewals that just missed the payline head for that fifth of whatever your drinking these days, might I recommend that you touch base once more with your program officer? Although you as a PI cannot apply for these funds, many ICs sign on to the R56 (high-priority, short-term project award) mechanism as a means of providing bridge support until your A1 goes in and gets funded. As the description says, “Program administrators may identify creative and innovative approaches within the pool of applications that fall just beyond the established payline. Such applications will be considered for conversion to an R56 award by the IC.”

Who’s in? NIA, NIAAA, NIAID, NIAMS, NCCAM, NCI, NIDCR, NIEHS, NIDA, NIDDK, NIMH, and NLM. Actually, this covers new R01s (not just competing renewals) in the same boat.

Update: Does the Great Zerhouni read this blog or what? Check out the NIH Director’s Bridge Awards notice. The new news is that $91 million has been set aside for such bridge funding, and that FY06 applications could be considered for these R56 awards. Get on the blower to your program officer, damn it!

NIGMS has their own internal program of interim funding:

“The National Institute of General Medical Sciences has implemented a policy to provide interim support to some unfunded R01 applicants whose competing continuation applications generally fall within about 10 percentile points beyond the range at which NIGMS is funding grants during that Council round. Selection of competing continuation applicants who will receive interim funding will be based on several factors, including an applicant’s other support, presence of an unobligated balance in the current grant, programmatic considerations, and the availability of funds.”

Very interesting & encouraging statistic used to back up this offer: “Between 55% and 65% of investigators whose renewal applications fall within 10 percentile points of the proposed funding range will receive funding within a year of the time their grants lapse.”

So, take heart, dear competing renewer.

Plus, the NLM offers a special interim funding option to new investigators seeking their first competitive renewal: “NLM will consider a request for interim support from grantees who were new investigators for their current award and are seeking their first competing renewal. This option is available only in cases where the original competing renewal application falls near but beyond the general payline. The goal of bridge funding is to help successful new investigators maintain basic resources until review of a revised application is complete.”

As does the NIBIB: Brand new starting in FY07, bridge funding is available for the first competing renewal of an investigator’s first R01 if the application is within 3 percentile points of the normal NIBIB R01 payline and if the application has at least one more opportunity for revision (ie, cannot be A2).

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