Finance & Administration

Bridge Funding Policy

Overview

This policy identifies mechanisms for untenured and tenured faculty members to request emergency bridge funding from Arts & Sciences and their home department.

Policy

Bridge funding is intended to be unusual, emergency support when a funded project has not been renewed, awarded funding is delayed, or there is an unexpected gap in funding. As such, bridge funding is temporary support that allows faculty to retain key personnel and to maintain project momentum. Bridge funding requests are evaluated on a case-by-case basis and awarded based on a variety of criteria, including past funding history, need, Arts and Sciences resources, etc.

Bridge funds are not intended to support new projects, or as a seed funding mechanism to change a faculty member’s research portfolio. There are usually other opportunities for applying for such funds.

Faculty members are strongly encouraged to establish their own emergency fund through the Externally Funded Research Buy-outs Policy (http://trinity.duke.edu/finance/regular-rank/research-buy-out).

Definitions

Bridge Funding: Funding to sustain the research programs of productive researchers through the difficult period of a funding gap to give the investigator an opportunity to regain external funding.

Seed Funding: Funding provided to help a faculty member become competitive for external funding in a new area of research.

Procedure

Bridge Funding for Untenured Junior Faculty

Learning to write competitive proposals and secure research funding is a critical element of earning tenure.  In addition, learning to spend wisely and within awarded budgets is also essential.  Therefore, bridge funding for untenured junior faculty will be unusual. Such support will only be offered with the unequivocal support of both the department chair and divisional dean.

Minimum Eligibility Requirements
  • Faculty member’s start up fund has been exhausted.
  • Faculty member’s department is willing to share the cost of the bridge funding.
  • Faculty member has a solid track record of seeking and obtaining external research funding.
Restrictions
  • Bridge funding from A&S is not an outright grant, but instead is a loan and must be repaid to the college on a schedule negotiated in the bridge funding agreement letter.
  • Bridge funding from the faculty member’s department may be given as an outright grant, or as a loan to be repaid, as negotiated in the agreement letter.
  • Bridge funding may not be used for a faculty member’s summer salary, and the faculty member may not take ANY summer salary from a grant until the loan(s) are repaid.  After a junior faculty member earns tenure, he or she may negotiate with A&S regarding a schedule for loan repayment that may include taking a month of summer salary for every month of academic year salary contributed as repayment.
Procedure for Requesting Bridge Funding and Loan Repayment
  1. Requests for bridge funding must be made by the faculty member’s department chair to the divisional dean.
  2. The faculty member will repay the A&S bridge loan (and departmental loan, if such support is negotiated as a loan) by establishing a discretionary research account. The process for doing this is covered by the Externally Funded Research Buy-outs Policy (http://trinity.duke.edu/finance/regular-rank/research-buy-out). The faculty member will book money to this discretionary account (equivalent to the amount of salary and fringe you’ve paid in) until loans are repaid.
  3. The faculty member must work with the Office of Research Development (http://trinity.duke.edu/research-development) on all subsequent proposals until earning tenure. This requirement is intended to ensure the long-term success of our junior faculty.
  4. The restriction on taking summer salary may be partially relaxed if the faculty member earns tenure during loan repayment and can demonstrate the ability to pay back the loan fully, in a reasonable amount of time. Under those circumstances, the faculty member can take equal amount of summer salary and academic year salary until the loan is paid off.
  5. Loan repayment and funding transfers to A&S and the department will be tracked and managed by the Office of Finance and Administration.  The department needs to ensure that the text “research buyout-bridge loan repayment” is added in the comment section on the cost distribution form.

Bridge Funding for Tenured Faculty

Tenured faculty member requests for bridge funding support will be considered if supported by the department chair and approved by the Divisional Dean. Support will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

Minimum Eligibility
  • Faculty member has as solid track record of receiving external research funding AND research productivity.
  • Faculty member’s department is willing to share the cost of the bridge funding.
  • Faculty member’s start up fund and any research discretionary accounts have been exhausted.
  • Faculty member has not taken summer salary during the calendar year of a request for bridge funding support.
  • At the time of the request for bridge funding, the faculty member has a new proposal(s) for external funding planned, in process, or in review with an external funding agency or foundation.
Restrictions
  • Bridge funding from A&S is not an outright grant, but instead is a loan and must be repaid to the college on a schedule negotiated in the bridge funding agreement letter.
  • Bridge funding may not be used for summer salary, and the faculty member may not take ANY summer salary until loans are repaid.
  • Bridge funding from the faculty member’s department may be given as an outright grant, or as a loan to be repaid, as negotiated in the agreement letter.
Procedure for Requesting Bridge Funding and Loan Repayment
  1. Requests for bridge funding must be made by the faculty member’s department chair to the divisional dean.
  2. If the faculty member is to receive a bridge funding loan(s), the faculty member will repay the loan(s) by establishing a discretionary research account. The process for doing this is covered by the Externally Funded Research Buy-outs Policy (http://trinity.duke.edu/finance/regular-rank/research-buy-out). The faculty member will book money to this discretionary account (equivalent to the amount of salary and fringe paid in) until the loan(s) are repaid.
  3. Bridge funding may not be used for summer salary, and the faculty member may not take ANY summer salary from a grant until the loan(s) are repaid. Nevertheless, the restriction on taking summer salary may be partially relaxed if the faculty member can demonstrate the ability to pay back the loan fully, in a reasonable amount of time. Under those circumstances, it is possible to negotiate a scenario whereby the faculty member can take equal amount of summer salary and academic year salary until the loan is paid off.
  4. The faculty member is encouraged to work with the Office of Research Development (http://trinity.duke.edu/research-development) on subsequent proposals.
  5. Loan repayment and funding transfers to A&S and the department will be tracked and managed by the Office of Finance & Administration.  The department needs to ensure that the text “research buyout-bridge loan repayment” is added in the comment section on the cost distribution form.