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Bridge Grants offer support for meritorious unfunded grant applications

To strengthen the competitive position of meritorious unfunded grant applications, Penn State College of Medicine principal investigators may request support for Bridge Grants.

Potential applicants should recognize that the resources available to support Bridge Grants are limited, and funding will be given to only the most promising highly meritorious applications. All primary investigators who apply will receive written critiques.

Submission information will be provided when applications are being accepted.

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RFA Details: Bridge Grants

Eligibility Expand answer
  • The principal investigator must have their primary academic appointment in the College of Medicine at the rank of assistant professor, associate professor or professor.
  • The individual research grant application must have been reviewed during the last 12 months by NIH (with a grant numbered in the “R” series, such as an R01 or R21), NSF or other government agency, or a major voluntary health agency (such as ACS) that uses a peer review system and provides written critiques to applicants; the critique must be for a full proposal. The proposed research should be performed at a Penn State campus.
  • The critique and score of the external application should suggest that it is a meritorious proposal and unlikely to be funded without revision. NIH applications that were scored by the Center for Scientific Review or an institute-specific review committee will generally be considered meritorious. Documentation of an equivalent level of excellence will be required to establish eligibility for applications submitted to sponsors that use a different scoring system.
  • The principal investigator must be planning to
    • acquire additional preliminary data that will strengthen the proposal; and
    • submit a revised application to an appropriate external sponsor within the coming year.
  • The principal investigator’s department must commit to supporting 50 percent of the direct costs of the Bridge Grant.
Exclusion Criteria Expand answer
  • Projects that were previously reviewed for a Bridge Grant and not funded are not eligible for submission in response to this RFA.
  • Projects that have received support from a Bridge Grant after January 1, 2018 are not eligible for submission in response to this RFA.
  • Receipt of a statement of award, for external funds for a resubmitted application, prior to Jan. 1, 2022, will result in a rescinded Bridge Grant.
Program Guidelines Expand answer
  • Bridge Grants are intended to support the acquisition of additional preliminary data that will help the project become more competitive for external support in the near future and to help maintain research momentum. Please note that if a revised application is submitted to the external sponsor before or soon after the Bridge Grant application is submitted, and if that external grant is identified for funding before the Bridge Grant funding period, the PI must promptly notify Office of Research Affairs (ORA) and Research Development who may require the PI to relinquish all unobligated funds.
  • Bridge Grant applicants may request up to 50 percent of the project’s recommended annual direct cost funding, not to exceed $100,000 direct costs plus applicable indirect costs, for up to a 12-month period.
  • Bridge Grants may be used to support salaries and fringe benefits for the principal investigator and other faculty and staff within the College of Medicine, student stipends, supplies, equipment, publication costs, expenses related to the use of animals and human subjects and domestic travel expenses directly related to the conduct of the research project. Funds may not be requested to support the salaries of collaborators from other colleges or institutions.
  • Although it is anticipated that principal investigators would generally not request more than 5 percent effort on a Bridge Grant project, applicants are reminded that the committed effort must be appropriate for the scope of the project and the work to be performed by the principal investigator.
  • The PI of each Bridge Grant award will be required to submit detailed progress reports and related information to the Office of the Vice Dean for Research and Graduate Studies.
Review and Selection Process Expand answer
  • Applications for Bridge Grants will be evaluated by a Scientific Review Committee (SRC), who will consider:
    • Scientific merit of the project as indicated by the original application, the external review, and the proposed experimentation.
    • Likelihood that the proposed aims will be completed within 12 months with the requested funding and significantly strengthen a new application to an external sponsor.
    • Potential for the proposed Bridge Grant to enhance the competitive position of the previously unfunded application and maintain the momentum of a previously funded project during the review of the new external application.
  • The assigned reviewers will develop written recommendations that will be returned to the PI at the conclusion of the review process.
  • Funding recommendations for Bridge Grants will be developed by the Vice Dean for Research and Graduate Studies in consultation with the Director of Research Development.
  • Priority will be given to proposals that:
    • Are recommended as most highly meritorious by the SRC.
    • Support the acquisition of preliminary data that will strengthen larger external proposals which will further strengthen the research environment at the College of Medicine (R01 or R21).
    • Are submitted by tenured or tenure-track investigators who do not currently have substantial external funding and/or recent internal grant awards.
Evaluation Process for Funded Bridge Grants Expand answer

Primary investigators will be required to submit a comprehensive Final Report after project completion. No-cost extensions will not be allowed.

In addition, primary investigators of funded Bridge Grants will be expected to serve on the College of Medicine Scientific Review Committee upon request.

Questions regarding the eligibility of a proposal for submission in response to this Announcement, the application process, or any issues related to the review process should be directed to Research Development (717-531-6949 or

Previous Awardees Expand answer

Previous recipients of funding from College of Medicine bridge grants are listed here.

For Details

Questions on this award should be directed to Research Development at 717-531-6949 or

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