Director of Research

Bridge Salary Support

Bridge Salary Support, or Bridge Support, is provided to members of the Institution’s Scientific Staff when no other funding is available. Two sources of money are available. A limited amount of support—not to exceed 456 hours (3 months)—is provided from the laboratory overhead pool. These funds must be used for the development of new ideas leading to future funding. In the event that support beyond the three (3) months provided from overhead is needed, it may be provided from the Institution’s unrestricted funds.

Bridge support may be available for members of the Institution’s Technical Staff, but it is not guaranteed and is not available on a long-term basis.

The policies and procedures associated with overhead bridge support have been approved by the Institution’s cognizant federal government agency, the Office of Naval Research (ONR). Each year, an audit of the bridge support program is conducted by the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) for ONR.

What is Bridge Support?

Bridging funds are salary support provided to a Scientific Staff member when s/he is between funding. More simply stated, the scientist gets bridge support when s/he has no other funding available for his or her own salary support. WHOI has two sources for these funds: the laboratory overhead pool and the Institution’s unrestricted funds.

The laboratory overhead pool will provide up to 3 months (456 hours) of support for a single scientist. The total dollar amount of support available to all scientists in a single calendar year is established each year as part of our overhead rate negotiations with our cognizant federal government agency, ONR.

When either the pool of overhead bridge support is exhausted or an individual’s maximum amount of overhead bridge support is reached, Institution unrestricted funds may provide additional bridge support. These funds come from various non-government sources and are used by the Institution for a variety of research support activities including cost sharing, postdoc support, department discretionary funds, and covering sponsored project cost overruns.

What are the restrictions on bridge from overhead?

The uses of laboratory overhead funds are strictly controlled by written policies that have been approved by our cognizant federal government agency, ONR.

  • The scientist must have no other funding available.
  • In some research programs there are very time specific activities—such as a cruise or fieldwork, symposium, or collaborators' meeting—which will occur in the future and the funds for them must be retained until that time. In such cases, bridge support can be awarded for the period between the end of all other funds and the time of the specific activity.
  • The funds must be used for the development of new ideas leading to future funding and not to complete the objectives of a specific grant or contract, past or future.
  • Salary overruns on a grant or contract cannot be charged to bridge support from laboratory overhead.
  • Bridge support cannot be used in conjunction with other support. It is to fill the gap when no other support is available. It cannot be nor appear to be “mingled” with sponsored research funding on a timecard.
  • Under no circumstances can an individual charge more than 456 hours to laboratory overhead bridge support in a single calendar year.
Awarded bridge support from overhead must be used within five (5) consecutive calendar months from the first charge or before the end of the last pay period of the current calendar year, whichever occurs first. Any extension of the five month period of performance must be requested and justified in writing and cannot exceed the end of the last pay period of the current calendar year.

What are the allowable activities that may be charged to bridge from overhead?

Overhead bridge support is for the development of new ideas that will lead to future funding. Allowable activities include searching for funding sources, performing literature searches, developing new hypotheses and possible solutions, preparing materials, and other activities necessary to obtain funding. The actual writing of new proposals, however, is to be charged to Bid & Proposal (B&P).

What are the restrictions on bridge support from Institution funds?

The uses of laboratory overhead funds are strictly controlled by written policies that have been approved by our cognizant federal government agency, ONR.
• The scientist must have no other funding available.

  • In some research programs there are very time specific activities—such as a cruise or fieldwork, symposium, or collaborators' meeting—which will occur in the future and the funds for them must be retained until that time. In such cases, bridge support can be awarded for the period between the end of all other funds and the time of the specific activity.
  • The funds must be used for the development of new ideas leading to future funding and not to complete the objectives of a specific grant or contract, past or future.
  • Salary overruns on a grant or contract cannot be charged to bridge support from laboratory overhead.
  • Bridge support cannot be used in conjunction with other support. It is to fill the gap when no other support is available. It cannot be nor appear to be “mingled” with sponsored research funding on a timecard.
  • Under no circumstances can an individual charge more than 456 hours to laboratory overhead bridge support in a single calendar year.
Awarded bridge support from overhead must be used within five (5) consecutive calendar months from the first charge or before the end of the last pay period of the current calendar year, whichever occurs first. Any extension of the five month period of performance must be requested and justified in writing and cannot exceed the end of the last pay period of the current calendar year.

What are the allowable activities that may be charged to bridge from overhead?

Overhead bridge support is for the development of new ideas that will lead to future funding. Allowable activities include searching for funding sources, performing literature searches, developing new hypotheses and possible solutions, preparing materials, and other activities necessary to obtain funding. The actual writing of new proposals, however, is to be charged to Bid & Proposal (B&P).

Can members of the WHOI Technical Staff obtain bridge support?

Bridge support may be available for Technical Staff, but it is not guaranteed and is not available on a long-term basis. In addition to the other documentation required (see Procedures below), to obtain bridge support, the Technical Staff member and his/her supervisor must have a plan for obtaining funding or for making a career decision/transition that is approved by the Department Chair or Center Director. The Director of Research will have final approval for all bridge support requests for Technical Staff.

Research Associates, Information Systems Associates and Engineers can be awarded no more than three (3) months of bridge support during their time in position, except under very unusual circumstances.

Research Specialists, Information Systems Specialists, and Senior Engineers can be awarded no more than four (4) months of bridge support during their time in position, except under very unusual circumstances.

Senior Research Specialists, Senior Information Systems Specialists and Principal Engineers will be provided with bridge support when no other funding is available, but not on a long-term basis.

Last updated: August 3, 2007