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DO I HAVE TO APPLY FOR MY OWN SALARY? CAN SOMEONE ELSE APPLY FOR ME?

Applicants to the Bridging Salary Scheme must apply for their own salary. It is hoped that this will give some early career applicants the opportunity to hold their first grant in their own name.

CAN SEVERAL PEOPLE’S SALARIES BE INCLUDED ON ONE APPLICATION? CAN A PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR SUBMIT A SINGLE APPLICATION FOR SEVERAL MEMBERS OF THEIR GROUP WHO ALL NEED SALARY BRIDGING?

No each application submitted in IRAMS must be for a single member of staff. The applicant on each application must be the person whose salary is to be bridged. 

I WORK IN A DEPARTMENT WITHIN THE HUMANITIES, SOCIAL SCIENCES OR MPLS DIVISIONS OR IN A COLLEGE OR IN GLAM – AM I ELIGIBLE TO APPLY?

No you are not eligible to apply because the funding sources for this scheme are restricted to supporting medical research.

WHY ARE ONLY RESEARCHERS WORKING IN THE MEDICAL SCIENCES DIVISION ELIGIBLE FOR BRIDGING SALARY SUPPORT?

The source of funding for bridging awards are the Medical Research Fund which funds medical research, and the EPA Cephalosporin Fund which funds biomedical research. Each funding source has its own eligibility criteria for funding and therefore only researchers who fulfil those criteria can be funded through the bridging scheme. Researchers working outside the Medical Sciences Division are not eligible.

I AM A POST-DOCTORAL RESEARCHER - AM I ELIGIBLE TO APPLY?

Yes post-doctoral researchers who are on fixed term or open-ended externally funded contracts are eligible to apply if they are employed at a grade below 8.10.

I AM GRADE 9 OR ABOVE (OR EQUIVALENT) - AM I ELIGIBLE TO APPLY?

No you are not eligible to apply. Applications will be considered from applicants who are up to Grade 8.10 or equivalent. Members of staff with a contract for Grade 9.1 or above are not eligible for an award from this scheme.

I AM A CLINICAL ACADEMIC – AM I ELIGIBLE TO APPLY?

Yes clinical academics holding contracts for both research and clinical time are eligible to apply for bridging salary support if the Total Employer Cost of their salary is less than or equal to Grade 8.10. Clinical academics can only apply for the cost of their University-contracted time for research.

I AM A Dphil student receiving a stipend – AM I ELIGIBLE TO APPLY?

Current DPhil students looking for bridging salary to their first post-doctoral position are not eligible to apply. The fund is only open to current employees of the University holding a Chancellors, Masters and Scholars (CMS) contract of employment with the University of Oxford, with an affiliation with a Department within the Medical Sciences Division, where the majority of their time is spent on research.

I am a member of research staff but i don't have a Phd/DPhil – AM I ELIGIBLE TO APPLY?

Research staff (e.g. Research Assistants) who do not have a PhD/DPhil but who have a CMS contract of employment with the University where the majority of their time is spent on research are eligible to apply.

I AM A DPHIL STUDENT AND ALSO A SALARIED EMPLOYEE – AM I ELIGIBLE TO APPLY?

DPhil students who are also employees of the University holding a Chancellors, Masters and Scholars (CMS) contract of employment may be eligible to apply. Please contact the Fund Coordinators to discuss your case.

HOW MUCH FUNDING CAN I APPLY FOR?

In the first round of the scheme you can apply for up to 100% of your salary for up to six months. The exact amount you can apply for will depend on your Grade, Spine Point and the dates of the bridging period to allow for annual increments. You must ask your Departmental Grants or Finance team for an X5 costing to confirm how much you should apply for.

I WORK PART-TIME – CAN I APPLY FOR A LONGER PERIOD OF BRIDGING SALARY UP TO THE EQUIVALENT COST OF 1.0 FTE?

No, you can only apply for your regular part-time salary for up to six months.

CAN I APPLY FOR MORE OR LESS THAN SIX MONTHS’ OF SALARY SUPPORT?

The maximum length of time that can be bridged through this scheme is six months. If you need less than six months of salary support you should apply for the length of time that you need up to a maximum of six months.

CAN I APPLY FOR COSTS OTHER THAN MY OWN SALARY?

No, this scheme will only provide salary. For other research costs you could consider applying to the John Fell Fund or the Medical Sciences Internal Fund: Pump Priming scheme.

I AM AN EMPLOYEE BASED OVERSEAS - CAN I APPLY FOR MY OVERSEAS ALLOWANCE AS WELL AS MY SALARY?

If you are based at one of the University's overseas units you can apply to the Scheme for your salary plus your overseas allowance for the bridging period.

DO I NEED TO SUBMIT AN X5 COSTING?

Your department’s Grants or Finance team must calculate the application amount using X5. Please submit a PDF of the X5 Admin Output with your application. 

DO I NEED TO HAVE FUTURE FUNDING IN PLACE BEFORE APPLYING?

There should be a firm plan in place for the ‘other end of the bridge’. The application must include details of the scheme, application status, application deadline and expected start date of the award(s) that you have applied/expect to apply for that will cover your salary after the bridging period.

MUST THE FUTURE FUNDING BE EXTERNAL?

Typically the future funding source will be external, e.g. an externally funded project grant or fellowship. If the other end of the bridge will be an internal funding source, contact the Fund Coordinators before submitting your application to discuss your eligibility.

HOW LONG MUST THE FUTURE FUNDING COVER MY SALARY FOR?

The other end of the bridge should provide your salary for at least two years after the end of the bridging period.

HOW WILL APPLICATIONS BE SELECTED FOR FUNDING?

After any candidates for priority funding have been identified, all remaining applicants will be entered into a randomised selection process. This random allocation will be done using the random number generator in Microsoft Excel which uses the Mersenne Twister algorithm (MT19937). Each application will be assigned an integer number and then the formula =INT(RAND()*(b-a)+a) will return a random integer number between a and b, where a is 1 and b is the number of applications +1.

This random allocation will be conducted and witnessed by at least two members of the MSD Research Strategy and Funding Team, and the process and results for each round will be documented.

WHY ARE THE SUCCESSFUL APPLICANTS BEING SELECTED AT RANDOM?

MSD have decided to select the applications for funding at random as the demand for the scheme is expected to be greater than the available budget. MSD considered asking a panel to conduct a detailed review of applications and select candidates, but it was agreed that it would not be fair or reasonable for a panel to select one candidate over another based on, e.g. the strategic importance or impact of their research, the quality of their written application, or strength of the letter of support from their line manager.

The randomisation process and its outputs will be monitored regularly throughout the pilot phase.

WHEN WILL I HEAR IF MY APPLICATION IS SUCCESSFUL?

The Bridging Scheme administrators aim to notify applicants of the outcome of their application within 4 – 6 weeks of each call deadline.

WHEN CAN MY BRIDGING AWARD START?

Bridging awards can start from six weeks after the application deadline. If your current source of external funding will end within six weeks of the application deadline, please contact the Fund Coordinators for advice on the feasibility of starting the bridging award sooner (if your application is successful).

WILL I BE ABLE TO APPLY FOR A COSTED OR NO-COST EXTENSION TO MY BRIDGING AWARD?

Requests for costed extensions to awards beyond 6 months’ duration will not be granted. Requests to extend an award that was initially shorter than 6 months up to 6 months' duration will be considered if budget is available.

No-cost extensions to awards and/or deferment of the start of the award may be possible if your circumstances change. Contact the Fund Coordinators to enquire in the first instance.

DO I NEED MY LINE MANAGER’S/DEPARTMENT’S SUPPORT TO APPLY?

Yes you will need a letter of support from your line manager and your department must provide you with an X5 costing and Departmental Approval for your application in IRAMS.

HOW MANY AWARDS WILL BE MADE?

Depending on the application amounts, the budget for Year 1 of the Bridging Salary Scheme (2024) is expected to fund approximately 16 – 20 awards in total (4-5 awards per round).

IF I RECEIVE A BRIDGING AWARD BUT ULTIMATELY DON’T NEED TO USE THE MONEY TO BRIDGE MY SALARY, CAN I REPURPOSE THE AWARD?

You cannot repurpose the award for non-salary research costs or for another member of staff’s salary costs. Any unused budget will be reclaimed to the central budget for reallocation to another researcher in MSD.

WHAT ARE THE FUNDING SOURCES FOR THIS BRIDGING SALARY SCHEME?

The sources of funding for bridging awards made from this scheme are the Medical Research Fund and the EPA Cephalosporin Fund.

WHO WILL BE PRIORITISED FOR BRIDGING SALARY SUPPORT?

Applicants may be prioritised for funding if they have taken a period of any type of leave for caring responsibilities where they have been away from work for at least 6 calendar months and have returned to work within 12 months of the bridging application deadline.

In cases of shared parental leave there may be gaps in the period of caring leave where the applicant was back at work, provided that the applicant has taken a cumulative period of at least 6 months’ of caring leave and has returned to work within 12 months of the bridging application deadline.

It is the Scheme’s intention to fund as a priority people who have been away from work, i.e. have not been working at all, for a period of at least 6 months. Researchers who work part-time or have been working intermittently due to caring responsibilities are not eligible to be considered for priority funding (except researchers who have taken shared parental leave as described above).

WHY ARE RETURNING CARERS BEING PRIORITISED FOR BRIDGING OVER OTHER RESEARCHERS?

There is evidence from peer reviewed research and from the University’s own experience of administering the Returning Carers Fund that there are specific impacts on research careers of taking leave for caring responsibilities. Specifically external funders may either not extend grants, or will award only a no-cost extension leading to a shortfall in salary, and/or researchers find themselves needing to apply for continuation funding having lost productive time relative to their peers who have not been away from work for caring responsibilities. These researchers are significantly disadvantaged when seeking further external funding after returning from a period of caring leave.

HOW MUCH MATCH FUNDING DO DEPARTMENTS NEED TO PROVIDE?

In the first round of the scheme (deadline 13 March 2024) Departments do not need to provide match funding. After this round Departments may be asked to provide 25% of the applicant’s salary for the bridging period (which may be waived in exceptional circumstances) with the Bridging Salary Scheme funding 75%.

WHY IS THE REQUIREMENT FOR DEPARTMENTAL MATCH FUNDING BEING WAIVED FOR THE FIRST ROUND?

The requirement for match funding is being waived across the whole Division for the first round of the scheme due to the current Division-wide restrictions on making new unbudgeted commitments. Departmental contributions will be required in the future (but will continue to be waived in exceptional circumstances) subject to ongoing review of Divisional finances.

WHY DO DEPARTMENTS NEED TO PROVIDE MATCH FUNDING OF 25%?

Departments are asked to provide 25% of the match funding (except in exceptional circumstances) so that the scheme can provide bridging salary to more researchers. Provision of 25% match funding on each award will allow the scheme to make 5-6 additional bridging awards to researchers per year (depending on value).

WHAT CONSTITUTES EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES THAT WILL BE GRANTED A WAIVER FOR THE DEPARTMENTAL MATCH FUNDING?

Exceptional circumstances will be judged by the Fund Coordinators and members of the senior leadership team in the Medical Sciences Division on a case by case basis. If the Department believes that they have exceptional circumstances meaning that they should be granted a waiver for the 25% match funding, a member of the Department’s grants/finance/admin team must contact the Fund Coordinators well before the deadline. They must describe the exceptional circumstances which mean that they cannot provide the 25% departmental contribution.

WHAT ARE THE LONGER TERM PLANS FOR THE BRIDGING SALARY SCHEME?

This is a pilot scheme which will run for 12 months (four rounds) in the first instance between January 2024 and December 2024. The processes and outputs of the scheme will be monitored regularly throughout the pilot. If the scheme as launched is found at any point to be unworkable or not to be capable of fulfilling its purpose, the Medical Sciences Division may revise or withdraw the scheme (before or after the end of the pilot) and reconsider the best way of supporting its researchers.

If the pilot scheme is agreed to be a success, further deadlines will be announced in 2025 subject to the Medical Sciences Division securing additional funding.

WILL AWARD HOLDERS HAVE TO COMPLETE ANY REPORTING?

Yes successful applicants to the MSD Bridging Salary Scheme will be required to submit a brief final report. They may be asked to describe, e.g. their activity during the bridging period and their current position and source of funding following the bridging award.