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The Health Research Bridging Salary Scheme will provide short-term bridging salary support for early career researchers working in health-related areas who rely on external funding for their salary.

The Health Research Bridging Salary Scheme will provide funding to extend by up to 6 months the contracts of researchers working in health-related areas on fixed term or open-ended externally-funded contracts while they seek external funding. Eligible researchers must either be working within any department of the Medical Sciences Division or must be conducting research within Wellcome’s remit of ‘discovery research that has the potential to improve human life, health and wellbeing’.

The Bridging Salary Scheme will fund up to 80% of the Total Employer Cost for 6 months’ of staff salary up to Grade 9.6 (or equivalent academic/clinical academic grade). Host Departments are asked to fund the remaining 20% of the staff member’s salary for the period to be bridged.

The priority for support are researchers who have applied/are preparing to apply for an external fellowship or grant, which includes at least two years’ of their own salary, and whose ability to complete projects, produce research outputs and submit applications has been hampered by the pandemic.

If sufficient budget is available, bridging awards may be made to post-doctoral researchers who are not yet independent but who are on a near-term career trajectory towards independence.

Applicants and departments must have a firm plan for ‘the other end of the bridge’, i.e. the external funding scheme from which the applicant’s salary will be paid at the end of the bridging period.

Eligible applicants must:

  1. Hold a contract of employment with the University of Oxford or one of the University's Colleges where the majority of their time is spent on research
  2. Hold a fixed term or open-ended externally-funded contract where funding is due to end on or before 30 September 2022
  3. Be no higher than Grade 09S Stage 6 (or the equivalent academic/clinical academic grade based on Total Employer Cost)
  4. Be awaiting the outcome of, or have firm plans to apply for, external funds to support their salary for at least two years after the end of the bridging period

AND must either be:

5.    Working within any department of the Medical Sciences Division

OR

6.    Working within any academic Department of the University or GLAM and conducting research within Wellcome’s remit of ‘discovery research that has the potential to improve human life, health and wellbeing’

Please read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section before submitting an application.

Researchers must submit an application in IRAMS for an award to bridge their own salary.

In addition to entering the information requested in the tabs in IRAMS, you must download and complete the Case For Support Template. This is available in IRAMS on the Case For Support tab as a Word document.

The Case For Support Template must be converted to PDF and uploaded to IRAMS as a single PDF, combined with:

  1. X5 Admin Output equalling the ‘Total Project Cost’ entered in IRAMS
  2. The applicant’s short CV (maximum two pages)
  3. Letter of support from the Head of Department or equivalent, including commitment of the 20% of the salary for period to be bridged, and a description of the longer-term funding plans for the individual

When completing the application tabs In IRAMS, in The Project tab please enter the:

  • Project Title as ‘Bridging Salary Award for (Applicant Name)’
  • Approving Unit as your Host Department or Unit that will be providing Departmental Approval for your application in IRAMS
  • Start date as the first day of the period to be bridged, i.e. the day after your contract ends
  • End date as the last day of the period to be bridged (must be no more than 6 months after the start date)

In the Financial Details tab:

  • Enter the application amount (80% of your salary for the bridging period) into the table Budget Requested From This Fund under Staff: Research Staff in Year 1.  
  • Enter the remaining 20% as a contribution from the Department/Faculty under Contributions From Other Sources.
  • Check that the Total Project Cost calculated by IRAMS equals the Price of six months’ of salary as shown on your X5 Admin Output.
  • Select the appropriate Type Of Grant Sought depending on if another source of salary support may be received during the bridging period. A bridging award can be either:
    1. ‘Underwriting’ (if you are awaiting the outcome of an external funding application that would start during the bridging period, and so may return some or all of the bridging award unspent), or
    2. ‘Outright’ (if your future external funding will not start until the end of the bridging period and so you are unlikely to return any of the bridging award unspent)

It is not necessary to name any Co-applicants or Form Editors, unless you wish other people to be copied into notifications about your application or to be able to edit your application.

This scheme is open to applications with a deadline of 12pm on Wednesday 16 June 2021. This is the deadline both for applicants to apply and for departments to give Departmental Approval. Applicants should ask their department if there is an earlier internal deadline for submission for departmental review.

This scheme is expected to have only one round of applications.

If you have any questions about the Bridging Salary Scheme, please check the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section first.

For questions about how to apply, please contact the Medical Sciences Division Fund Coordinator: research@medsci.ox.ac.uk.

For all other questions including eligibility, please contact the relevant Divisional Fund Coordinator for your Department:

I work in a department within the Medical Sciences Division – am I eligible to apply?

Yes you can apply for bridging salary support provided you fulfil the other eligibility criteria.

I work in a department within the Humanities, Social Sciences or MPLS Divisions – am I eligible to apply?

Yes you can apply for bridging salary support provided that you work within Wellcome’s remit of ‘discovery research that has the potential to improve human life, health and wellbeing’ and fulfil the other eligibility criteria. If you are not sure if your research field would be considered eligible, please contact your Divisional Fund Coordinator in the first instance.

I am a researcher hosted by the Gardens, Libraries or Museums (GLAM) rather than an academic department – am I eligible to apply?

Yes you can apply for bridging salary support provided that you work within Wellcome’s remit of ‘discovery research that has the potential to improve human life, health and wellbeing’ and fulfil the other eligibility criteria. If you are not sure if your research field would be considered eligible, please contact the Medical Sciences Division Fund Coordinator in the first instance.

Why are only researchers working within Wellcome’s remit or in the Medical Sciences Division eligible for bridging salary support?

The source of funding for bridging awards will likely include Wellcome Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF), the Medical Sciences Internal Fund, the John Fell Fund, and potentially other sources of biomedical research funding. Each funding source has its own eligibility criteria for funding and therefore only researchers who fulfil those criteria can be funded through the scheme.

I AM A Post-doctoral researcher - AM I ELIGIBLE TO APPLY?

The priority for support will be researchers who have applied/are preparing to apply for an external fellowship or grant, which includes at least two years’ of their own salary, and whose ability to complete projects, produce research outputs and submit applications has been hampered by the pandemic. If sufficient budget is available, bridging awards may be made to non-independent post-doctoral researchers who are on a near-term career trajectory towards independence.

I am Grade 10 or above (or equivalent) - am I eligible to apply?

Applications will be considered from applicants who are up to Grade 9.6 or equivalent. Members of staff with a contract for Grade 10.1 or above are not eligible for an award from this scheme.

I am a clinical academic – am I eligible to apply?

Yes clinical academics are eligible to apply for bridging salary support if the Total Employer Cost of their salary is less than or equal to Grade 9.6. Clinical academics with a part-time contract with the University for research can apply for 80% of the cost of their University-contracted time.

How much funding can I apply for?

You can apply for up to 80% of your salary for up to six months. The exact amount you can apply for will depend on your Grade, Spine Point and the Financial Year of the award 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 80% of your part-time salary for six months.

Can I apply for more than six months’ of salary support?

No, the maximum length of time to be bridged through this scheme is six months.

Can I apply for less than six months’ of salary support?

Yes, you can apply for salary support for any length of time 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, the Medical Sciences Internal Fund: Pump Priming scheme or the COVID-19 Rebuilding Research Momentum Fund.

Do I need to submit an X5 costing?

Your department’s Grants or Finance team should 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?

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 expect to apply for.

Must the future funding be external?

Typically the future funding source will be external, e.g. an externally funded fellowship. If the other end of the bridge will be an internal funding source, contact your Divisional Fund Coordinator to discuss the appropriateness of the funding source.

How long must the future funding cover my salary for?

The other end of the bridge should provide salary for at least two years after the bridging period. Shorter periods will be considered but priority may be given to applicants with longer-term funding plans.

What will the review process be for making awards?

Departments will be asked to rank their applications in order of priority at the time of submission. A Divisional Sub-Committee comprising academics, divisional administrators and EDI representatives will assess applicant eligibility and prioritise applications for funding. Each Division’s funding priorities will be discussed at a meeting of the Main Committee in July 2021 and applicants will be notified of outcomes after the meeting.

When will I hear if my application is successful?

The Bridging Scheme administrators aim to notify applicants of the outcome of their application by 23 July 2021.

When can my bridging award start?

It is expected that bridging awards funded from this scheme will start between 01 October 2021 and 01 October 2022. If you receive a bridging salary award but your current funding will end before 30 September 2021, your department can discuss interim support with the relevant Divisional Office.

What is the latest end date for a bridging award?

The latest possible end date for a bridging award is 31 March 2023. No extensions beyond this date will be possible.

Will I be able to apply for a costed or no-cost extension to my bridging award?

Costed extensions to awards will not be possible because the Committee intends to fully allocate the available budget in a single application round. No-cost extensions to awards may be possible if the applicant’s circumstances change, but the latest possible end date for a bridging award is 31 March 2023. Contact your Divisional Fund Coordinator to enquire in the first instance.

Do I need my Department’s support to apply?

Yes your department will need to provide you with an X5 costing, a letter of support and Departmental Approval for your application in IRAMS.

How much match funding do Departments need to provide?

A bridging award will cover 80% of the applicant’s salary for up to six months. Departments are asked to fund the remaining 20% of the staff member’s salary for the period to be bridged.

I work part-time; does my department still need to provide 20% match?

Yes, your department should provide 20% of the total cost of your salary for the period to be bridged, even if you work part-time.

Why do Departments need to provide match funding of 20%?

Departments are asked to provide 20% of the match funding so that the scheme can provide bridging salary to more researchers. Provision of 20% match funding on each award will allow the scheme to make at least an additional 8 awards across the University.

Do I need to seek approval through the Recruitment Freeze and Redeployment Protocol?

The process for seeking Protocol approval for contract extensions funded through this scheme is currently being finalised, and depends on your Division. Successful applicants from MSD departments will receive automatic approval from the MSD Recruitment freeze and Redeployment Protocol panel. Applicants from departments in the MPLS, Humanities or Social Sciences Divisions, or GLAM, may need to go through their normal Protocol approval process. 

How many awards will be made?

Depending on the application amounts, the budget is expected to fund approximately 40 bridging awards across the University.

If I receive a bridging award but ultimately don’t need to use all the money to bridge my salary, can I repurpose the award?

You cannot repurpose the award for non-salary research costs. It may be possible to repurpose the award to support the salary of other members of staff in the group or department, or the unspent award may be reclaimed to the central budget. You must contact your Divisional Fund Coordinator to discuss this in advance of any repurposing.

What are the funding sources for this Bridging Salary scheme?

The sources of funding for bridging awards made from this scheme are being finalised, but will likely include the Wellcome Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF), the Medical Sciences Internal Fund, the John Fell Fund, and potentially other sources.