Funding Opportunities

  • NIH Funding
  • Other funding
  • VU Bridge Program

    Vanderbilt Basic Sciences Program for Resources to Bridge or Re-align Federal Research Grant Application

    This program supports two types of investments for assisting primary VBS faculty with lapses in federal grant support. Funds for these programs are provided directly by VBS leadership to Departments and Centers through Internal Designated Centers or IDC (formerly APS).

    Bridge and Realignment funds are awarded three times a year in the months of February, June and October. Submission deadlines are January 15, May 15, and September 15.  Proposals are submitted directly to the Assistant Dean for Research (selene.colonATvanderbiltDOTedu) as a single pdf file.

    1. Resources for Federal Grant Bridge Funding for Competitive Renewal Applications

    Since 2005, this program has been in place to directly help faculty sustain their research programs when competitive federal grant renewals are unfunded. Supporting our investigators is a top priority in order to:

    • Provide the resources necessary to secure data for resubmission of a competing renewal application.
    • Minimize the need to terminate project personnel during the grant lapse.

    Eligibility and Support Summary – Please contact the Associate Dean for Research (Chuck Sanders) in the VU SOM Dean of Basic Sciences office if you need additional information.

    1) Applicant must be the Principal Investigator (PI) on an NIH award for which a competing renewal application was submitted in a timely manner. R01, R35, RF1, and P01 series awards are eligible.

    2) A Bridge grant is designed to provide 9 months of project support.

    3) The maximum budget of a Bridge grant is three-quarters of the total direct cost (TDC) in the final year of funding of the grant for which competitive renewal is sought. An expansion of the Bridge budget beyond this level will not be supported.

    4) If part of the final-year-of-funding grant budget included a sub-contract to another institution (including VUMC), the funds proposed in support of that sub-contract should be subtracted (following proration to 9 months) from the budget request.

    5) If there were funds budgeted to purchase major equipment/instrumentation in the final year budget, the funds proposed for the purchase should be subtracted (following proration to 9 months) from the budget request.

    6) Support for personnel based in non-Basic Sciences Vanderbilt schools or colleges is not supported by this program.

    7) Except in cases where support of collaborating Basic Sciences faculty and members of collaborating labs were already included as supported personnel on this project during its final year of (completed) funding, their support on the proposed Bridge grant will be considered only if their participation is required to generate needed preliminary data in support of renewal.  These personnel will be supported with Bridge funds only if very clear and convincing justification is provided in the Bridge proposal that their involvement during the Bridge period is essential for the collection of preliminary data in support the NIH proposal.  In any case, expansion of the total devoted personnel effort going from what was supported in the final year of the funded phase of this grant (pro-rated to 9 month) during the Bridge phase will not be supported.

    8) If the PI has unrestricted funds they must be declared in the Bridge funding proposal. Any unrestricted funding in excess of $40,000 must be subtracted from the Bridge grant budget.  If there are “no cost extension” funds remaining at the end of the final year of funding for the grant for which Bridge support is requested, these funds must also be subtracted from the total Bridge budget request.

    9) The request for funding must be received within 9 months after the date on which the PI received the summary sheets from the grant review.

    10) The PI is expected to resubmit the A1 proposal for the next appropriate application cycle although this can be moved back one cycle if additional time is required to address study section comments.

    11) Applications for concurrent Bridge Funding support are allowed for a 2nd grant, although 2 proposals from a single PI will not be considered during the same application cycle. If multiple grants for a single PI are simultaneously Bridge-supported, the level of support for the 2nd grant will generally be reduced. Concurrent bridge funding is not available for a 3rd or more grant from a single PI.

    12) A second bridge proposal will not be considered if the A1 renewal resubmission associated with a first Bridge award for that project is not successful.  The same is the case following a failed A1 application when the PI seeks to fund the project again as a new grant.  However, if there was no Bridge grant between the A0 and A1 submission, a Bridge grant can be considered if the PI plans to try again with the same project, but in the form of a new A0 submission.

    13) Only personnel listed in the unfunded A0 renewal application will be covered by Bridge Funds you will receive. No new personnel are allowed.

    14) A bridge grant application for an R35 (MIRA) award will be considered if the not-funded proposal was a competitive renewal application for an R35 grant.  In the case of a new R35 that is designed to take the place of one or more R01 grants, the Bridge proposal will be considered if one of those R01 grants reached the end of its funding cycle (not including any period of  no-cost extension) within the past 18 months of the Bridge submission deadline.  In such cases, the proposed Bridge budget should be based on 9 months proration of the final year of the most recently-ended R01 and cannot be the sum of multiple R01 grants, whether they have run out or not.  Also, if one or more of the R01 grants related to the as-yet-not-funded R35 is under consideration by NIH at the time the R35 Bridge application is submitted, this should be spelled out in the Bridge proposal and the expected review date (or review outcome, if available) should be given.

    15) Final decisions regarding Bridge Funding are made by the VBS Bridge Program Committee composed of the Vice Dean, the Assistant Dean for Research, and Department Chairs of VBS.

    16) All faculty receiving Bridge Funds must complete a VICTR Studio for their bridged project.  Studios consist of 2 – 6 experienced faculty selected to participate in a guidance session based on specific areas of research and needs identified by the investigator. Bridge Funds will be released contingent upon scheduling the Studio session. Please to the following site to schedule:

    Submitting A Bridge Funding Request

    Faculty apply for Bridge Funding by downloading and completing the BRIDGE GRANT TEMPLATE.  Following completion of the application, this document should be converted into a PDF file and submitted to the VBS Assistant Dean for Research (currently Selene Colon). Bridge funding requests require the signatures of both the applicant faculty member and their departmental chair.

    1. Resources for Federal Grant Realignment for New Research Proposal Submission

    This program is intended to help faculty transition their research program when they elect to not submit a competitive renewal for an NIH grant or fail to renew a grant. Support is only available for a one-time maximum $50,000 allocation.

    Eligibility and Support Summary – Please contact the VBS Assistant Dean for Research in the VU SOM Dean of Sciences office for detailed guidance

    1) Applicant must be the Principal Investigator (PI) on an NIH R01, R35, RF1, or P01 award for which they have elected to not submit a competitive renewal, either prior to submitting their A0 or after receiving A0 or A1 reviews.

    2) The PI should have no other unrestricted resources available in excess of $40,000.  Unrestricted funds in excess of $40,000 will be deducted form the $50,000 realignment award.

    3) The request for funding and all information must be received between: three months before the first available unpursued competitive renewal proposal deadline and 6 months after the deadline. 

    4) The one-time allocation of $50,000 will be made no earlier than at the end of the original grant funding period.

    5) The NIH proposal that is submitted as the direct outcome of realignment funding is regarded as a new proposal, not a competing proposal.  It is therefore not eligible for Bridge support if they are not funded.

    6) Applications for concurrent bridge and realignment funding support can be considered for different grants by the same PI, but not in the same round of applications.  Bridge and re-alignment funding is not available when a PI already has two such active awards.

    7) A realignment funding proposal may be submitted for a grant that received Bridge support, but for which the final renewal attempt was not successful.

    8) Final decisions regarding re-alignment funding will be made by Bridge Program Committee.

    9) All faculty receiving Realignment Funds must complete a VICTR Studio for their realigned project. Studios consist of 2 – 6 experienced faculty selected to participate in a guidance session based on specific areas of research and needs identified by the investigator. Realignment Funds will be released contingent only upon scheduling the Studio session. Please click here for an overview of the Studio program and for scheduling information.

    Submitting a Realignment Request

    Faculty apply for Realignment Funding by downloading and completing the REALIGNMENT GRANT TEMPLATE.  Following completion of the application, this document should be converted into a PDF file and submitted to the VBS Assistant Dean for Research (currently Selene Colon).  Realignment requests require the signatures of both the applicant faculty member and their departmental chair.

Funding protocols

  • Grant Administration

    The Dean's office would like to help facilitate the writing process. Although the PI is responsible for providing the research specific part of these grant applications, most also require extensive information about the institution, training and educational support, diversity initiatives, and outcomes. Our office has compiled boilerplate text about the institution and resources below. As always, please provide ample turnaround time to ensure timely completion if you request letters. Please use the linked documents as is or in a modified form in your applications.

  • Letter of Support Request

    When submitting proposals for grant funding or award nominations, most require including a letter of support from the institution. The Office of the Dean for the School of Medicine Basic Sciences recognizes this. To promptly provide these letters of support, please use the link below to complete a RedCap survey to ensure the forwarding of your request to the correct person. We ask that this survey be submitted four weeks before the submission deadline to provide ample time for revisions and proper forwarding. Requests for letters of support that ask for specific financial, space, or other material resource commitments from the institution should be submitted at least 30 days before the preferred grant submission date.

    Please provide as much information about the funding mechanism or award as possible. Including your most recent CV is required, and a draft letter for use as a template is greatly encouraged.


    School of Medicine Basic Sciences Letter of Support Request Survey


    Templates and Style Guide:

    Template documents are available for use in preparing your draft letter of support. They are offered as guidance, not rules. Also, VU and VUMC have adopted a Style Guide. It provides useful tips, such as language for how to refer to each entity (VU and VUMC) when writing drafts.

    S10 Example Letter of Support (PDF)
    Style Guide (PDF)


  • Grant Studios

    Studios are structured, dynamic sessions that combine relevant research experts in a particular methodology to focus on a specific research goal. Studios are intended to enhance research quality, improve funding success, increase publications, and generate new hypotheses.

    Studio Types:

    • Hypothesis Generation Studio (assist investigators with generating clear, concise, meaningful, and innovative research questions and hypotheses) 
    • Design Studio (assist investigators with developing improved research protocols to address specific research hypotheses) 
    • Specific Aims Studio (a critical review of the Specific Aims to provide a solid foundation for the investigator to develop a robust research proposal) 
    • Grant Review Studio (a critical review of the research strategy and overall grantsmanship to enhance the chance of funding) 
    • Manuscript Studio (a critical review of the draft manuscript to improve the chance for publication) 
    • and more…


    To request a Studio, submit a VICTR Resource Request; Click here for step-by-step guidance on completing the VRR. Please note that they typically need at least 3-4 weeks notice to schedule a Studio. You must log in to StarBRITE with your VUMC VUNET ID (Dual Identity).

    For additional questions, please contact: Lesa Black, Studio Manager - or 615-343-1899

  • Grant Closeout Guidance

    Closeout of an award is the process by which NIH determines that the recipient and NIH have completed all applicable administrative actions and all required work of an award. It is the Principal Investigator's (PI) 's, along with the grant administrator's and the Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA) Office's responsibility to complete the closeout of a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement. The guidelines established by the agency are specific to the award, and you must follow them as appropriate. It may be necessary to work with the Office of Contracts and Grants Accounting (OCGA) and the SPA Awards Management Team for verification and/or submission of required reports.


    NIH Closeout Report Requirements:


    Preparation for closeout should begin three months before the award's end date to forecast expenses accurately and to make any necessary adjustments to new entries. This time allowance also provides an opportunity to determine the necessity of a no cost extension. (See "No Cost Extension Guidelines" for further assistance.) If a no-cost extension is not needed, the award should be closed out per the sponsor's guidelines, and you should submit all relevant closeout reports no later than 120 days after the project end date. The required items' submission guidelines are in the Notice of Award Agreement. Failure to submit timely and accurate final reports may affect future funding to the organization and/or awards with the same PD/PI. Contact the SPA Award Management Team for additional assistance.


    We welcome your feedback and suggestions. Please send any comments to Selene Colon in the Office of the Vice Dean.

  • A quick guide to equipment purchases on an NIH research grant

    A Quick Guide to Equipment Purchases on an NIH Research Grant

    By Chuck Sanders and Robert Dortch

    If you need to purchase capital equipment-currently defined by Vanderbilt University as equipment that costs $5,000 or more-from R01, R35, R21 or other types of NIH grants, there are three ways to do it:

    When you apply for a non-modular grant that is more than $250,000 in direct costs per year you can include the equipment as a line item in an applicable year in the budget of the proposal. If you are applying for a modular grant (increments of $25,000) and you are applying for less than the maximum of $250,000/year (whether it be $225,000/year or $200,000/year), you can request an additional module of $25,000 in the particular year you plan to purchase the equipment (e.g., you could have a budget of $250,000 in Year 1 but a budget of $225,000 in Years 2-5). In the modular budget justification, you would clarify that the additional $25,000 module is for a specific piece of equipment. When your grant is funded, the direct funds for that award period will be available for the equipment purchase without any added approvals or re-budgeting required.
    Even if you did not include equipment as a line item in a grant's budget, you can still spend funds on equipment as long as there is a year or more remaining before the grant ends. To do this you must notify the grants administrators in your pod and provide them with a quotation for the equipment you wish to purchase and a breakdown of the sources of the funds that will be used to pay for it. They will draft an internal letter requesting the re-budgeting of direct and indirect funds from one or more of your grants toward equipment. You will be asked to sign that letter and return it to your pod administrators. As part of this re-budgeting, the indirect costs that are associated with the funds being transferred into the equipment category get converted into direct costs for your grant. This means that for every $1 you spend on equipment on an NIH grant (direct costs), a percentage of the cost equal to the facilities and administrative rate (indirect costs) is converted to direct costs. For example, at the current 58.50% Vanderbilt F&A rate, for every $1 you spend on equipment, 63 cents come from direct cost and 37 cents come from indirect costs.
    The NIH periodically makes available applications for Equipment Supplements, which are usually announced in the NIH Guide (you can subscribe here). These supplement applications allow for an award of additional funds to an existing NIH award that you can apply toward the purchase of equipment not included in the original application. Those funds, if awarded, are restricted to that specific purchase and cannot be re-budgeted for other uses.
    Equipment purchase should be proportioned between grant and institutional resources based on the anticipated usage of the equipment for each project. Note that some other agencies/sponsors may have their own unique approval processes for capital equipment purchases.

  • DMS Policy Guidance


    Bethesda, Maryland 09/12/2020: View of the main historical building (Building 1) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) inside Bethesda campus. U.S. Public Health Service seal is seen on top of it

    The new NIH DMS policy will apply to all research grant proposals (and the resulting funded projects) submitted starting January 25, 2023. Existing NIH grants (as of late 2022) will not require DMS plans or compliance with the new policy until they come up for competitive renewal on or after January 25. Then DMS plans will need to be included in both new and competitive renewal proposals and complied with if the proposal after funded. This policy applies only to research grants, not training, fellowships, infrastructure, or instrument grants.

    The policy dictates how data generated using support from these grants must be managed and shared. "Data" is defined in the new policy as "Recorded factual material commonly accepted in the scientific community as of sufficient quality to validate and replicate research findings, regardless of whether the data are used to support scholarly publications." The NIH definition excludes "data not necessary (or of sufficient quality) to validate and replicate research findings," laboratory notebooks, preliminary analyses, and physical objects.

    The critical points of this policy that are likely to impact scientists working in the School of Medicine Basic Sciences are:

    • All new and competing grant proposals must include a plan based on the NIH DMS form template. You can access the current version here.
    • Compliance with the plan will need to be reported by the PI in the annual required progress reports to NIH (RPPRs).
    • PIs must deposit all data and associated metadata into a paper and/or one or more publicly accessible repositories that comply with the "F.A.I.R." principle (findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable). NIH provides examples of repositories on its website.
    • At the end of a grant cycle (two to five years for most NIH research grants), the PI must deposit all unpublished scientific data generated during that cycle in a publicly-accessible repository.
    • Revising an existing DMS plan during competitive renewal or mid-way through an active award is possible.
    • You can request funds to cover the cost of executing your DMS plan in your grant application. Your budget may cover the costs of curating data, developing supporting documentation, handling metadata, formatting for a repository, and preserving/sharing data through repositories.

    You can find additional information regarding DMS policies on the NIH DMS website, including special guidance regarding handling clinical and proprietary research data.

    VBS DMS Policy Guidance Webinar

    DMS Policy Webinar Slides

    NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy Guidance Webinar Slides


    Vanderbilt Office of Research Integrity and Compliance - recommendations for the new NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy

    DMPTool - A free, open-source, online resource to help create data management plans.

    NIH Sample Data Management Plans - Example DMPs including clinical, human, and non-human genetics and secondary use plans.

    Data Management and Sharing Plan Checklist for Researchers - The NIH DMSP Guidance Working Group created a checklist to help researchers with the six required elements in the NIH policy.

    NIH-supported Scientific Data Repositories - A NIH-provided list of repositories and guidance on selecting a data repository.

    NIH Allowable Costs for Data Management and Sharing - Details on the types of data-related budgeting you can include in the budget justification of grant applications.

    NNLM Research Data Management On-Demand Classes - Learn research data management in classes you can take at your own pace. Explore open science, data curation and documentation, data sharing and publishing, and more.

    NIH DMS Plan and Policy Data Terms - A Guide created by the NIH DMSP Guidance Working Group to the terminology used in the NIH DMSP.

    Creative Data Solutions (CDS) - CDS, a Vanderbilt Shared Resource Core, can assist with data annotation, structured and unstructured data deposition, open source code, FAIR, and more.

    BioVU NIH Repository Data Sharing Guide - A guide with instructions and sample language to include in Data Management in Sharing plans.

    Generalist Repository Comparison Chart

  • Grant Ready Text and Templates

    Most grant applications require extensive information about the institution, training and educational support, and shared resources. The Dean's office has compiled text and links to institutional resources, which are available below. Click on the links below to access text and supporting documents. Please use the linked documents as is or in a modified form in your applications.


    NIH Grant TemplatesResource and Leadership plan templates with example language you can use when writing NIH grants.
    Data Management and Sharing Policy GuidanceBasic Sciences and institutional specific guidance for the new NIH-Data Management and Sharing Plan policy.
    School of Medicine Basic Sciences Core FacilitiesList of the School of Medicine Basic Sciences Cores and Shared Resources with links to websites, equipment/resource lists, and boilerplate language for grant writing.
    Vanderbilt University Research Development and SupportInstitutional boilerplate language, guides, and resources to assist in the grant writing process.
    Biomedical Research Education and Training (BRET)Boilerplate language and supporting documents for use in the creation of training grants and fellowships
    VBS Institutional Information - NIHInstitutional boilerplate information about Basic Sciences for use in NIH and NIH-type grant proposals.
    VBS Institutional Information - FoundationsInstitutional boilerplate information about Basic Sciences for use in Foundation and other non-NIH grant proposals.
    Vanderbilt University Medical Center Research Core FacilitiesComprehensive List of VUMC research cores and shared resources (must reach out to each core for boilerplate language)
    VU Core Facilities (including non-VBS Cores)Comprehensive list of VU research cores and shared resources (must reach out to each non-VBS core for boilerplate language)