NIAID R56-Bridge Award SOP

This standard operating procedure (SOP) includes the following sections: Purpose, Procedure, Contacts, and Links.

Some links will work for NIAID staff only.


To provide one year of funding for investigators whose high-priority R01 applications score beyond the payline.


NIAID staff members nominate programmatically important R01 applications that missed the payline for High-Priority, Short-Term Project Awar​ds (R56), called R56-Bridge awards. Investigators cannot apply for these awards.

After program officers recommend candidates, directors of each program division rank the nominees, limiting the number of awards to funds available, and present the nominations to the NIAID Office of the Director for approval. Each division reports its R56-Bridge awards at the NIAID pre-Council meeting.

In choosing applications, NIAID considers a project's relevance to our mission, scientific merit, and ability to produce results within one year. It also gives some special consideration to new investigators.

The following awards are ineligible for an R56-Bridge:

  • Grant mechanisms other than the R01
  • Projects that have previously received an R56
  • Not discussed applications
  • New clinical trials and epidemiological studies
  • Most R01 applications in response to requests for applications and program announcements with set-aside funds
  • End-of-year applications that need an institutional assurance of protection for human subjects or animal welfare
  • End-of-year applications that have human subject or animal welfare bars to award
  • Foreign grants. Domestic grants with foreign components are also ineligible unless they can stand on their own without the foreign component

R56-Bridge awards always receive one year of funding.

When NIAID funds a resubmitted R01, it terminates the R56-Bridge award. Principal investigators may carry over any R56-Bridge funds remaining from the previous fiscal year after submitting their final Federal Financial Report. Note, carryover is not possible if no resubmissions remain on a particular grant’s serial number.

Most often, NIAID funds R56-Bridge awards at study section-recommended dollars and follows its financial management plan at the time of award. See Paylines and Funding for details.

As with any grant, NIAID may reduce an R56-Bridge award from a study section-recommended level if recommended by the program officer. As noted above, domestic grants may not include foreign components. Any funding to support foreign components will also be removed from the budget of an R56-Bridge award.

Every year, divisions report their R56-Bridge awards to Council.

Applicants and PIs

  • If you are approved for funding, your grants management specialist will request just-in-time information, which your institutional business official should submit through the eRA Commons. Your program officer and grants management specialist will contact you if additional documentation is needed.
  • If NIAID recommends you for an R56-Bridge award that is reduced by at least two modules or 25 percent from the study section-recommended level, you may request adjustments to the Specific Aims. To do this:
    • Inform your program officer how this level would change the scope of your application and how you will use the funds.
    • Send revised Specific Aims, a timeline, and a budget to your program officer and grants management specialist for review and approval. We must approve those documents before we can make an award.
  • After you receive an R56-Bridge award, submit an improved R01 using data resulting from the R56 award.
    • You must submit either a resubmission (by revising your R01) or a new R01 application.
    • Do not submit a renewal R01.
  • The R56 counts as other support if the R01 is fundable.
  • You may carry over funds from the R56 to the R01, if the R01 is awarded as a resubmission. A new R01 application will not allow for carryover.

Program Officers

  • Recommend applicants and grantees for R56-Bridge funding using the NIAID Planning and Reporting System (NPARS).
  • Justify the R56-Bridge on one of the following bases:
    • PI will obtain new data to support the feasibility of the research.
    • PI will delete objectives or revise approaches to research.
    • For more information on justifying an R56-Bridge award, read the Council Guidance.
  • Present R56-Bridge candidates for discussion at the NIAID pre-Council meeting.
  • For grants to be funded at less than the study section-recommended level, email the following documentation to your grants management specialist:
    • Scientific justification.
    • Revised Specific Aims, timeline, and budget from your PI (only if a program funding reduction is 25 percent or greater than the study section-recommended level).

Grants Management Staff

  • Before funding, inform the PI of the documentation he or she needs to submit if budget cuts are greater than two modules or 25 percent.
  • For renewals, apply the renewal cap of 20 percent more than the direct cost of the last noncompeting grant year plus equipment and alterations and renovations.
  • Remove any foreign subawards included in the original R01 application. Request revised Specific Aims if applicable.

GMP staff can see the GMP Bridge Awards (R56) High-Priority, Short-Term Project Awards SOP.


Applicants with questions should read Contacting Program Officers and Grants Management Specialists.

Staff Only Contact

Use the contacts listed above for questions about your specific situation. If you have a general question or a suggestion to improve this page, email the Office of Knowledge and Educational Resources at


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