Changes to the Medical Research Foundation and OHSU Presidential Bridge Funding grant programs


Are you applying to the MRF? Are you wondering what happened to MRF and OHSU Presidential Bridge Funding? How you apply to these grant programs is slightly different now. Instead of separate applications, you will use OHSU Funding Internal Research, an OHSU-wide program that coordinates internal and quasi-internal funding opportunities and is run by OHSU Research Development. Submit your proposal through the Competitive Application Portal (CAP).

Participating funding agencies retain full autonomy over their funding mechanisms and awardees, but the application and review processes are centralized and harmonized. For example, in the past, faculty have had as many as six separate deadlines, applications, and requirements for emergency interim support. This approach reduces burden on applicants and reviewers. It’s based on a similar program at UCSF.

There are 3 cycles per year:

  • August 15
  • December 15
  • April 15

For the first cycle, the August 15, 2019 deadline, the participating funding agencies are OHSU Presidential Bridge Funding and the Medical Research Foundation. Applications for the Circle of Giving will be added for the December 15 deadline. Others will be added over time.

Applicant instructions are simple:

  • Find the appropriate funding mechanism—for example, Emergency Interim Support/Bridge Funding
  • Write the proposal for your chosen mechanism, with any grant-specific instructions
  • Submit the proposal through the Competitive Application Portal (CAP)

Reviews are performed by a new OHSU Scientific Review Committee, chaired by Robert Duvoisin, Ph.D. Reviewers will include faculty outside OHSU as well as OHSU faculty and will be recruited based on scientific expertise.

The new program does not replace the MRF; rather, it streamlines the application and review process for OHSU faculty. Faculty outside of OHSU are, as always, warmly encouraged to apply. All current MRF programs are still offered, though there are some changes:

  • MRF applications will go from four to three cycles per year.
  • Emergency funding from MRF will increase to $50,000
  • MRF New Investigator awards will increase to $50,000
  • MRF Early Clinical Investigator awards will increase to $30,000
  • Administration of the MRF programs will move from the OHSU Foundation to the purview of the Chief Research Officer at OHSU.
  • Faculty outside OHSU will apply to MRF programs through the CAP by creating a free account (instructions are on the portal). OHSU faculty will use single-sign on to access CAP with their OHSU network credentials.

OHSU Presidential Bridge Funding will see the following changes:

  • Applications will go from two to three cycles per year (that is, they will be the same as the above deadlines) and be reviewed alongside MRF emergency support requests. The overall amount of funding ($500K) will remain the same.


Can I apply for both MRF emergency and Presidential Bridge Funding?
Yes. You will have an opportunity to create a budget that includes a justification for why the additional funds are needed, so it’s theoretically possible to be awarded up to $100K (only for OHSU faculty). Budgets will be reviewed in a separate process, and you may not be awarded the full amount you have requested (as before).

Wait, will OHSU be giving emergency funding to faculty outside the institution?
No. Only OHSU faculty are eligible to receive Presidential Bridge Funding. Faculty outside OHSU who request emergency support would receive funds only through the MRF.

How are funding decisions made?
Initially, the new review committee will evaluate MRF and bridge funding applications and make recommendations to the MRF Committee as well as the Chief Research Officer (for OHSU Bridge Funding), who will then make final funding decisions about their respective programs.  As more funding agencies join the program, we will have an additional funding decision meeting for each cycle to determine awardees and levels of funding. Also some agencies have different requirements and will participate only in the scientific review.

Why are we making this change?
Currently, OHSU faculty are asked to apply for or review a substantial number of internal funding opportunities every year. By streamlining this process, we hope that people can spend more time doing their research instead of applying for funding for it. This paper describes a similar program at UCSF, including a detailed description of the funding decisions process we hope to achieve.

I have a pilot funding pool from NIH. Must I participate in this program?
No, participation is completely voluntary.

I have a pilot funding pool too: can I get in on this gig?
Yes! Write us at and we can discuss!