Issue Date: April 26, 2021
Submission Due Date: June 7, 2021 by 11:59 ET
Award Selection Notification: By October 29, 2021
Period of Performance: 1 year
Amount of Award: Up to $100,000 per award

The AASM Foundation is committed to developing the careers of sleep and circadian investigators by increasing support for sleep researchers. To meet this goal, the AASM Foundation has established research career development awards (CDA) to assist sleep researchers at various stages of their career.

The Bridge to Success for Early Career Investigators is an AASM Foundation CDA designed to provide ‘bridge’ funding to promising early career sleep and circadian scientists who have applied for a career development award such as a K-award grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a CDA from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), or an equivalent career development grant from another federal or non-federal funding agency, but whose application was not within the funding range. Through this award, the AASM Foundation aims to assist investigators at a critical juncture in their career where bridge funding can determine whether a promising sleep and circadian scientist stays in the sleep field or moves to a different career track. The funding provides support during the period of time needed for revision and resubmission of a promising application in response to reviewer critiques.

The Bridge to Success Award for Early Career Investigators provides funds for one year and can be for up to $100,000 per award (includes direct and indirect costs). There are no restrictions on the distribution of expenses, however, indirect costs are capped at 8%. The award is a contract between the AASM Foundation and the awardee’s institution. A sample contract is available here.

The following individuals are eligible to apply:

  • Individuals with the following education and training are eligible to apply:
    • Sleep scientists (MD, DO, DDS, DMD, DNP, DNSc, PharmD, PhD, or equivalent) who have applied for a multi-year career development award from the NIH, VA or another awarding body in the field of sleep or circadian science within the past two years that was scored in the peer-review process but fell below (or is likely to fall below) the funding agency’s pay line.
  • Individuals must identify a research mentor with the skills, knowledge and resources to provide mentorship to the applicant in sleep and circadian research.
  • Individuals may apply for multiple AASM Foundation awards however, the same proposal (i.e. projects with budgetary and scientific overlap) may not be submitted for multiple requests for applications in a given cycle.
  • Individuals who are the Principal Investigator on an open or previous AASM Foundation research award at the time of the application deadline are eligible to apply if:
    • The open or previous award is NOT a Bridge to Success Award for Mid-Career/Senior Investigators or Strategic Research Award – Category I.
    • They can demonstrate that there is no budgetary or scientific overlap between their open award and the new project they are applying for funding. If there is budgetary and/or scientific overlap between projects, the applicant must indicate their plan to close their open award in the event their new application is selected for funding (e.g. relinquish the current award or complete the current award to start the new award).
  • The unfunded application, summary statement and priority score (if available) reflecting that their application is unlikely to receive funding and a revision will be necessary, and reviewer critiques must be provided with the application.
  • Individuals who receive funding through the Bridge to Success mechanism must plan to resubmit their unfunded application within one year of receipt of initial funding from the AASM Foundation, and this timeline must be included within the application.
  • Since these grants are intended as bridge support, if the NIH/VA or equivalent award is received, the principal investigator must notify the AASM Foundation and the following would apply:
    • If external funds are received prior to distribution of AASM Foundation funds, AASM Foundation funds would not be released, and the award would be closed out with the AASM Foundation.
    • If external funds are received after distribution of AASM Foundation funds, the principal investigator would be permitted to submit updated documents (i.e., a new budget, justification and project timeline) and would be allowed to retain the funds if the award recipient can provide evidence for non-overlap.
  • International individuals who meet all the eligibility criteria are eligible to apply; however, payment of award funds must be accepted by the institution in US dollars.

The following individuals are not eligible to apply:

  • Individuals who have received independent research funding of more than $150,000 are not eligible to apply. This does not apply to post-doctoral/ fellowship level training grants primarily covering the applicant’s salary (e.g. NRSAs).
  • Individuals who have a financial conflict of interest or have the potential to incur significant financial benefit from the proposed work and beyond the work itself are not eligible to apply.
  • Individuals who are seeking funding from AASM Foundation research awards to support ongoing projects that are currently funded by another awarding body or supplement ongoing work (e.g. enrolling additional subjects into an ongoing trial) are not eligible to apply.

Note: The principal investigator will be required to make a statement to this effect prior to execution of the contract.

An award review committee, appointed by the AASM Foundation Executive Committee, will evaluate and score all submitted applications. Factors that will be taken into consideration include:

  1. Significance: Significance of planned research in addressing important questions related to sleep, sleep disorders or sleep health.
  2. Experience and Appropriateness of Mentors: Plan for mentorship will facilitate applicant’s success and key personnel are well-suited for the project.
  3. Career Development Activities and Goals: Planned research and mentorship will fill gaps in applicant’s knowledge, skillset, and abilities.
  4. Approach: Planned research (overall strategy, methodology, and analyses) is scientifically sound, plan addresses protection of human subjects from research risks and inclusion/exclusion of individuals justified (if applicable).
  5. Environment: Institutional support and availability of equipment and other physical resources for the planned research.
  6. Appropriateness: A clear and feasible plan on how the Bridge to Success Award will facilitate the resubmission of a competitive application, what will be achieved with the Bridge funds and how it will enhance the applicant’s career trajectory.

Only materials submitted within the application will be used in the evaluation of applications. The AASM Foundation Executive Committee will submit funding recommendations to the AASM Foundation Board of Directors based on the Award Review Committee scores. The AASM Foundation Board of Directors will make the final funding decisions.

Payment #1 – Upon execution of contract 90%
Payment #2 – Upon receipt and approval of Final Report 10%

If unique circumstances are explained in the budget justification of the applicant’s proposal, the Board of Directors will consider requests for an alternate payment schedule, with a maximum variance of 10%.

Note: Once awarded, reallocation of funds of <10% do not require approval.

The AASM Foundation intends the Bridge to Success Award for Early Career Investigators to provide funding for sleep and circadian researchers who have applied for a career development award that will not be funded and plan to submit a revised application in response to reviewer critiques. In addition, the AASM Foundation expects that the research and training planned during the Bridge to Success Award for Early Career Investigators period will facilitate the applicant’s career development in academic sleep medicine and sleep and circadian research.

Applicants are expected to address the specific aims as described in the application. Major modification of the proposed aims requires AASM Foundation Board of Directors or Executive Committee approval.

The expected results and deliverables should be clearly stated in the application. The applicant must submit progress and final reports during the project period, describing project activities and results, as outlined below. Failure to meet the deliverables or submit progress or final reports may result in termination of project funding.

Progress Reports Every six months
Final Report Within 90 days of award completion

Outcomes evaluation is an essential component of this award. All proposals must identify the goals and appropriate outcomes measures of the research. The outcomes should align with the goals and objectives stated in the applicant’s proposal for this award. The AASM Foundation intends that the research funded by this award will lead to the publication of original research in peer-reviewed journals.

If using human or animal subjects, the applicant will be responsible for obtaining Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Institutional Animal Care and use Committee (IACUC) approval. The IRB or IACUC letter of approval for the specified project must be on file with the AASM Foundation office prior to the execution of the contract. No funds will be released for the project without receipt of written approval by an IRB or IACUC. Failure to obtain IRB or IACUC approval will result in retraction of the award.

We encourage potential applicants to contact us early in the application process with questions. Eligibility questions may need to be reviewed by a member of the AASM Foundation Executive Committee, so please allow for at least a 1-week response time for eligibility questions. For all other inquiries, please allow a minimum of two business days for a response. Please note that questions received within 48 hours of an application deadline may not be answered before the deadline.