When funding runs out, bridge funding is often needed to see academics through their projects and to support their labs. But since it seems like there's never enough money to go around, the Pondering Blather blog's Odyssey has some suggestions to weed out the "deadwood." The current rule at Odyssey's institution is that to qualify for bridge funding, you have to be "actively trying to regain funding," but he thinks it's time to quantify "actively." One suggestion is that recipients of bridge funding have to have submitted at least two proposals in the last 12 months. But Odyssey thinks it should be at least three proposals in the last six months. "I don't see this as too onerous a burden for someone with a viable research program," he says. Odyssey would also take a look at recent publication records. "These are hard times," he says. "If it comes down to bridge funding the hopeless or keeping one (or more) of out very competent staff ... I know which way I'd vote."
At his blog, DrugMonkey also looks at bridge funding as an investment strategy: "Your mini-state Department of -ology might be smartest to invest the internal funds in that laboratory that has a chance of regaining extramural funds in short order."