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Grad studies dean says bridge funding helps research aid gap

David Ash, vice president for Research and dean of Graduate Studies, wants to implement new programs that will help fund faculty research.

As Central Michigan University grapples with a $20 million budget deficit, the College of Graduate Studies has calculated and planned for cuts anywhere from 6 to 12 percent, said Ash, who has worked at the university since 2005.

Ash said employing ways to support faculty research is key.

Faculty members who have research grants go through the process of renewing them, and sometimes they do not get renewed on time, Ash said.

A bridge fund would allow faculty to continue research during the funding hiatus that sometimes occurs with grants. This gap in funding can be upwards of nine to 10 months when using research grants, Ash said. It will help those faculty members continue their research with the hopes of being refunded.

“Their momentum will be slowed to some extent, but it allows them to continue making progress,” Ash said.

Ash previously worked at the Temple University School of Medicine for nearly 22 years. Temple University has a similar bridge funding program, Ash said.

At one point, Ash lost his research funding for several months, but by using bridge funding, he was able to receive enough money to keep his team together and continue his research.

As CMU faculty search for more external funding, Ash said there will be a need for bridge funding in the future.

One form of internal funding available to faculty are the faculty research and creative endeavors awards, which can total up to $1,000, Ash said.

Funding of this sort could support things such as travel for research.

Ash served in the interim role for his current position during the last year and a half. In February, he was appointed to the full-time position, and said he is enjoying his job so far

He also wants to increase the frequency of grant writing workshops to help faculty hone their proposal writing skills. There will be speakers coming to CMU, as well as the opportunity for faculty to travel to those workshops.