Bridge funds are University of California (UC) funds that are used to temporarily cover funding requirements under certain conditions. UC authorizes Berkeley Lab to use these funds to cover sponsored research, including non-DOE funded costs including Strategic Partnership Projects (SPP), Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs), DOE Integrated Contractors (IC) and Proprietary Users project costs under certain conditions.
Bridge funding does not serve as a substitute for appropriate cash and funding management. It does allow for the start or continuation of research due to various sponsor timing issues.
Agreements with sponsors that may represent a risk of becoming uncollectible are not candidates for bridge funding.
Who Should Read This Policy
All employees with financial responsibilities who use, manage, or report on bridge funding at Berkeley Lab.
This policy defines the guidelines for the appropriate application and use of bridge funding to cover sponsored research costs, including non-DOE funded costs including Strategic Partnership Projects (SPP), Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs), DOE Integrated Contractors (IC) and Proprietary Users project at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).
B. Persons Affected
All employees with financial responsibilities who use, manage, or report on bridge funding at Berkeley Lab.
D. Policy Statement
Bridge funding refers to limited University of California (UC) funds that are used to temporarily cover funding requirements under certain conditions. UC authorizes Berkeley Lab to use these funds to cover non-DOE funded costs, including SPP, CRADA, DOE IC, and Proprietary Users project costs when:
There is assurance from the federal or Department of Energy (DOE) integrated contractor sponsor that additional funding is forthcoming on a continuing award (cannot be used for new awards).
A nonfederal sponsor has not yet provided advance funding and it is in the best interest of Berkeley Lab to advance the funds to begin or continue an award.
A nonfederal award is awaiting monthly or scheduled invoice payments.
A nonfederal award has unexpected accelerated spending.
Executing interlocation appointments (ILAs), which UC pays in arrears.
Bridge funding is not intended to serve as a substitute for appropriate cash and funding management. However, it does allow for the start or continuation of research due to various sponsor timing issues. Agreements with sponsors that may represent a risk of becoming uncollectible are not candidates for bridge funding.
This policy limits requests to less than $250,000, which may be used for no more than 90 days. Requests that exceed these limits require additional approvals. Further, if additional time and/or funds are needed, a new request is required. Due to unique scientific and financial reporting requirements, bridge funding requests are not required for agreements under the UC Office of the President (UCOP) Special Research Program pertaining to the final 20% advance withhold. See UCOP Special Research Programs for more information.
The use of UC funds does not relieve Berkeley Lab of its responsibility to comply with all other DOE requirements for sponsored work. Any uncollectible receivables resulting from bridge funding activity are ultimately the liability of UC. However, if requested bridge funding is not reimbursed, it is the responsibility of the division director (of the requesting division) to propose appropriate alternate non-DOE sources of divisional funding for review (e.g., gifts) before use of Berkeley Lab UC contingency funding is considered. Uncollectible amounts that cannot be appropriately funded from divisional funding sources will be charged to the UC contract fee.
Sponsor Criteria: A bridge funding request may be submitted for other federal agencies, state and local governments, public or private entities, and DOE integrated contractors.
Federal Entities and DOE Integrated Contractors: For federal entities and DOE integrated contactors, bridge funding may only be used to continue an award when there is assurance from the sponsor that additional funding is forthcoming. It may not be used for a new award (research) that has not been previously funded by the same sponsor.
Nonfederal Entities: For nonfederal entities, bridge funding may be used to cover short-term advance requirements for new or continuing awards. For a new award, a written reimbursable agreement, as defined in DOE Order 481.1, must be accepted prior to the allocation of bridge funds. For a continuing award, bridge funding may be used when there is assurance from the sponsor that additional funding is forthcoming.
The Lab Contracts Officer (CO) will base approval on funds availability, institutional risk, and institutional need. As bridge funds are limited and may not be available in a particular month, costs should not be incurred until approved bridge funding is in place. Bridge funding requests should be:
For the minimum amount needed to begin and/or maintain the project.
Submitted through the Electronic System for Research Administration (eSRA) in advance of the need or spending. Include the risk assessment form and sponsor payment history (if applicable). If the bridge request is to allow work on a new or continuing award, a copy of advance invoice is also required.
The Lab CO will review the request for contractual concerns and, if appropriate, approve.
The Bridge Funding Request will then be routed to the Reimbursable Group Analyst (RGA) for review, at which time the risk assessment and payment history will be reviewed and evaluated. The risk assessment will be evaluated using a scoring system of 1-4 (1-Low, 2-Low/Med, 3-Med, and 4-High). Key factors used in the assessment include sponsor payment history, the award's current available cash balance, the amount of the request, the length/duration of the bridge request, the number of outstanding invoices, and average collection days specific to the sponsor. For high-risk requests, additional approvals from the division director may be required at the discretion of the Budget Office.
For continuing awards, the bridge funding request must include written confirmation from the sponsor's CO or authorized administrative official confirming the intent to continue the research project and reimburse Berkeley Lab for costs incurred while on bridge funding.
For new sponsors, additional analysis may be required, up to and including the division's responsibility to obtain a Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS) report. Consult directly with the Budget Office prior to submitting the bridge funding request to confirm requirements.
In addition to the standard approvals, any bridge funding request exceeding $250,000 or for a period greater than 90 days is an exception to policy and must be approved by the Reimbursable Group (RG) Manager or the Chief Technology Transfer Officer. Additionally, an incremental monthly spending forecast must be provided by the requestor and accompany the request.
Additional processing time is required for requests that exceed the $250,000 or 90-day thresholds.
Bridge funding will expire on the specified end date or when the sponsor's funding has been received, whichever is sooner. If additional time and/or funds are needed, a new request is required. Before bridge funds are allocated, the request must include the approvals as diagrammed below:
Bridge funding process high-level flowchart (Click on image to enlarge, or to download JPEG file.)
E. Roles and Responsibilities
Managers, supervisors, and employees have the responsibility to adhere to the provisions of this policy.
Resource Analyst (RA)
Initiates Bridge Funding (BF) Request in eSRA, including completing a risk assessment and attaching all required documentation. The request must include a copy of the signed contract/amendment, the risk assessment form, and the sponsor payment history (if applicable). Additionally, BF requests for new or continuing awards must also include a copy of advance invoice. Continuously monitors the routing of the BF request to ensure it reaches the Budget Office. BF requests should be submitted and approved prior to need or spending.
Principal Investigator (PI)
Provides approval in eSRA for the BF Request in order for the request to be routed to the division director for approval. Approval signifies that it is crucial for work to begin or continue on the project, prior to the receipt of funding, and/or there is no other method to deal with funding interruptions and agreement to comply with all bridge funding control requirements.
Division Director (or designate — limited to Deputy Division Director or Business Manager)
Provides approval in eSRA for the BF Request in order for the request to be routed to the CO after performing risk analysis. Approval signifies acknowledgement, that it is in the best interest of Berkeley Lab to assume the risk, and that any unallowable or uncollected costs from default will be funded out of appropriate alternative divisional funds. Uncollectible amounts that cannot be funded from divisional funding sources will be charged to the UC contract fee.
Reviews request for compliance with bridge funding and contracts policies and provides approval. Ensures all project-specific institutional compliance items have been secured. (i.e., IRB, informed consent, NEPA/CEQA, HARC, etc.)
Chief Technology Transfer Officer (nonfederal) or Reimbursable Group Manager (federal)
Reviews requests that are over $250,000 and/or longer than 90 days, or other uses of bridge funds that may be an exception to the policy. Provides approval if the request is within permissible risk limits based on risk assessment.
Reimbursable Group Analyst (RGA)
Reviews and ensures that the requester provides all required supporting documentation. If the request is approved, provides approval in eSRA.
Chief Financial Officer (or designate)
Approves release of bridge funding. Assuming that all other DOE and UC requirements have been met (Human Subjects approval, NEPA/CEQA); the CFO approval, eSRA will change the project status to "Open on Bridge."
DOE Integrated Contractor
A contractor who has a management and operating (M&O) contract that uses DOE funds to finance its operations under a cost-type contract; maintains a separate set of accounts and records for the recording and reporting costs on the contract are maintained in accordance with DOE accounting practices and procedures, and whose accounts, maintained for operations under the contract, are integrated with those of DOE.
Any entity that is part of the federal government
A written agreement to perform work or provide a service for another federal agency or non-federal customer
A Principal Investigator or designated Resource Analyst
Electronic System for Research Administration (eSRA)
Berkeley Lab's electronic proposal and award management system
The performance of work for non-DOE entities by DOE/contractor personnel and/or the utilization of DOE facilities that are not directly funded by DOE appropriations.
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