Some academic departments have internal sources of funding to keep the research programs of their faculty limping along if the PI experiences a gap in extramural funding. This is great. It can be a bit of an issue, however, trying to decide who deserves the (most) money.
One way to look at that is 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.
Odyssey has a few thoughts in Bridges to Nowhere:
Many, including myself, would like to see "actively" and "recent" quantified. The current popular suggestion is that recipients need to have submitted at least two proposals in the last twelve months. I don't think that's enough. I would make it at least three in the last six months. I'm not necessarily talking about NIH R01-level proposals here. Pretty much anything that would help keep a lab going should count. I don't see this as too onerous a burden for someone with a viable research program.
Go read and comment.