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Researchers could reap rewards of new incentive program

Principal investigators, colleges and institutes affiliated with the FAU Research Park could benefit from a pilot incentive program to offer extra financial incentives beginning Jan 1.

The incentive program is designed to give a salary supplement to full-time faculty members who are principal investigators or co-principle investigators, part of externally funded research projects and whose base salary is paid from the education and general funds.

“This incentive plan will serve as a reward for faculty who work hard to bring in research dollars and to encourage others to participate in competing for extramural support for research projects” said Michael Moriarty, creator of the incentive program.

Moriarty, the interim vice president for research, said he used a similar plan at the University of Nebraska Medical Center that started in 1983 and ended following his departure in 1988.

“The program was well-received by faculty and administrators at the institution and resulted in increases in sponsored research awards and research expenditures,” he said.

The incentive program works by using state funds that are freed up by the salary dollars included in a grant or contract.

For a faculty member to receive the supplemental funding through the incentive program, the grant or contract must have funds specifically budgeted for a portion of his or her salary. The incentive program will cover a maximum of 25 percent of the faculty member’s base salary.

For example, if a faculty member receives $25,000 a year in salary supplement through a grant or contract, he or she subsequently would receive up to $6,250 from freed-up state funds, which can be used in two ways.

The first option is designed to “buy out” part of the teaching or research assignments, using the salary dollars from the grant to replace the state funds.

“This would allow for more time teaching for the professor, and they can use the extra salary money to hire an adjunct to teach their class” said Giselle Galoustian, director of communications for the FAU Division of Research.

The second option follows the same idea as above, except the instructor can now use the extra funds toward research.

Participation in the program is voluntary. However, the decision to participate in the incentive program must be approved by the faculty member's department chair and dean, while the final approval must come from the provost.

“We just recently announced this program to our faculty university-wide and have received several inquiries, as well as expressions of interest. The program won’t be implemented until January, so we will have a better idea of participation and interest early next year,” Moriarty said.

The program is to run until Dec 31, 2011, when it will be reassessed to determine whether to extend, modify, or terminate it.

Faculty members seeking more information about obtaining funding for research and developing a grant proposal, should contact the proposal and contract administrator from sponsored programs in the Division of Research assigned to their specific college.

Faculty members also can talk their specific college’s associate dean for research or representative on the Division of Research’s Research Council.




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