As a means of encouraging active participation in competing for extramural support for research projects, the School of Medicine of the University of Pittsburgh (the "University") has developed guidelines for a research incentive plan (the "Plan") for full-time faculty in the School of Medicine. The Plan permits, within limits under the Plan, a choice between a salary supplement or the establishment of research incentive funds (such supplement or funds referred to hereinafter as an "incentive") to eligible full-time faculty members who are principal investigators under a competitive research grant or contract awarded from outside funding sources and who have earned a right to the incentive in accordance with the terms of the Plan (each a "Participant"). The Plan is not a contract and is subject to change, with or without notice, at the University’s sole discretion.
The University has developed these guidelines for the administration of the Plan. The rules set forth here are universal to all of the departments or major institutes or centers, (hereinafter "Department(s)") within the School of Medicine.
- Participation is limited to full-time faculty with primary appointments in the School of Medicine who have been awarded a competitive research grant or contract from outside funding sources.
- The award must designate the University of Pittsburgh as the awardee organization and must be assigned to one of the departments, or major institutes, in the School of Medicine to be eligible. Awards processed through other schools of the University, or organizations affiliated with the University, do not qualify.
- Grants for which salary is voluntarily cost shared are not eligible to be included in the incentive calculation. A Participant who has secured a grant must match their percent of University salary on the grant with the percent effort on the grant to be eligible for the research incentive (unless the sponsor has mandated such cost sharing). Salary supported by such grants (i.e., voluntary cost sharing) does count towards the required grant salary support of $50,000 and the percentage of grant salary support as outlined in Section 5 below.
- For purposes of calculating the Participant’s grant salary support and percentage of grant salary support, the Participant’s Institutional Base Salary (University base salary plus administrative supplement) will be used as the "salary" in the guidelines set forth in Section 5.
- Except as otherwise set forth in this Section 5, a Participant who meets the eligibility requirements as outlined in the Plan will earn an incentive calculated in accordance with the guidelines set forth in this Section 5. Within the period specified herein, the Participant may elect to receive the incentive as either an annual direct incentive payment, or choose to retain the funds in a research incentive fund (also, sometimes known as a restricted account for research expenses). In either case, the election must be irrevocable when made and must be made in writing to the department chair and delivered prior to the first day of the applicable fiscal/plan year (i.e. July 1st). An election will remain in effect for the entire fiscal/plan year. Prior to the commencement of each subsequent fiscal/plan year, a new written election, irrevocable for the following fiscal/plan year, must be submitted or the default method of payment will be an annual direct incentive payment.
In order to allow for necessary recordkeeping and accounting reconciliation and reporting, a Participant shall not have any earned, or vested, interest in an incentive (neither salary supplement nor research incentive funds) until the sixtieth (60th) day after the start of the fiscal/plan year (i.e. August 29th). Participants must be actively working full-time for the University on this date (the "earned date") in order to be eligible for an incentive under the Plan. Moreover, a Participant shall never have any earned or vested interest in research incentive funds which shall remain subject to use only for eligible research expenses, and no part thereof shall be paid or converted to salary or other reimbursement to a Participant.
For Participants who have elected to receive a direct incentive payment, that payment shall be included with their October pay. For Participants who have elected to receive an allocation of research incentive funds, that allocation shall be made and an account funded by October 31.
Eligibility Requirements and Incentive Calculation:
- Participants who have at least $50,000 of grant salary support and:
- at least 75% of their University annual salary charged to research grants in the fiscal year are eligible for a 10% research incentive, or
- at least 70% but less than 75% of their University annual salary charged to research grants in the fiscal year are eligible for a 5% research incentive, or
- at least 60% but less than 70% of their University annual salary charged to research grants in the fiscal year are eligible for a 2% research incentive.
- The above grant salary percentage requirements should be calculated using the applicable NIH salary cap for those participants who have a University salary that exceeds the NIH salary cap.
- The amount of indirect cost recovery that will be used as the basis for the incentive calculation is defined as 90% of the gross indirect cost recovery generated by the applicable grants as recorded in the university general ledger for the applicable fiscal year.
- All salary charged to any School of Medicine grant account is counted towards the Participant’s required $50,000 of grant salary support as well as the percentage of grant salary support.
- Only grants with indirect cost rates of 30% or more qualify to be counted in the indirect cost recovery amount used in the actual incentive calculation. The sole exception to this requirement are K awards for individual faculty, which typically have F&A rates of 8%. The F&A generated by these grants may be included in the calculation of the research incentive without the application of the 90% ratio specified above in this Section 5.
- Grants with voluntary cost sharing do count towards the $50,000 of required grant salary support and the percentage of grant salary support, however, indirect cost recovery generated by those grants are not included in the incentive calculation.
- Participants who have been awarded institutional research training and education grants (e.g. T awards, R-25 grants, K-12’s, and similar) will receive an incentive equal to 30% of the indirect cost recovery generated by those training grants. Institutional training grants do not include Career-type awards to individual faculty (i.e., many types of “K awards”). This payment is not subject to the minimum salary on grants requirement, nor to the percentage of salary on grants requirement, nor to the application of the 90% multiple on the indirect cost recovery generated by the training grants. Any payments under this provision are subject to the total research incentive cap.
- Incentives are limited to a $60,000 cap annually per Participant. When more than one Participant has been awarded a single grant, the incentive supplement will be paid or allocated to each Participant in accordance with an agreed upon proportion of the incentive, subject to the eligibility requirements outlined above. In such instance, the Participants may make differing elections as to the type of incentive and need not all make the same type of election. In all cases, there will be signed agreements by the parties regarding the allocation of the incentive. The agreement must be approved in advance by the respective department chair (or, in the case of multiple departments, the Dean) prior to the submission of the application for the grant or contract. If there are any unresolved disputes concerning the allocation of incentives awarded under the Plan, the department chair shall adjudicate the dispute. If disputes arise between departments, the Dean will have sole discretion to adjudicate the dispute .
All incentives will be paid (or, in the case of research incentive funds, managed) through the Participant's primary department. Organizational units responsible for funding the incentives will pay the incentive amount to the faculty member's primary department, including any fringe benefit amount.
Incentive plans for department chairs and institute and center directors will be individually negotiated, and may or may not include a research incentive. If any individually-negotiated research incentive is included, a cap will be specified, but will be no higher than $60,000, and the terms for earning and payment of such incentives shall be consistent with those guidelines outlined above.
A Participant involved in a program project grant (PO1 or similar grants) will share in the incentive as appropriate to their separately budgeted project. In these cases, the terms for earning and payment of such incentive shall be consistent with the guidelines outlined above. If there is more than one Participant involved in a designated project, the share attributed to the project will be allocated according to an agreed upon proportion as described in Section 5 above.
While it is desirable for all departments to participate in the Plan, a department may apply to opt out of the Plan if the department finances are such that the Chair believes the department cannot afford to participate in the Plan. A department cannot, however, have a different research incentive plan. This Plan is intended to be the standard research incentive plan for the University. The approval of the Dean is required for a department not to participate in the Plan. This election and any approval must occur before the start of the fiscal/plan year during which the department is opting out of the Plan.
In certain cases of departmental financial hardship, departments may request funding on a temporary basis to support the department’s participation in the Plan. The Dean will consider such requests on a case by case basis.
Any exceptions to these guidelines must be approved by the Chair of the Department and the Dean of the School of Medicine; provided, however, there shall be no exceptions to those portions of Section 5 above relating to earning (vesting) and payment of incentives. In no event shall an exception be approved to the requirement that Participants must be actively working for the University as of the earned date in order to be eligible for a distribution or allocation under the Plan.