Research Buyout Policy and Procedure

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Research Buyout Policy

Faculty with substantial external grant funds may buy out their EFT Research Time using funds from those grants. Grant funds will be used to pay the corresponding part of their salary; grant funds will also need to be budgeted for fringe benefits on the faculty member’s salary. Franklin College will return funds in an account to the faculty member doing this at a rate of 80% of the portion of the buyout amount that is transferable to the College. Franklin College will retain the remaining 20% to be used at the Dean's discretion to support research activities throughout the College. Additional conditions:

  • Faculty must determine that their grant funding agency allows purchase of academic year time.
  • Faculty must ascertain that the amount of their research EFT they wish to buy out will not cause any difficulties with UGA grant cost sharing formulas.
  • Any individuals hired on the returned funds must be told to consider this a soft money position, liable to be terminated when a grant expires or when the faculty member no longer wishes to continue buying out their EFT Research Time.

No change in the status of currently classified staff is required if a portion of their salary is paid from a returned research buyout account.

Example:

A faculty member with substantial external grant funds may wish to employ an administrative assistant to manage grant personnel, procurement, and scheduling. The granting agency often will not permit such individuals to be hired on grant direct costs.

Funds Expended From Grant:

  • $61,600 faculty salary research buyout charged to grant
  • $16,632 faculty fringe benefits @27% charged to grant
  • $78,232 cost of buyout to grant

Distribution of Funds under Buyout Policy:

  • $61,600 total available transferable to Franklin College
  • $12,320 20% to Dean's research support fund
  • $49,280 80% returned to faculty

Funding the Desired Administrative Assistant:

$49,280 returned to P.I., available for funding the assistant

Research Buyout Procedure

  1. Existing accounts already funded by a grant.

    • Mention to your Department Head that you will be making this request.
    • Send an email to the Associate Dean for your area, requesting the buyout, and including the proposed research buyout budget and the relevant account numbers.
    • The Associate Dean will inform the faculty if the request is approved.
    • If the buyout is approved, the Associate Dean will send the information to the Franklin College budget office to implement.
    • The Franklin College budget office will coordinate with the accountant or manager of the department involved to release the state funds for the salary, and prepare a budget amendment to transfer the funds to a departmental account. A copy of the budget amendment will be sent to the department with details noted in the remarks section.
    • The department accountant or manager then informs the faculty member of the availablility of the buyout account.
  2. Requesting as part of a research proposal or grant application.

    • Mention to your Department Head that you will be making this request.
    • Send an email to the Associate Dean for your area, requesting the buyout, and providing information about the proposal (title, total budget, funding agency).
    • The Associate Dean will inform the faculty if the request is approved.
    • The faculty then selects the appropriate checkbox on the transmittal form, indicating the date of the approval and the Associate Dean who approved it.
    • The faculty informs the Associate Dean when the grant is funded, and a UGA grant account is created, and re-confirms the requested buyout and budget.
    • The Associate Dean will send the information to the Franklin College budget office to implement.
    • The Franklin College budget office will coordinate with the accountant or manager of the department involved to release the state funds for the salary, and prepare a budget amendment to transfer the funds to a departmental account. A copy of the budget amendment will be sent to the department with details noted in the remarks section.
    • The department accountant or manager then informs the faculty member of the availablility of the buyout account.

Cost Share Associated with Salary Cap

Some faculty with NIH grant funding may have monthly salaries above the NIH salary cap. Typically this issue arises with summer salaries. If the faculty member requests 1 month academic year salary exchange / buyout, she/he would normally receive 80% of it back under the standard Franklin College research buyout policy, with the remaining 20% going to the Dean's research support fund.

  1. If a faculty member needs additional funds to cover salary over the NIH salary cap for a month where they are requesting funding by an NIH grant funding of their summer salary;
  2. if the faculty member also has requested an academic year research salary buyout, and will receive 80% of it back as described above;
  3. then Franklin College will return a portion of the 20% to the faculty member's home department to help cover the over-the-cap summer salary;
  4. Franklin College will keep whatever portion of the 20% is not needed for the over-the-cap salary portion and the full 20% is the maximum the College will contribute.

This mechanism will provide sufficient funds for all or most of the summer salary above the cap, provided the faculty member requests 1 month academic year salary exchange / buyout for each 1 month of summer salary to be covered by this policy. The use of this funding mechanism should be documented by both:

  1. uploading an explanatory document with budget to the Franklin College commitments transmittal page, which is one part of the OVPR proposal transmittal web pages;
  2. by creating an annual memorandum of understanding, with budget, to be approved by PI, Department Head, and Associate Dean, then transmitted to the Franklin College budget office.

FAQ

  • Why does my grant get charged fringe benefits on my academic year salary?
    When your academic year salary is paid by the state of Georgia, it covers the institutional share of fringe benefits. Once you move your salary to a restricted account, that account must pay the fringe. Hence a buyout costs your grant more than just your direct salary, and you must allow for this. See the example above.
  • How do I coordinate with grants whose start and end dates are not on the standard fiscal year?
    The accounts returned from a buyout will always be on a standard July to June fiscal year. Coordinating with your grant's year may require two separate buyout transactions. For example, if your grant starts on April 1, you should ask for one buyout to cover April 1 to June 30, and a second buyout to cover July 1 to March 31. These two transactions may both be requested and approved at one time.