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Name: Faculty Research Incentive Program
Responsible Office: Office of Research

Applies to: (examples; Faculty,Staff, Students, etc)


Policy Overview:

Issued: 07-01-2018
Next Review Date: 10-19-2022
Frequency of Reviews: Annually

The purpose of the Faculty Research Incentive Program is to reward faculty for sustained externally funded productivity and scholarly activities. This program will stimulate scholarly activity associated with performing externally funded research in all units.

As a means of encouraging active participation in competing for extramural support for research projects, University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis (UHSP) has developed guidelines for an incentive program (the “Program”) for faculty.  The Program permits, within limits under the Program, a choice between a salary supplement or the establishment of a designated, discretionary research expense account to eligible principal investigators (PI) who have been awarded a competitive research grant or contract from outside funding sources and, according to the Program, who have earned a right to the funds.  The Program is not a contract and is subject to change, with or without notice, at the University’s sole discretion.

All full-time faculty who have secured extramural funds while maintaining their other scholarly responsibilities are eligible for the Program.




Full-Time Equivalent (FTE)

Full-time equivalent is a unit that indicates the workload of an employed person in a way that makes workloads comparable across various contexts. FTE is often used to measure a worker’s involvement in a project. An FTE of 1.0 is equivalent to a full-time worker, while an FTE of 0.5 signals half of a full work load.

Indirect (facilities & administrative (F&A)) costs

Indirect (F&A) costs means those costs incurred for the common or joint purpose benefitting more than one cost objective, and not readily assignable to the cost objectives specifically benefitted, without effort disproportionate to the results achieved.

Salary cap

A legislatively-mandated provision limiting the direct salary (also known as salary or institutional base salary, but excluding any fringe benefits and F&A costs) for individuals working on NIH grants, cooperative agreement awards, and extramural research and development contracts.

Salary Recovery

Salary recovery is the amount of one's effort that is recouped from an extramural funding sources.

Sponsored Projects

A Sponsored Project is any externally funded research, instruction, public service or scholarly activity that has a defined scope of work and set of objectives which provide a basis for accountability and sponsor expectations. Typically a sponsored project is awarded by the sponsor through an award document which specifies the terms and conditions of the award.


Principal Investigator is defined as the individual judged by the applicant organization to have the appropriate level of authority and responsibility to direct the project or program supported by the grant, contract, or cooperative agreement.


The University has developed following guidelines for the administration of the Program: 

  1. Participation is limited to all full-time faculty who have secured extramural funds while maintaining their other scholarly responsibilities.
  2. The grant/award must designate University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis as the awardee organization and must be assigned to one of the departments or centers in the University to be eligible. Grants/awards processed through other organizations affiliated with the University, do not qualify.
  3. Only grants that receive the granting agency’s full indirect cost rate may count toward a faculty member’s eligibility for this incentive.
  4. At least 15% of the faculty member’s base salary must be charged to an eligible grant or contract for faculty use of funds. In no event will the incentive pay exceed 15% of the faculty base salary (15% of NIH salary cap, if above the salary cap) per investigator on an annual basis which includes all grants and/or contracts. For 9-month faculty, salary support from grants can first be used to cover summer salary. In this case, remaining recovered funds will be used to calculate the salary incentive percentage when a minimum of 15% of the 12-month salary is received. If 9-month faculty choose not to collect a summer salary, then the recovered funds will be used to calculate the salary incentive percentage when a minimum of 15% of the 9-month salary is received.

Departments may develop department-specific research incentive policies designed to incentivize faculty with non-remunerative research incentives (e.g. extra professional development opportunities, release from service activities, fewer advisee/mentorship responsibilities, extra vacation days, etc.). This may be independent of or in addition to monetary incentive derived from the University's Faculty Research Incentive Policy. These policies may also be used to incentivize faculty with sponsored funding that does not meet the funding criteria listed in this policy.

  1. The percent bonus is based on actual salary unless salary exceeds the NIH cap amount in force at the time (currently $189,600).
  2. Research Incentives are distributed each fiscal year and are funded from the PI’s portion of the Facilities and Administrative Costs (F&A; also known as indirect cost) recovered in connection with extramural awards. For Co-PI’s, their portion will come from the department/dean portion of the F&A distribution.
  3. The PI portion of the incentive cannot exceed the amount generated in F&A collected from the grants.
  4. Grants for which salary is cost shared are not eligible awards (except for cases where the cost sharing is mandated because the individual’s salary exceeds the NIH salary cap). The PI(s) on 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.
  5. No funds chosen by an investigator to be placed in a designated, discretionary research expense account are permitted to be paid or converted to salary or other reimbursements to an investigator.

Research Incentive Program payments are outlined below:

Total Salary Recovery

Percent Bonus







70% or more


*dependent on PI F&A distribution from grants


  1. The incentive may be awarded to individual faculty as: (1) a salary supplement, (2) funds deposited in a designated, discretionary research expense account at University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis, or (3) distributed as a combination of the two. In any case, the election is irrevocable when made and must be made in writing to the appropriate director and/or Dean, and delivered, prior to the first day of the fiscal year (July 1st). An election will remain in effect for the entire fiscal year.  Prior to the commencement of each subsequent fiscal year, a new written election, irrevocable for the following fiscal year, must be submitted or the default method of payment will be retention and placement of all funds in the designated, discretionary research expense account. If the investigator is not eligible for an incentive payment for a particular fiscal year, the election made by the faculty member is nullified for that fiscal year.
  2. Incentives paid as salary supplements will be made in a lump-sum payment each October, based upon prior fiscal year activity. Salary supplements are subject to both the employer and employee share of State and Federal tax deductions. These salary supplements are explicitly intended to be independent of individual merit raise determinations; the maintenance of this independence will be emphasized by the UHSP administration. If the PI retires or leaves the University, prior to the October payment date, the incentive will not be paid and the funds will revert to the operating budget of the University.
  3. For investigators who have elected to receive an allocation of funds to a designated, discretionary research expense account, that allocation shall be made and an account funded by November 30. Notice of the amount and account information will be sent via email from the Business Office. When the PI retires or leaves the University, the unspent funds will revert to the operating budget of the University.

Statement of Understanding:

Investigators with sponsored funding that includes salary recovery and significant teaching responsibilities are encouraged to negotiate course release for this covered time with their Department Chair. Faculty who receive salary recovery funding but do not receive a teaching release are eligible for discretionary funds, such as an assistant’s salary, research supplies, or travel funds. Investigators may also consult with their Dean and the VP of Research to negotiate a consensus agreement.




Business Office

Calculate and distribute the payments

Research Office

Identify all projects and PIs that qualify for the incentive



Dr. M has a base salary of $60,000.  He/she has a grant committing 15% of his/her time during the academic year.  According to the chart, he/she will be eligible for a 5% incentive payment, or $3,000 ($60,000 X 0.05 = $3,000), provided that sufficient indirect cost recoveries of the PI can fund the supplement.

Dr. P also has a base salary of $60,000.  He/she is involved in two grants, the first covers 15% of his/her time and the second covers 20% of his/her time.  According to the chart, he/she will be eligible for a 8% incentive payment, or $4,800 ($60,000 X 0.08 = $4,800), provided that sufficient indirect cost recoveries of the PI can fund the supplement.

Policy Contacts:


Contact Information

Chief Financial Officer

Lisa Vansickle

Assistant Vice President, Research Administration

Brandi Clements

Supplemental Information: