1. What is the Incentive Program for Researchers and why did the university decide to implement this program?

The fundamental goal of IPR is to provide tenured and tenure track faculty who are successful in obtaining sponsored research with financial incentives to encourage their extramural funding activity to continue to grow the research program at MSU. This incentive plan will serve as a reward for faculty who bring in sponsored research dollars and will encourage others to participate in competing for sponsored research.

  1. Who is eligible to participate in the research incentive program?

Generally, tenure or tenure track faculty, except those currently on University Sponsored research Appointments (USRAs) who successfully obtain sponsored research are eligible if they charge salary and fringe benefits to the grant(s) during the academic year.  The program applies to federal, state, foundation, and private/industry funded research projects, but not gifts or testing services agreements

  1. When will IPR be implemented?

The program became effective July 1, 2013.  The latest round of program updates became effective July 1, 2020.

  1. Is participation in the program mandatory?

No. Participation is voluntary and at the faculty member’s discretion.

  1. How does IPR work?

The basic model for the IPR uses the state funds which are freed up by the salary dollars that are included in a grant/contract. To qualify for the IPR, your grant/contract must have funds which are budgeted specifically for salary. Incentive payments will be 100% of the net amount recovered and available for distribution. Faculty may receive incentive pay up to 25% of the Institutional Base Salary (IBS) for the current AY or FY.

  1. What is the maximum amount allowable for supplemental salary in this incentive program?

The maximum salary supplement (IPR and additional compensation from all funding sources) cannot exceed 25% of the faculty member’s Institutional Base Salary (IBS).

  1. What is Institutional Base Salary (IBS)?

IBS is the annual compensation paid by the University for a faculty member’s appointment whether that individual’s time is spent on research, instruction, service or administration.  Your total IBS is the sum of your 9-month AY or your 12month FY appointment (including all raises throughout the year). 

  1. Does this program include sponsored awards for both the academic year and the summer terms?

The IPR does not include summer salary. You may include summer salary up to 3/9th in your proposal as well as in your AY effort. If you have sufficient funding, you may be able to participate in the IPR and pay summer salary.

  1. Who approves my participation in the incentive program?

The decision to participate in the incentive program is voluntary and at the faculty member’s discretion. However, your department chair and dean must approve your participation in the incentive program and final approval will come
from the Provost and VP REDGE. To be approved, you must have received “meets expectations” in your most recent annual review and you must demonstrate proper fiscal and administrative management of all grants/contracts for which you are principal investigator. For more detail, see IPR policy.

  1. How will I actually receive the supplement?

All supplements will come in the form of additional salary each month added to your regularly scheduled pay period(s).

  1. Will the incentive payment I receive be based on my Institutional Base Salary?

Yes. It is also important to note that this incentive program is not a change in your IBS but a mechanism to supplement your IBS.

  1. Is any type of grant or contract eligible for the incentive program? What aboutgrants and contracts from private foundations and industry?

Yes, federal, state, foundation, and private/industry funded research projects are eligible.  Testing services agreements and gift funds are not eligible.

  1. Is this incentive program compliant with federal funding agencies?

Yes. It is important to note that no federal funds will be used for the incentive payment. A funding labor distribution will be submitted to charge the appropriate % effort from the state institutional index to the identified grant.  This “frees up” salary in the state instructional index, that would have otherwise paid the TT salary were it not for the grant effort, that can then be used to pay the incentive payment directly to the faculty member.  Therefore, only the funds freed up by the grant/contract will be used for the supplement.

  1. Are previous grants/contracts (prior to July 1, 2020) eligible for this incentive program? Is the program retroactive?

No. The program is not retroactive.

  1. In order to participate in this incentive program will I have to change the way I develop my grants/contracts?

To receive supplemental funding through the incentive program, you will need to include your salary and benefits in the budget as you develop your grants/contracts proposals.

  1. Will I still have to teach if I participate in the incentive program?

This incentive program is not intended for faculty to either abandon existing duties or to decline to take on new responsibilities which might reasonably be expected of them. This is an incentive based upon your effort on your research grants.

  1. Can I commit more than my research % of effort for IPR?

The first obligation on recovered salary is payment of any costs incurred to provide services a faculty member will not be providing because of the responsibilities to the grant/contract research/scholarly activities (e.g., a course buy-out due to reduced teaching effort). Only after these obligations have been fully and completely accounted for will the net recovered salary be available to fund an incentive payment. In order to determine if teaching replacement is necessary, the faculty member’s workload is needed. If s/he charges more salary to the grant/project than the percentage assigned to research, s/he will need to first cover the cost of a replacement for that release. The remaining (net) salary will be used to calculate the payment. For the purposes of this incentive program, a buyout of teaching will not normally be needed unless the faculty member has exceeded his/her research percentage assignment. If you submit more than your research % effort for IPR, the costs associated with your approved teaching replacement will be deducted before your incentive payout.

  1. Do other universities use research incentive plans?

Yes. Many institutions use an incentive program similar to what is being adopted by MSU.

  1. I’ve never developed or submitted a proposal for a sponsored activity. How do Istart?

If you would like to learn more about obtaining funding for your sponsored activity and developing a grant/proposal, please contact the Office of Sponsored Programs.

  1. Are faculty allowed to shift research funding on existing grants and contract toinclude effort and thus qualify for the IPR?

Only if such a shift represents actual effort expended by the faculty member on the grant and is allowed by the sponsoring agency.

  1. Are there forms faculty need to fill out to participate in the IPR?

Yes. You will need to complete the Intent to Participate Form. It is important to submit the intent to participate in IPR as soon as possible for eligible faculty. Retroactive payments are not possible for the IPR program; so you must apply by the 20th of the month before the date you will begin to charge effort and salary to the eligible grant.

  1. Why is the form only for one semester in FY 21?

For FY 21 we are breaking the form up to contain a single semester in  anticipation of the bi-weekly payroll effort on campus and to help align with any pay raises that become effective during a semester.

  1. Can I participate in the IPR program and still use my state funded salary as match on  my federal grant?

No. To the extent you have charged a portion of your salary as a direct expense in any grant which is required for the IPR program, you cannot then use the same salary amount as match on a grant.

  1. How will the IPR incentive payment be taxed?

Visit http://www.montana.edu/hr/Benefits.htm and click the “Retirement” link or contact a Human Resources Benefits Associate at 994-3651.