FAQs for Various RED Processes

Shared Expenditures:

1) What is the purpose of the shared expenditures and how does it work?

It encourages each PI on a sponsored project to break down the main fund index into a separate fund/index that tracks to each researcher’s home or administering organization – thereby providing the college/department with an accurate accounting of the expenditures and budget authority for each researcher’s share of a sponsored project that is split between multiple faculty members. When the project is awarded, a separate fund/index will be established for each investigator that will be tracked separately in OSP and in the Banner software/accounting system. This methodology allows for expenditures to be officially tracked/expensed to those departments and their respective colleges.

2) What is the difference between “shared expenditures” and “parallel credit” for institutes/centers?

The shared expenditures process tracks actual expenditures for each faculty/researcher within their home org or administrative org, while the parallel credit methodology is specifically for institutes/centers and allows PIs to acknowledge when an institute/center has participated or contributed to the OSP project in some way. This is calculated as a percentage (up to 100%) of the PI’s expenditures when the grant is awarded. and then reported on a quarterly/annual report to center/institute directors. These two methods allow for reporting of actual department/college expenditures via the “shared expenditures” model, but also can give “parallel credit” to the institute/center if also involved. This new system does not create awkward tension between department/colleges vs institutes/centers as it is not an either/or system anymore. It is also not double counting, but rather a parallel “crediting” process for the institutes/centers that will enter into the annual F&A reinvestment strategy. 

3) How do multi-disciplinary proposals get established and when does this happen?

When more than one faculty/researcher is working on an OSP funded project at the proposal stage, the MSU multi-PI budget template is available and encouraged at this location:  https://www.montana.edu/research/osp/proposal-preparation/budgets.html.

4) Can “shared expenditures” occur after the ePCF is approved?

Yes, the PI should contact the OSP Fiscal Manager responsible for their department and let them know of the desired change. The change can best be made when the grant index is being established, but it is possible to do at a later point if it is discovered that there is a desire to establish a new separate budget component. However, retroactive shared expenditures (i.e., prior to FY21) are not possible.

5) Can shared expenditures occur after the grant numbers and budgets are assigned in Banner?

It is possible to do this but more complex with the Banner structure once the initial OSP fund/index numbers are established and assigned to a specific department/org number.

6) Can an organization number be changed after the grant number is established and if so how does this happen?

If a PI moves to a different org it is possible to close down the existing fund/index number in Banner and reopen a new fund/index number with the new department/org number but this is a difficult and time-consuming process.

7) What is the difference between the old methodology and the new shared expenditures methodology?

Under the old methodology it was typical for all or most of the grant expenditures to be assigned to one lead PI with the expenditures and budget occurring and reported under that PI’s home organization, even if multiple PIs were involved.

Under the new shared expenditures (multi-PI budget) methodology each PI has the capability to establish a separate fund/index number to track their budget and expenditures correctly under their home org and subsequently into the correct department and college.

Example of typical expenditures distribution under old methodology:

PI:  Dr. Smith → Chemistry:  415200 → $500,00 expenditures/yr

Co-PI:  Dr. Jones → Physics Org number:  415400 → $0 expenditures/yr

Example of expenditures distribution under new shared expenditures methodology:

PI:  Dr. Smith → Chemistry Org number:  415200 → $250,000 expenditures/yr

Co-PI:  Dr. Jones → Physics Org number:  415400 → $200,000 expenditures/yr

Co-PI:  Dr. Mills → HHD Org number:  415300 → $50,000 expenditures/yr  

8) How do expenditures under the shared expenditure methodology get reported, how frequently and who sees these reports?

Expenditures occur in real time under the shared expenditures methodology and Banner reports for OSP funding are available to PIs at any time.  Quarterly OSP Research Expenditures Reports are distributed to the appropriate college dean and institute/center directors from the Vice President of Research and Economic Development (VP-RED). The deans and directors can elect to distribute as desired.

9) How do expenditures under shared expenditures get reported in total to the sponsor correctly since they are now under separate organization numbers?

The OSP has developed a process that allows each fund/index number associated with the original award to be placed into what is called a “roll-up” and reports to the sponsors are generated using these unique roll-up codes so that all expenditures are included even when multiple PIs are involved.

10) Who provides financial management/assistance for my grants?

That may depend on your department or college financial support structure. In some cases, it may be the Fiscal Shared Services (FSS) personnel, a departmental accountant or an institute/center fiscal manager. It is possible for an institute/center fiscal manager to have access to PI’s funds for post award fiscal management even if they are housed under a different org number, but specific Banner access must be obtained from the UBS Banner IT Team in order for this to occur.

11) How are F&As impacted by the shared expenditures methodology?

The VPRED reviews the shared expenditures – along with the amounts credited to the institutes/centers – for a more complete picture of the research enterprise .  The new F&A reinvestment process is no longer an automatic pass-through to colleges, departments or PIs, but a new method where an annual request is submitted by college deans and institute/center directors to the VP-RED where they justify investment needs. This allows for a more global, equitable and thoughtful investment of resources across campus.

Parallel Credit to Institutes/Centers

1) How does an academic department give parallel credit to an institute/center, and when is it appropriate to do so?

PIs are encouraged to build multi-PI budgets that identify the organizational code of their home department/college, and then if an institute/center is participating or involved, the PI can elect to give credit to a specific institute/center (or combination of institutes/centers) up to 100%. This is accomplished on the OSP ePCF under the Credit for Institute/Center section.  Percentage amounts are assigned to each institute/center as desired by the PI and team. This is a parallel process for the institutes/centers which allows them to receive “credit” (in other words, acknowledgement of participation and continued participation if funded) for their contributions for OSP funded projects. The parallel credit is calculated quarterly when the college research summary reports are produced and provided to the VP-RED. There is no retroactive calculation of parallel credit where the reports are rerun to reflect any updates or changes in percentages as it will be reported correctly on the next quarter’s report.

Examples for single-PI grant:





$ Credited

Dr. Smith









$  62,500






Dr. Johnson










Dr. Jones

$  50,000

(none selected)


$   0

Example for a multi-disciplinary, multi-PI grants:





$ Credited

Dr. Smith (Biology)





Dr. Jack (Engineering)

$   300,000




Dr. Feng (History)

$   200,000









Rollup (Total)





2) Does an academic department/PI have to credit an institute/center 100% credit? 

No, the PI can elect any percentage that they feel is appropriate to acknowledge/allocate to an institute/center or institutes/centers.  However, if an institute/center is involved (i.e., pre- and/or anticipated post-award), there is no reason to not allocate full credit under the new system. The PI could also elect not to assign any credit to an institute/center if none were involved.

3) Can an institute/center credit an academic department?

No, the current methodology is not designed for this, nor do we intend to do this.  The way to make this happen would be to ensure the default is to identify academic department using the MSU multi-PI budget form to establish an OSP fund/index to expend funds through the Banner accounting system so that the academic department reflects the expenditures, and then the academic department/PI should elect to parallel credit the institute/center.

4) Can parallel credit be split between more than one center so long as the total doesn’t exceed 100%?

Yes, the methodology allows for multiple institutes/centers to be credited from each grant for a total of no more than 100%.

5) Can an institute/center credit another institute/center?

Yes, although this will typically be a rare instance, but an institute/center is allowed to credit another institute/center, but not itself.


Credit Institute/Center

Credit Academic Dept.

Academic Dept.






6) How does parallel credit for institutes/centers get reported and who receives these reports?

The OSP generates these reports quarterly/annually and provides them to the VP-RED and they are distributed to the college deans and institute/center directors.

7) Does the shared expenditures (multi-PI budget option) credit an institute/center?

When the OSP Fiscal Manager is establishing the grant numbers at the initial set up stage, the parallel credit to institutes/centers will be confirmed for each PI listed on the multi-tab budget pages.  Changes in the percentages could also occur at this stage if the PI notifies OSP.

8) How does an institute/center get placed on the list to receive credit?

Institutes/centers that are included in the credit methodology must have VP-RED approval to be placed on this list. 

Typically, these are active State of Montana Board of Regents approved institutes/centers and report through RED.  Requests for approval will be sent directly to the VP-RED for consideration.

9) Does credit to an institute/center impact F&A returns?

The amounts credited to institutes/centers will be included as part of the more global analysis of the colleges as well as the institutes/centers when requests for RED investments (VPR support) are requested. So yes, credits to institutes/centers are an important aspect of providing a complete picture of the synergies between colleges and institutes/centers.

10) Will my academic department/college receive less F&A returns if the PI elects to credit an institute/center?

No, as discussed above, it is important for PIs to submit proposals by listing their home org/department so that expenditures are tracked/expensed correctly to the department/college and then also include parallel credit for an institute/center for inclusion in the entire fiscal picture.

11) What is the difference between the administering org and a home org/department?

The home organization/department refers to the lead PI and the official hiring department that HR has on file for them. This information is pulled directly from Banner into the OSP ePCF system. Typically, a PI will submit proposals through their home org/department so that expenditures can be tracked correctly to their department/college. However, PIs can choose an administering organization different than their home organization/department if they have an affiliation with another department or an institute/center. The sponsored programs grant index would then be established under the administering organization at the point of actual funding, and they would be responsible for grant management.

12) Where can I find the credit for institutes/centers option?

On the Budget Tab of the Proposal Clearance Form select “Yes” on ‘Credit for Centers and Institutes.’  Then select ‘Update Credit Percent’ and enter the percent of credit for the listed centers and institutes.

F&A/IDC Distribution

1) What is the current policy/practice for F&A/IDC distribution?

The new F&A reinvestment process is no longer an automatic pass-through but a new method where the VPRED office invests in both the college/department and the affiliated institutes/centers through an annual request processes by the college deans and institute/center directors where they justify reinvestment needs.  This system encourages collaboration and inter-dependence that drives growth and reinvestment at all levels.  Once the annual reinvestment amount has been finalized, a total budgeted amount is established then the actual cash will be distributed throughout the fiscal year on a quarterly schedule.  Funding requests from PI’s should be directed to their department head and then to the college dean for consideration, but not directly to the VP-RED. The overall F&A reinvestment strategy is still to return roughly 20-25% of the annual institutional reimbursements back to local units (i.e., colleges and centers/institutes), which can then support local initiatives (including investments to PIs and research teams as viewed strategically by deans and directors). 

2) How are F&As related to GRA salary support calculated and distributed?

Faculty members who serve as PIs who include and pay Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) salaries from OSP funding sources with F&As will be eligible to receive a percentage return from the VP-RED. Please visit this link to find out more about the details of this program: details of this program:  https://www.montana.edu/research/osp/findingfunding/ird.html.