Road signs representing money ahead. A diamond-shaped, yellow caution sign has a $ printed on it and sits atop a square yellow information sign with the word "MONEY" printed on it.

Deadlines for 2020-2021 internal funding programs announced

University Senate charges the Committee on Faculty Research (CFR) with supporting and encouraging the development of research and creative activity at Miami University. In carrying out this charge, the CFR administers programs that support and celebrate faculty research and creative activities. Application to these programs is made through Research & Innovation. The CFR Program Guidelines provide information, eligibility criteria, and application procedures for these programs.

Faculty Research Grants Program

The Faculty Research Grants Program encourages proposals addressing new avenues of research and scholarship, either for the investigator or for the institution, initiating new projects and pilot studies, or testing novel or transformative research/creative ideas. In keeping with broader university-wide diversity and inclusion efforts, a portion of available funds will be reserved for research, scholarship, and creative activities in the areas of social justice, human rights, diversity, and inclusion.

The deadline for applying for the Faculty Research Grants Program is 5:00 p.m. Friday, October 16, 2020. Awards are generally announced in mid-December.

University Faculty Scholar & University Junior Faculty Scholar Awards

The University Faculty Scholar and Junior Faculty Scholar Awards programs celebrate the accomplishments of outstanding Miami researchers each year. Exemplary Miami faculty members are nominated by their peers to be recognized for superior research and scholarly activities. The deadline for Research & Innovation to receive nominations for the University Faculty Scholar and  Junior Faculty Scholar Awards is Friday, December 4, 2020.

Publication, Reprint, Exhibition, & Performance Costs (PREP) Program

In addition to these faculty recognition programs, the CFR oversees the Publication, Reprint, Exhibition, and Performance Costs (PREP) Program, which provides reimbursement for certain costs associated with research and creative activity. PREP applications may be submitted at any time during the year.

The Committee invites you to apply for support from these CFR programs and to nominate colleagues you believe are qualified for the University Faculty Scholar or Junior Faculty Scholar Award. Degree and rank at the date of application shall determine eligibility. The Committee encourages proposals from all disciplines and campuses at Miami University.

Programmatic questions may be directed to Rick Page, 2020-2021 CFR Chair (513-529-2281). Administrative questions may be directed to Research & Innovation (513-529-3600).


Money ahead image by 401(K) 2012 via Flickr. Antique clock image by Cindy Schultz via Flickr. Both used under Creative Commons license.

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Changes announced for policy on tuition waivers for grant-funded research assistants

As of July 1, 2020, Miami University discontinued waiving the full amount of in-state tuition for grant-funded graduate research assistants. Under the new policy, in-state tuition waivers will be scaled to the amount of direct costs in a grant. The additional out-of-state surcharge above in-state tuition will continue to be waived for all grants. Investigators are now required to include a minimum of 4.3% of the direct costs of a project as tuition for each graduate student stipend, unless a funding agency specifically prohibits charging tuition. If you are requesting more than $250,000 per year in direct costs, or there is no limit on the amount that can be requested, full in-state tuition must be included at the current rate of $523 per credit hour. Tuition is not subject to facilities and administration (F&A) charges. The established minimum percentage will be evaluated annually and may change as tuition rates change.

Rationale

As part of a benchmarking exercise during strategic plan formulation, the research office learned that as recently as five years ago, most universities in our research expenditure bracket in Ohio and in the Midwest made it a common practice to waive fully both in-state and out-of-state tuition on grants that included a stipend for a graduate research assistant. Last year, as the research office updated its strategic plan, the same benchmarking exercise demonstrated that nearly every university that had, five years ago, been waiving full tuition was now expecting principal investigators to cover at least a portion of tuition on smaller grants and to cover full in-state tuition on major grants (≥$250,000 per year). This change means that Miami’s practice of waiving full tuition made us an outlier. The new policy aligns our practices to national norms.

As a result of the benchmarking and program review, beginning this past academic semester, Research & Sponsored Programs staff started asking some PIs to include partial tuition on their grants. On June 4, Jim Oris, then-Vice President for Research & Innovation, held an online forum with over 30 attendees to discuss a possible change in policy. Provost Osborne subsequently approved the change to take effect July 1, 2020.

The percentage calculation

Nearly all universities consider an NIH R01 grant the standard for a “major grant” and require grant budgets to cover the full cost of in-state tuition for their graduate research assistants. Typically, an R01 uses a modular budget that allows up to $250,000 in direct costs per year.

Using this same standard – an NIH R01 grant with a modular budget (i.e., $250,000 per year) – full in-state graduate tuition for a single research assistant was calculated as a percentage of the annual direct costs. Assuming full time graduate enrollment of 9 hours during each fall and spring and 3 hours during summer, for a total of 21 credits per calendar year, full in-state graduate tuition for a single research assistant amounts to 4.3% of $250,000. The fairest approach is to apply the 4.3% standard evenly across all grants that include stipends for GAs, as an offset to the cost of tuition. In cases where the 4.3% does not cover full in-state tuition, the remaining in-state tuition will be waived (as will the full out-of-state surcharge).

Examples

NIH grant

Our most common NIH grant is an R15 (AREA) mechanism, which is $300,000 in direct costs over three years, or $100,000 per year. Applying the 4.3% to such a budget will require the proposed budget to include $4,300 per year per GA in tuition, for a total of $12,900. The balance will be covered by a tuition waiver.

An NIH R21 has a direct cost limit of $275,000 over two years. This is typically budgeted as $150,000 in Year 1 and $125,000 in Year 2. Applying the 4.3% minimum tutition requirement, the proposed budget will include $6,450 in tuition for Year 1 ($150,000 x .043) and $5,375 in tuition for Year 2 ($125,000 x .043). The balance will be covered by a tuition waiver.

NSF grant

A typical NSF grant averages $123K in direct costs per year for three years. Applying the 4.3% to a budget of that size will require that $5,289 per year be included for tuition for each GA. The balance will be covered by a tuition waiver.


Image by Nick Youngson for Alpha Stock Images via The Blue Diamond Gallery, used under Creative Commons license.