Procedure for Partitioning Credit Acknowledgment for Sponsored Project Activity
Effective: February 2012
Background and Purpose
Sponsored program activity is an integral part of the research enterprise at Louisiana State University. This activity is documented in various internal and external reports in terms of proposal submissions, awards, and expenditures. Both academic and non-academic units participate in funded research activity. The vast majority of principal investigators are appointed to an academic unit. Many of them also utilize the equipment or services available through non-academic research centers or institutes to conduct their research programs. The relationship between academic units and non-academic research centers and institutes is thus collaborative, mutually supportive and beneficial to all parties involved. When a researcher whose assignment is in an academic unit receives funding to support research requiring the use of non-academic unit facilities, it is important to have procedures in place to ensure proper identification and involvement of the units. The procedure delineated below acknowledges this symbiotic relationship and outlines a mechanism to achieve this goal.
There are two major types of credit to be distributed: Facilities and Administrative Credit and Project Credit. Each of these is discussed in turn below.
Facilities and Administrative Credit
The procedure for F&A credit has not changed. When the Sponsored Program System (SPS) Investigator Tab is being completed during the proposal submission phase, it is the responsibility of the PI’s, department chairs, deans and center and institute directors to negotiate an appropriate allocation of F&A credit, proportional to the contributions to the project of each PI and corresponding support unit. Typically, the role a support unit plays in administering the project is a critical determinant of the allocation of F&A credit. Some units may have standing agreements in place for the distribution of F&A credit.
Project credit can be allocated among investigators, their corresponding academic units, and among the non-academic research centers and institutes supporting the research enterprise. However, when project credit is allocated to a research center or institute, this diminishes the apparent amount of funding awarded to academic units. It is important to limit this problem because funding dollars are a critical metric for academic units for external and internal evaluation purposes.
In order to facilitate the ability of academic units to capture as much of the project credit as possible and to facilitate the ability of non-academic units to track involvement in sponsored projects, ORED recommends the following procedures:
When filling out the SPS Investigator Screen, PI’s should allocate all project credit to the appropriate academic unit(s). Then, in order to facilitate the ability of centers and institutes to be able to count the number of proposals that utilize their facilities and services, a revision has been made to the SPS Cover Sheet which reads:
Special Facilities, Services, Centers (e.g. CCT, CAMD) required? List here _____________
To provide an example, a PI with a 75% academic appointment in Physics and a 25% appointment to CCT submitting a federal proposal using CCT facilities to carry out the project would negotiate an F&A Credit distribution with the CCT director and the Physics department chair (perhaps in consultation with the cognizant dean or dean’s representative) if there is not a standing agreement already in place. The PI would then allocate 100% of the Project Credit to the Physics department. In addition, on the SPS Cover Sheet the PI would indicate that CCT was a Special Facility required for the project . The extension to co-PI’s and multiple units is straightforward.
Benefits of This Change
- Academic units will rightfully receive full project credit for the external funding obtained through sponsored projects generated by their faculty members. This is useful both for internal comparisons, and for external evaluators that compile national rankings of departments or colleges.
- For internal reports, non-academic units will now have a standard mechanism in place to count the number of proposals that utilize their facilities or services and the total proposal requested amount. This will assist non-academic units in tracking their involvement in sponsored projects.
- This procedure can be implemented without needing any additional approvals in the routing process.