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Research Incentive Fund

Research Incentive Fund Policies and Procedures (October 2017)


The Research Incentive Fund was established in FY90 to provide a monetary incentive to Purdue’s colleges, schools, departments and faculty with the goal of stimulating external sponsored program funding. These funds are distributed through colleges and other similar units using a system that assesses sponsored programs expenditures attributed to each investigator’s accounts. The expenditures are connected to academic units based on the investigator’s appointments.

Principles and Guidelines

The Research Incentive Funds are returned to the colleges, schools, departments and faculty to stimulate sponsored research program activity. Recipients are to use the funds, at their discretion, to enhance Purdue’s research enterprise. To this end, funds should be expended in a timely manner.

Research Incentive Funds have value at many levels. Funds returned to the investigator contribute to and stimulate the advancement of the investigator’s research or scholarship. Funds pooled at the college or department level can support strategic initiatives or collective needs such as shared equipment or research support staff. General guidelines for allotting the funds among units and individuals follow.

  • Annual allocations will be made to college-level units under the supervision of the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships.
  • From the college-level allocation, a minimum of 25 percent of the total allocation associated with each account will be assigned to the responsible investigator.
  • College-level units have flexibility and responsibility for distribution of the remainder of the funds with the understanding that they will be directed towards research incentives.
  • Centers and institutes are not eligible to receive allocations except in rare, explicitly approved circumstances.

Determination of the Research Incentive Fund Allocations

Accounts included in the distribution are those for which expenditures were incurred in support of sponsored programs of the West Lafayette-campus.

The proportion of the research incentive allocation provided to each unit is based upon the investigator’s sponsored programs expenditures during the prior fiscal year. The unit's allocation is the sum of the allocations from all accounts of investigators in the unit. 

In FY18, $4.8 million will be dispersed based on FY17 expenditures.

At the account level the allocation is based on the following formula.

Allocation equals modified expenditures for the account divided by modified expenditures for all accounts multiplied by total research incentive budget

“Modified expenditures” include total expenditures minus unrecovered F&A expenses, and “total expenditures” is the sum of direct cost and indirect cost expenditures excluding subcontract payments greater than $25,000. “All accounts” refers to all eligible accounts for the West Lafayette campus. Accounts tied to internal Purdue University and Purdue Research Foundation grants are excluded.

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