Faculty Research Incentive Program (FRIP)

Revised DRAFT (2/21/19) - subject to revision


For more than two decades, the University of Montana has successfully transitioned to include a globally-recognized research and creative scholarship profile that complements excellent mentoring and teaching of undergraduate and graduate students. As with many other public universities experiencing flat or declining state support, the recruitment and retention of high-quality, research-active faculty required a means to facilitate the generation of additional, externally funded salary compensation for research and creative scholarship (RCS) activities. To accomplish this goal beginning in the late 1990s, UM implemented a dual-base approach which allowed faculty to be paid on their external grants at a research-rate (RR) closer to market value than their institutional base salary” (IBS).

Federal auditors have made it clear that universities cannot continue using a dual base approach.  

To resolve this challenge, UM will immediately initiate for new proposals a “Faculty Research Incentive Program” that will continue to incentivize externally funded research for all faculty and maintain compensation levels for those who have been on the Research Rate model. Through FRIP, any faculty member can complement summer salary by directing additional external grant funding of their research effort to the Academic Year (AY) at the IBS rate. State funds released by this external funding will be directed to a newly created FRIP pool from which the incentive payments will be funded. For faculty who have been on Research Rate, the FRIP Incentive payment will effectively bring overall compensation back up to what they had been making under the Research Rate model. FRIP will also eliminate the need to request/negotiate RR salaries, and will be available to all faculty members regardless of whether or not they have ever used RR.

The FRIP model will replace the dual base approach in the budget language for all new proposals submitted after April 30, 2019.   Proposals submitted prior to this date under the dual base model and subsequently awarded can proceed as budgeted and approved for the life of the award(s). 

See FRIP Frequently Asked Questions for more information. 


Each faculty member has a workload assignment (relative to instruction, service, and RCS) negotiated and agreed upon with their Dean.  FRIP incentives are paid with University funds via a pool created by the replacement of RCS-related IBS (and fringe) with externally sponsored dollars.  The faculty member may use external funds from one or more sources up to the portion specified as “Research” in their RCS workload assignment (as previously agreed upon by the Dean and the faculty member). 

Note that FRIP is independent of teaching buyouts because teaching is part of the instruction portion of the workload assignment, not the RCS portion.  FRIP is also independent of summer salary, and from other arrangements where a faculty member may support a portion of their AY salary on external funds.

Faculty participating in FRIP will continue to earn the equivalent of their AY salary and be eligible for summer salary at their IBS.  In addition, they will be eligible to receive a lump sum FRIP incentive payment.  This incentive is separate from their IBS and teaching buyouts.  The incentive is subject to applicable state, federal, and FICA withholdings, and contributes to the recipient’s retirement funds. The payment does not affect eligibility for merit or other salary increases.

To implement FRIP, the faculty member will request from external sponsor(s) salary (at the IBS) and fringe for a specified AY percentage (within the RCS workload assignment).  If the grant is successful, the externally funded salary will release an equal amount of state funds into the FRIP pool.  Up to 100% of the FRIP is available to comprise the FRIP incentive payment to the faculty member.  In some cases, the faculty member and Dean may mutually agree upon some portion of the FRIP going to the College to support the RCS of the faculty member.  In such a case, the agreed upon "split" will be specified on the FRIP form.   

The language in a proposal budget narrative would be something along the lines of: “Dr. Z requests $XXX for YYY FTE salary (or percent of effort) during the academic year” (remember, the “YYY” should not exceed the negotiated RCS workload assignment).  Associated fringe must also be included.

When a faculty member’s participation in FRIP is approved, the departmental research administrator (DRA) college business officer/budget director (CBO) will move the State budget that was designated to support that portion of the individual's specified RCS workload to the FRIP pool. Utilizing unique PI earn codes, HR will issue the annual lump sum payment, coded as research, near the end of each fiscal year. 


Involvement in FRIP is voluntary. A faculty member may qualify for and request permission to participate in FRIP (via a form/process under development) when:

  1. their institutional base salary (IBS) is supported in part from State appropriated funds (100 percent research appointments are excluded); 
  2. they have one or more successful grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements, administered by UM's ORSP, that includes academic year salary for the faculty member that replaces State appropriated funding within their faculty RCS workload commitment;
  3. the minimum externally funded amount to participate in FRIP is $1,000;
  4. philanthropic support through the UM Foundation is ineligible; and, 
  5. the faculty member is in compliance with all relevant institutional, State, and federal research-related policies, and has completed all effort reporting as appropriate.  

FRIP payments must be verified and approved by the department head or chair, the dean, the provost, and the VP for Research and Creative Scholarship (or the appropriate administrators based on reporting structure); all disapprovals must also be reviewed by each administrator.  A faculty member who leaves UM prior to the payment of a FRIP incentive will forfeit the payment.