Faculty Research Incentive Program (FRIP)


For over two decades, the University of Montana has successfully transitioned to include a globally-recognized research and creative scholarship (RCS) profile that complements excellent mentoring and teaching of undergraduate and graduate students.  Beginning in the early 1990s, to support the recruitment and retention of research-active faculty, UM implemented a dual-base approach that allowed a second salary base - referred to as research base salary (RBS) or research rate (RR) - to be proposed for a faculty member's organized research activities.  Following institutional review and approval, the RR compensation was closer to market value than their institutional base salary (IBS) that traditionally emphasized instruction.

Federal auditors have made it clear that universities cannot continue using this kind of dual base approach.  In response, UM has established a “Faculty Research Incentive Program” that will incentivize externally funded research for all faculty while maintaining compensation levels for those who have utilized RR.

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 their IBS. State funds released by this external funding will be redirected to fund approved incentive payments. For faculty who have utilized RR, the FRIP Incentive payment will effectively bring overall compensation back up to what they had been making under the RR model. FRIP will also eliminate the need to request/establish 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 with the dual base model that are unfunded, and later revised and resubmitted after April 30, 2019, must use the FRIP model 

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Participation in FRIP is voluntary. Each faculty member has a workload assignment (relative to instruction, service, and RCS) negotiated and agreed upon with their Dean.  When RCS-related IBS (and fringe) during the AY are paid with externally sponsored dollars (from one or more sources), the University funds that are freed up in the RCS portion of their approved AY workload assignment may be used to pay the FRIP incentive.  

Example of Workload Assignment
RCS Teaching Service
30% 60% 10%

Note that teaching buyouts cannot be part of FRIP as teaching is part of the instruction portion of the workload assignment, not the RCS portion.  

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.

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Proposal Submission

To participate in FRIP, the faculty member will request from external sponsor(s) salary (at the IBS) and fringe for a specified AY percentage. The AY percentage requested from external sponsor(s) for a given year should not exceed the RCS workload assignment, and should not exceed 25% of IBS without permission of the Provost.

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.

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Award Received

If the proposal is awarded, the departmental research administrator (DRA) or college business officer/budget director (CBO) will prepare and submit the approved labor distribution via an HRS Request for Personnel Transaction (RPT) through U-Approve.  The salary that is externally funded will supplant an equal amount of State funds, 100% of which will be paid to the faculty member as FRIP.  In some cases, the faculty member and Dean may mutually agree upon some portion of the FRIP going to the College.  In such a case, the agreed upon "split" will be specified on the FRIP form.   

FRIP Request

Faculty participating in FRIP must work with their departmental research administrator (DRA) or college business officer/budget director (CBO) to ensure that the FRIP verification of salary form is prepared and routed in April for approval by the department head/chair, the dean, and the provost. The form must be returned to the Preparer (DRA/CBO) by May 1 so that the DRA/CBO can initiate a FRIP payment request via an HRS RPT through U-Approve by May 10.  The DRA/CBO may find these FRIP Tips to be helpful. 

Upon receipt and approval of the RPT request, HRS will issue the annual lump sum payment (identified with a unique earn code) near the end of each fiscal year. Because FRIP incentive payments are institutional funds that support sponsored activity, they may be recorded and reported as cost match.

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A faculty member qualifies for FRIP 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. for faculty whose salary is paid from funds in the UM Foundation (e.g., an endowed chair position), those salary funds could be supplanted by external grant dollars to constitute a FRIP; 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.  

A faculty member who leaves UM prior to the payment of a FRIP incentive will forfeit the payment. 

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