FRIP FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about FRIP

What is a Research Rate and why has UM been using it?

For over 20 years, 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 at UM required a system to facilitate the generation of additional, externally funded salary compensation for research and creative scholarship (RCS) activities. To address this challenge, UM has been operating with a “dual base” approach which allowed faculty to be paid “Research Rate” (RR) salaries closer to market value than the base funded academic year “Institutional Base Salary” (IBS). 

 ⇑ Back to Top 

Why is this change necessary?

A recent federal audit, referring to new federal Uniform Guidance documents, declared that university faculty across the U.S. must have only one Institutional Base Salary (IBS).  Because UM has been using a “dual base” system (with “Research Rate” salaries charged to grants being closer to market value and higher than academic year IBS salary), we must abandon the research rate and use only the IBS. Nevertheless, we want to do everything possible to minimize or eliminate any negative effects of this change on research-active faculty at UM who bring in grants that power so much of the UM mission. So we have come up with FRIP as a means to replace the Research Rate model, to the benefit of faculty.  

 ⇑ Back to Top 

In the past, I have been an active user of the Research Rate. Does this mean I am going to take a pay cut?

No.  In fact, in many cases, faculty may be able to slightly increase their annual income (compared to the RR model) when utilizing FRIP. 

 ⇑ Back to Top 

How did you come up with this solution?

We looked into how other universities solved this challenge. The “FRIP-type” model has been successfully implemented at multiple research universities (at least eight regionally and nationwide, both larger and smaller than UM). We distilled the best elements of those and tailored it to UM. We then put it through road tests with lots of actual UM faculty data, and tweaked it some more to improve its performance. 

 ⇑ Back to Top 

When does this new FRIP model become effective?

FRIP is already successfully implemented. The old dual base model has been discontinued for salaries based on NSF grants, and will end for all externally funded salaries as of September 1, 2020.

 ⇑ Back to Top 

Does this affect Academic Year teaching buyouts?

No. FRIP occurs within the research portion of your academic year workload.  It is separate from your teaching and from teaching buy-outs. 

 ⇑ Back to Top 

Does this change affect me if I don’t have a Research Rate (RR) salary?

Yes, it could affect you in a good way if you choose to participate. Under the previous dual base model with a Research Rate, a person had to go through the laborious data collection and negotiation required to establish a RR, and then re-do the process every five years. Participation in FRIP is voluntary and any faculty member is eligible to receive the incentive per the guidelines.  

 ⇑ Back to Top 

Does this affect summer salary?

Only in that now your summer salary will be at your Institutional Base Rate. 

 ⇑ Back to Top 

I currently receive external funding only from NSF, which “as a general policy” limits salary compensation to no more than two months of salary per year. Now that there’s no research rate, is it possible for me to budget for more than 2 months (either in additional summer days or for an academic year FRIP) in my NSF grant?

The following language regarding Senior Personnel Salaries & Wages Policy from the NSF 2019 PAPPG is relevant:

If anticipated, any compensation … in excess of two months must be disclosed in the proposal budget, justified in the budget justification, and must be specifically approved by NSF in the award notice budget. 
Under normal rebudgeting authority, as described in Chapters VII and X, a grantee can internally approve an increase or decrease in person months devoted to the project after an award is made, even if doing so results in salary support for senior personnel exceeding the two-month salary policy.  No prior approval from NSF is necessary unless the rebudgeting would cause the objectives or scope of the project to change.  NSF prior approval is necessary if the objectives or scope of the project change.

Additionally, here is a youtube with Jean Feldman, Head of the NSF Policy Office, discussing senior personnel effort above the 2-month rule.

⇑ Back to Top 

When would I receive the FRIP payment?

As a lump sum payment near the end of the fiscal year. 

 ⇑ Back to Top 

Does FRIP cost the University or State anything?

No.  FRIP is paid via State funds that have been replaced by external dollars. 

 ⇑ Back to Top 

Is FRIP considered extra compensation per University or federal definitions?

No.  FRIP payments are a financial incentive, not "extra compensation."  Per UM Policy 803 Extra Compensation for Faculty and Contract Professionals, "the purpose of extra compensation is to compensate individuals for work that is usually short term, unpredictable, and is in excess of normal duties."  Similarly, FRIP incentives are not extra compensation as defined by federal guidelines. 

 ⇑ Back to Top 

Who is responsible for ensuring that I receive the FRIP incentive?

As always, researchers are responsible for all aspects of their participation in sponsored programs.  Work with your departmental research administrator (or college business officer) as appropriate. They can utilize the Personnel Activity Report (PAR) or Banner/UMDW reports to monitor and reconcile your FRIP-eligibile salary.  

 ⇑ Back to Top 

What are the limits on the amount of FRIP per year?

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.

 ⇑ Back to Top