The ADR office is responsible for setting schoolwide research-related policies. We also work with the Luddy Contracts and Grants Office to ensure the compliance of Luddy research with university policies, as well as state and federal laws and regulations. You can find more information about research compliance at the IU research website.
The research mission of the Luddy School is to create new frontiers of technology and understanding through new findings, solutions, approaches, and/or products that improve the lives of individuals and advance society. The research mission enhances the educational mission of the Luddy School by creating new educational opportunities for students and enabling leading edge skills and experiences for them.
The community involved in advancing the research mission of the school is made up of current and future investigators of external funding awards (TT, NTT, and research faculty), research scientists, postdocs, graduate and undergraduate students, and research-supporting administrative staff.
The mission of the Luddy School research task force is to consider the cost-benefit tradeoffs in allocating limited resources such that the overall research ecosystem of the school is as strong as possible It is tasked with making recommendations that consider this cost-benefit tradeoff.
- Pre proposal and post award support is a steady need, though needs vary by proposal size and type, and by award size and type. The school hopes to satisfy investigator need through an agile, shared-model support team
- Investigators have funding needs to support non-external grant fundable activities such as those associated with post award support for software developed by a grant. Investigators have funding needs to support the building of a research idea into a fundable thing
- Research scientist vulnerability. The research scientist is an essential part of research particularly that results in a usable product. Their vulnerability as 100% grant funded individuals results in loss of valuable expertise, diminishing the overall impact of certain areas of research in the school
- The school has need to facilitate new research directions and synergies, and cost share proposed activity as allowed
- Students need meaningful training and experiences in research, carried out in a supportive environment.
Recommendation 1: agile, shared-model research support team
Notes: The taskforce suggests a model whereby highly-active research individuals/groups which require a significantly higher level of service than can be provided with shared staff use ICR or direct lines in grant budgets to fund dedicated staff time in the areas of technical support, C&G/Project Management and administrative support. These offices will note whenever a particular group is putting a strain on school resources and suggest the ADR negotiate an arrangement that both benefits the faculty by getting higher-quality/dedicated services, and benefits the school by ensuring adequate staff time for all faculty.
Luddy recognizes investigator need for pre- and post-award administrative and technical support. Depending on type and size of a proposal or award, the needs can be occasional or can be dedicated and at a high level. In general, investigator needs can include, but are not limited to, the following in support of proposal preparation or award execution:
- Basic administrative
- Travel arrangements and reimbursements
- Speaker/visitor scheduling
- Meeting scheduling/calendar management
- Higher level administrative
- Grant proposal assistance
- Post-award grant finance management
- Lab/center admin oversight
- Managing projects to meet grant milestones
- Technical support
- Server administration
- Programming/software development
It is recommended that the Luddy School implement an agile, shared-model of a research support team. The staff of the shared model are centrally supervised so as to build career paths for the individuals. The investigators with typical grants/needs will have their needs satisfied by the shared model. Whenever an individual or research group consumes significantly more of a staff member’s time in one of these areas, then the group needs more dedicated support than can be provided by school-wide staff. Investigators with larger needs can either commit internal funds to obtain a larger time commitment, or can go the route of hiring and managing their own staff. The ADR will work with the research group to come up with a plan to fund that dedicated staff time, including using the group’s ICR share and/or writing the staff time into grant budgets.
Implementation: The “dedicated” staff will direct report to the relevant centralized office, and have an indirect reporting line to the research group. Such dedicated staff may be shared amongst multiple groups. Using this model, staff have more job security, can be moved between groups as funding ebbs and flows, and have a logical “home” for professional development and supervision.
Recommendation 2: uniform Indirect Cost Revenue (ICR) return
Notes: The taskforce was in favor of transparency and consistency in ICR return to faculty. It saw disadvantages to policy that encourages center formation as a solution and instead preferred policy that encouraged fluid group formation and cessation. The best way to achieve these goals is a uniform ICR return policy. The task force also saw benefit to the shared services model, hence the 25% figure which is recommended here.
Indirect Costs, also known as Facilities and Administrative Overhead, are provided to research institutions by funding agencies to cover the cost of research (lab space, HVAC, administrative grant management aka, to ensure federal compliance, libraries). As a research-oriented school, Luddy provides an infrastructure to support PIs with their research. Luddy faculty, regardless of funding status, have basic access to these services without incurring a fee:
- An IT team with significant experience in supporting experimental IT research
- Lab space, HVAC, power, running water
- A central C&G team to manage basic pre- and post-award grant administration
- Hiring lecturers/adjuncts to provide active researchers with course releases
- Business staff available to assist with purchasing research equipment and supplies
- Payroll and HR staff to assist with the grant personnel needs
To help seed additional research activity, it is recommended that the Luddy School share a portion of the ICR that it receives back to the investigator. The recommended amount is 25%, selected to be consistent with the Luddy School providing an agile, shared resource support team (Recommendation 1 and other recommendations herein).
Implementation: All faculty incurring indirect costs on their grants will be eligible for a share of revenue back to their faculty research accounts. These funds will be distributed in July/August of each year based on the prior year’s indirect costs. Groups of investigators may wish to pool a portion of the ICR returned to them for larger, shared goals. Investigators can select the portion of their ICR share that goes to their faculty account, and that which goes to a shared account.
Recommendation 3: Research Scientist Support
Note: Research Scientist can be an integral part of the research enterprise, providing continuity across research projects and performing research tasks that are not appropriate for PhD students. The taskforce makes three recommendations to support research scientists in Luddy.
The Luddy school recognizes the importance of research scientists/research faculty in many research endeavors. Research scientists are frequently fully funded on grants and are not in permanent positions. This creates several problems: if fully funded on a federal grant, they have no allotted time to write grant proposals upon which their salaries depend or to engage in pedagogical training or other training. Too, they frequently report to an individual faculty member so lack a career path except elsewhere outside the university.
The recommendation is threefold: i. it is recommended that 10% of the FTE of a research scientist be covered by the school to build identity, allow for grant writing and training, etc., ii. it is further recommended that research scientists be eligible to occasionally teach to help bridge gaps in funding, iii. it is finally recommended that research scientists have a formal reporting line to the PIs of the grants on which they work, and a dotted reporting line to a supervisor within the office of the ADR. Being part of a school-wide group of research scientists will facilitate professional development, and assist in moving between projects as funding changes over time.
Implementation: research scientists may be eligible to teach one course a semester for 15% of their salary (not to exceed $20,000 including benefits). The ADR will work with departments on appropriate teaching plans to ensure high quality instruction. Whenever possible, those with less experience will be paired with other faculty (not their research PIs) to teach large courses. Those with more experience may teach a course with minimal supervision. A research scientist who does not maintain a high standard of quality in the classroom may not be eligible to teach in the future.
Recommendation 4: Faculty Research and Teaching Service payments (FRATS)
Notes: FRATS payments are critical for continued research and professional development despite ebbs and flows in funding. The taskforce notes that the current FRATS payment is less than NTT faculty receive for professional development. We recommend to increase this amount to be at least the same amount as NTT faculty.
Faculty are eligible for an annual FRATS payment beginning 5 years after the receipt of their start-up funding. These payments may vary based on available funding but it is recommended that they be $2,500 per eligible faculty member.
Implementation: These funds will be deposited in faculty research accounts each July/August.
Recommendation 5: Luddy Strategic Research Fund (SRF)
Notes: The taskforce requests clarifying the wording in this policy, which caused some confusion. In addition, the taskforce recommends that this fee is not charged to startup accounts, and only to external grants/funds.
Luddy has a Strategic Research Fund (SRF) for research initiatives within the school. The funding for the SRF comes from a shift in the funding model for out of state student academic appointee (SAA) research assistants. Previously, the school covered 100% of the out of state fee differential (~$20,000 for 24 Credit Hours) for SAA research assistants funded by grants. The recommended language is as follows: In-state tuition continue to be budgeted on grants. The school will pick up 90% (~$18,000) of the out of state differential incurred by out of state students. The remaining 10% (~$2,000) of the out of state tuition differential will be incurred by the grant. The 10% realized by this change will be invested in the SRF.
In addition, the taskforce recommends that this fee be charged to external grants and gifts, and not to RAs paid for with startup funds.
Implementation: To simplify grant proposal budget creation, each year a flat fee will be calculated to apply to proposals and SAA appointments. This applies to both academic year and summer SAA appointments. This would go into effect FY 2022-2023.
It is estimated that this new funding model would, once fully implemented, provide $100,000 to $150,000 of research funding to the SRF. Each year the ADR will solicit ideas/proposals from faculty and research groups for research opportunities that could significantly enhance the research reputation and impact of the school. Faculty who do not currently have access to research funds (including their 22 account) may apply for small seed grants at any time. They may contact the ADR for more information.
Recommendation 6: Retain Course Buyout Policy
Notes: Course Buyouts are a valuable tool for faculty to allocate more time to research using grant funds. The taskforce recommends keeping this policy and referring to it in the school’s research policy.
The Faculty Workload Guideline addresses course buyouts using grant funds. The research policy should refer to these guidelines so faculty may easily find them. Currently, a course buyout is 15% of their academic year salary. In addition, faculty cannot reduce their teaching through any mechanism beyond a 1-1 load without permission of the dean. Course buyouts must be coordinated with the faculty member’s chair. Faculty can make requests for particular courses, but the chair makes the final decision based on departmental needs.
Recommendation 7: Allocation of Academic Year Salary Savings on Grant Budgets
Notes: In rare cases, a faculty member may need to put a portion of their academic year time on a grant budget. The taskforce recommends addressing this case explicitly in the research policy. The taskforce further recommends that the salary savings be split between the faculty member, department and school.
When creating grant proposals, PIs sometimes have the opportunity to budget a portion of their academic year salary on a grant outside of the course buyout policy mentioned above, resulting in a “salary savings” for the school. Note that this is discouraged by NSF policy, but is encouraged by some other agencies, such as DoD and NIH. The taskforce recommends including language in the research policy to clarify how this works, such as: Depending on their Research-Teaching-Service balance, faculty can put up to their research % of their academic year salary on a research grant (the standard research load for TT faculty is 40%).
The taskforce further recommends a distribution of the salary savings that benefits the faculty and department: the school retains 25% of the salary savings, the primary department for the faculty gets 25%, and the faculty member gets 50% of the salary savings returned to their faculty account.
Recommendation 8: Return for academic time to grant
All the cost charged for academic time to external grants will be returned to the PI's research account, up to 40% of the faculty member's FTE. This cost can be used for teaching buyout but cannot be used for supplement pay.
Recommendation 9: Cost Share
Notes: The taskforce recommends making explicit the differences between external and internal cost share in the Research Policy and how such a cost share commitment might impact ICR return to the faculty. The taskforce also recommends a streamlined process for negotiating cost share commitments from the school..
While cost sharing is prohibited for most federally funded programs, it does exist outside of federal funding. Cost share, however, is a resource the school must be strategic about. The taskforce recommends the research policy specifically indicate that cost share will be granted if and only if i) the agreement is made prior to grant submission, and ii) the PI contributes a proportional portion of the expected ICR return that will come to them should the proposal be funded.
Internal (IU) Grants
There are many internal grant opportunities for faculty at different stages of their career. Some opportunities require a cost share. This cost share comes from the school, and not departmental budgets. Thus, when a departmental or school approval is required, the faculty must work with the ADR for such approval. The taskforce further recommends that the current informal policy be included in an updated research policy, with the following text: For internal grant budgets less than a total of $75k1, cost share does not require prior approval. If required, a letter of support must be solicited from the Associate Dean for Research 10 days prior to the deadline. Upon submission to campus, PIs must email the proposal and budget to firstname.lastname@example.org so they have access to them when campus notifies the school of any awards going to Luddy faculty.
For larger internal grants (>$75k)2, faculty must get prior approval from the Associate Dean for Research during the proposal phase. There may be some negotiation about the scope of the project during this phase, so faculty are encouraged to contact the ADR as early as possible in the process.
1: The Faculty Research Support Program (FRSP) is a common example of such a smaller grant.
2: The Grand Challenges, Emerging Areas of Research, and Research Equipment Fund (REF) are examples of larger internal grant opportunities.
Recommendation 10: Graduate Student Program and Research
Notes: The taskforce recognizes the interdependence of teaching and research in a leading research institution like IU. Our educational mission is strengthened by our research mission, and visa versa. The uncertainty around, and reduction in, AI positions in recent years has made performing high-quality research a challenge. The taskforce would like to see research as an explicit input into the determination of the number and allocation of AI position.
Research relies on having a healthy AI pool from which to draw RAs, as well as having AI positions available to help make up the guaranteed 5 years of funding most incoming PhD students have upon arrival. However, historically, research needs have not transparently been a part of the determination of AI spots. Indeed, the process has been a mystery, leading to frustration amongst the faculty. The taskforce recognizes that educational and budgetary needs also play into these decisions, and thus requests a future taskforce be comprised to formulate how these allocations are made. This future taskforce should have a representative of research in the school. Items such as RA positions left vacant, upcoming RA needs, new faculty needs, and faculty:PhD student ratio should be considered.