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CAMPUS SPOTLIGHT


Glenisson de Oliveira

Principle investigator for RITES (Rhode Island Technology Enhanced Science), Dr. de Oliveira wraps-up and reflects on what contributed to the program’s success.

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Release Time / Effort Calculation

Sponsors recognize that successfully managing a grant-funded program or conducting research can take significant time and effort. Unless disallowed in the RFP, most programs allow the applicant to request 'release time' or a 'course release' in the proposal budget.

Budgeting a percentage of the PI's time in the proposal allows the:

  • PI to be freed from teaching obligations for that same percentage of time;
  • College to be reimbursed (and hire a replacement) for the courses the PI will not teach by doing grant-funded work.

Academic Year Release Time and Budgeting

The translational chart below shows the percent of effort and person-months for course hours based on the standard 24 credit hour/9-month courseload. For example: a PI determines that s/he needs to teach one fewer 3-credit course per semester to conduct the sponsored program or research. (Note that 3 credit hours represent 9 hours of work/week: 1 hour of classroom and 2 hours of preparation per credit hour.) One 3-credit course per semester equals 6 credits over two semesters, or 25% of the annual effort of 24 credit hours. To calculate the budgeted dollar value of 25% effort, the PI multiplies her/his annual salary and fringe by 25%. Salary and fringe are shown separately on two different budget lines.

Salary and fringe benefit information can be obtained from Human Resources. Disclosing proposed release time is a particularly important part of the institutional approval process. This notice allows department chairs to plan effectively for course scheduling and required adjuncts.

Please note that most Federal sponsors only allow academic year salaries to be awarded for the purpose of release time or offload as the support is intended to free the PI from teaching obligations and to enable him/her to conduct the proposed work. Effort exceeding 100% and salary budgeting intended to be used as additional salary to the PI is often expressly disallowed. The RIC AFT also notes an extra compensation restriction on page 57 of the 2007-2010 contract, which reads: "No academic year faculty shall receive as extra compensation, exclusive of summer session and department chairperson stipend, any more than 20 percent of his/her academic year salary in any single academic year and normally may not carry more than four (4) formula hours outside of load in any semester."

Summer Effort

Summer effort is considered outside the 9-month academic year appointment. Similar to summer course pay, summer work is additional pay to the PI, not reimbursement to the institution. Summer effort is calculated by the number of months spent working on the grant, not as a percentage of effort or number of credit hours. This means that (for example) a PI who anticipates spending 1 month of summer time working on a grant project should calculate and budget 1/9th of the value of his/her annual salary into the proposal. Fringe benefits should not be calculated or incorporated into a summer pay line.

PIs should consider spending no more than 2 out of 3 summer months performing grant work. Some sponsors will (by policy) not fund more than 2 months; others may question whether the PI is truly going to take zero days off in the summer which is the impression given by budgeting a full 3 months of effort.

Hourly Rates

Hourly rates may be more useful to budget when a PI is consulting or the grant work will not require enough time to merit a course release. To calculate an hourly rate, the PI should divide the sum total of her/his annual salary and fringe by 1,472, the number of working hours in the academic year (number of working days [184] in the academic calendar multiplied by 8 hours per workday).

Note Regarding Hiring of Additional Personnel

Please note that proposing to hire new and/or additional grant-funded personnel (while a part of the institutional approval process) typically requires additional lead-time, approvals, and effort prior to proposal submission.

The numbers of full-time equivalents (FTEs) employed by the college is governed by the Board of Governors of Higher Education. This standard applies to all personnel, including those whose positions are funded with grant ("soft") money. With the college typically operating very close to its state-mandated FTE limit, any new positions must undergo a more thorough review and approval process by additional staff and departments beyond the standard applied for typical institutional approval.

Please take this into account and begin the institutional approval process at least one month in advance of the proposal deadline in order to ensure a timely submission.

Translation Chart Showing Credit-Hour Offload Versus Percent Effort Versus Person-Months

Credit Hours (based on standard annual 24 hour load) % Effort (out of 100) Person-Months (based on standard annual 9-month appointment)
0 0.0% 0
2.4 10.0% 0.9
2.67 11.1% 1
3 12.5% 1.125
4 16.7% 1.5
4.8 20.0% 1.8
5.33 22.2% 2
6 25.0% 2.25
7.2 30.0% 2.7
8 33.3% 3
9 37.5% 3.375
9.6 40.0% 3.6
12 50.0% 4.5
14.4 60.0% 5.4
15 62.5% 5.625
16 66.7% 6
16.8 70.0% 7.3
18 75.0% 6.75
19.2 80.0% 7.2
20 83.3% 7.5
21 87.5% 7.875
21.6 90.0% 8.1
24 100.0% 9
Credit Hours (based on standard annual 24 hour load) % Effort (out of 100) Person-Months (based on standard annual 9-month appointment)

Page last updated: August 30, 2013