Faculty Incentives

Dear Public Health Faculty,

As I begin my deanship, one of my primary goals is to further enhance and diversify the School’s research portfolio. Research is an important source of funding for the School that has a direct impact on our overall reputation locally, nationally, and globally. I am excited to announce two programs to incentivize productivity for both tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty; the Incentive for New Grants and the Indirect Cost Incentive Program

I look forward to working together with all of you to achieve our research goals.

Bess H. Marcus, PhD
Dean, School of Public Health

Although the School of Public Health research portfolio is growing, for the past several years indirect cost revenue as a percentage of direct costs has declined from 37.5% in FY15 to 33.4% in FY17.  With the goal of increasing indirect cost revenue, Dean Marcus is launching a new incentive program that will reward Principal Investigators who receive new grants or contracts with full indirect costs.  The University’s indirect cost rate is 62.5% in FY 18.  The Dean is funding this incentive program with her startup funds for 3 years.  If the incentive program achieves its goal of increasing our research portfolio and indirect cost revenue, it will be extended.  Program details can be found here.

Indirect costs are an important source of revenue for the School of Public Health. With the goal of increasing indirect cost revenue, this new incentive program will reward Principal Investigators whose indirect costs are among the highest in the School.  Dean Marcus is funding this incentive program with her startup funds for 2 years.  If the incentive program achieves its goal of increasing our research portfolio and indirect cost revenue, it will be extended. You can find more details by following this link.

The School of Public Health sponsors a Grant Incentive Program (GIP) for all tenure track faculty and those term faculty who have a portion of their salary guaranteed by the School.  Under this program, a percentage of the salary/fringe, which is offset by external funding from grants and contracts, is transferred to a flexible research reserve account that can be used for research and academic purposes.  External funding  DOES NOT include support from internal University funds or support for faculty time which is purchased by affiliated hospitals outside of a standard research contract with indirect costs. Faculty GIP accounts accumulate over budget years, but terminate if the faculty leave Brown.  Examples and more details are available here.

When faculty have substantial research funding in the form of salary support, under some circumstances they may “buy out” of one of their two required courses. Examples and more details are available here.

Tenured and tenure track faculty with 10-month appointments may receive compensation for up to two additional months of salary during the months of July and August. The summer salary is not part of the tenure guarantee, but may be supported with startup funds, grant incentive program (GIP) funds, other institutional funds or funds for sponsored research. Further information on the policy can be found here.

School of Public Health Seed Grant Program:  Connecting Faculty Collaborators Across Centers 

The School’s research program is built around the constellation of Centers and Institutes that stimulate and support research in a number of important thematic areas.  However, the connections of faculty investigators to Centers are largely exclusive, with every member of the faculty having a primary research home in only one Center.  In addition, in most cases nearly all of the Center’s faculty investigators come from the same academic Department.  This model has been extremely successful, but the collective benefits of the Centers to the School as a whole have not been fully realized, in part because of the exclusivity of the investigator--Center relationships.   
The School environment in which Centers operate has expanded considerably as we have grown, and this new seed grant program is intended to facilitate enhanced research productivity by connecting faculty researchers with other researchers outside their Center with complementary interests.  The strategy is intended to stimulate new, highly competitive grant applications that likely would not have been developed otherwise, connecting motivated, capable investigators across Centers.   

Objective:  This School of Public Health Seed Grant program will provide three awards of up to $20,000 each to new teams of investigators.  The intent of these funds is to support new applications for external funding that bring together two or more faculty researchers from different Centers who have not worked together previously but have complementary interests and capabilities.  For this investment of resources to be effective, there needs to be a research topic that aligns with the academic interests of the team of investigators, a realistic potential for securing new research funding, and a clear plan for conducting the pilot work and developing an application for external funding.  Funded research would follow the current School model in which the overhead return to the Centers is determined by the allocation of direct costs.   

This program is designed to address a need in the School to complement the Center structure, which provides one important mechanism for collaborative work, with a School-wide program that encourages faculty to come together in new and creative ways around shared interests and complementary talents. This program is not meant to replicate other seed grant programs that exist in OVPR, the Center for AIDS Research, the Advance-CTR and Center-specific sources of funds for collecting pilot data.  These applications should bring together two or more faculty investigators who (1) have not previously been collaborators on funded research, (2) who are affiliated with different Centers, (3) have a primary appointment in the School of Public Health, and (4) intend to submit the resulting proposal for external funding through the School of Public Health. 

The application must include: 

  • Description of Proposed Research: This must include aims, significance, and approach, and how the findings would contribute to a competitive proposal for external funding (max 3 pages).
  • Investigator Statement:  Statement that explains how the new partnership will benefit the members of the research team, how the collaboration may advance public health research, and the potential for a broader, sustainable program of research built around these shared interests (max 1 page).
  • Timeline for conducting pilot work and submitting an application for external research funding, the specific candidate funding sources, and detail about how the work fits with the funding source’s funding priorities (max 1 page).
  • Proposed budget and justification (faculty salary support not permitted) (max 1 page)
  • NIH Biosketches of all investigators involved in the research.

Proposals will be reviewed by a committee of selected faculty with broad experience and specific expertise in the area of the application who are not in direct conflict with the submissions.  Proposals will be evaluated based on an assessment of the contribution the research will make to the goal of connecting faculty collaborators across research Centers, the merit of the research proposal, and the perceived likelihood that the research will contribute meaningfully to a proposal for external funding. 

Applications are due September 30, 2018 and decisions will be made by November 15, 2018 with funding to begin January 1, 2019. Please contact David Savitz, Associate Dean for Research, with questions ([email protected]) or to discuss plans as they are being developed.