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F&A Distribution Policy Changes Double Allocation to Faculty

Growing the scale and eminence of our research enterprise, increasingly scholarly activity, and striving for excellence in teaching are 3 critical components of our strategic plan and our path to become a Carnegie R1 institution.

In pursuit of our goal to grow funded research at SLU, I am eager to announce that I have approved a plan that will immediately double the amount of indirect cost (IDC) revenue returned to our faculty. This new policy ensures that the faculty’s share of indirect costs will grow as we succeed together in our university-wide goal to double our research enterprise.

Effective immediately, SLU’s central budget will cap its share of IDCs at $7.5m/FY. Every dollar above that will be distributed and principal investigators will receive 45% of the distribution. As we grow, the faculty’s share will grow. This fiscal year, we estimate faculty will receive 10% of the total IDCs, up from 5% in FY17.

With the amount returned to chairs and deans, SLU will reinvest more than $2m back into the research enterprise this year alone. When we reach $100m in annual research expenditures, the faculty’s share will have grown to more than 25% of total IDCs collected — or $5m. Further information can be found on the FAQ page. 

The cost of research excellence is high, but the reward is great. Maintaining SLU’s facilities and administrative infrastructure for research costs significantly more than $7.5m, but I believe it is essential to enable faculty to invest in their own research programs — to be empowered as entrepreneurs as we envisioned in our strategic plan. I have heard from you that you want an ambitious culture of scholarship and research. I agree. This deliberate investment in our faculty is one step in that process and reflects our confidence in our faculty’s ability to compete at the highest levels when they have appropriate support.

External funding for research is not critical to many of the scholarly disciplines in academe but achieving and maintaining eminence in those where it is requires a serious commitment to growth. Our success will create research opportunities for undergraduates, enable better support for graduate students, allow us to acquire equipment for laboratories and classrooms, and ultimately succeed in hiring the next generation of first-rate scholars and scientists. 

A critical early step in accelerating our research growth ambitions is to submit 20%-30% more proposals this year than last year. I encourage you to work with the Office of the Vice President for Research to turn your ambitious ideas into outstanding research proposals and programs. 

This change in IDC policy is the product of many individuals committed to enhancing SLU’s research enterprise. I have heard from those who participated in this initiative that it was a thorough, collaborative, and rich experience, which led to the consensus on the proposal I received. I would like to thank the Sponsored Programs Operational Excellence Initiative Team (sponsored by Drs. Enrico Di Cera and Riyadh Hindi), and the Operational Excellence Budget Model Initiative Team (sponsored by Drs. Mardell Wilson and Kent Porterfield). Provost Brickhouse, CFO David Heimburger, Vice President for Medical Affairs/Dean of Medicine Kevin Behrns, Vice President for Research Ken Olliff, Associate VP for Research Matthew Christian, and many others who were part of teams and gave critical feedback throughout the project. 

At the heart of our mission as a Catholic, Jesuit research university is the pursuit of knowledge in order to transform lives. I am confident we will achieve our ambitions, even beyond what we might have imagined. 


Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D.