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Facilities and Administration Revenue Share FAQ

Find answers to commonly asked questions about facilities and administration revenue share at Saint Louis University.

What are F&A costs?

Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs: Overhead and administrative allowance are costs incurred in support of sponsored programs, in general, but not identifiable with any single project. The majority of these costs are tied to the buildings and utilities where research is done; there are other costs such as clerical, accounting, and legal built into this negotiated rate as well. The Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) is responsible for negotiating the rate and distributing the F&A revenue collected from sponsored awards.

How does the old formula differ from the new one?

Under current policy, F&A revenue is distributed as follows:

  • 80 percent: Central Budget (with a minimum of $7.5M)
  • 5 percent: PIs
  • 5 percent: Departments
  • 7 percent: Deans
  • 3 percent: OVPR

The new policy sets a flat rate of return to central budget of $7.5M and distributes every additional dollar as follows:

  • 45 percent: PIs
  • 25 percent: Departments
  • 15 percent: Deans
  • 15 percent: OVPR

Looking at the distributions from FY17, we have compared the old formula to the new one:

FY 17 Actual Distribution

New Formula

Total F&A

$9,416,8178

100%

$9,416,818

100%

Central

$7,533,455

80%

$7,500,000

79.6%

PIs

$470,841

5%

$862,568

9.2%

Chairs

$470,841

5%

$479,205

5.1%

Deans

$1,130,018

7%

$287,523

3.1%

OVPR

$282,505

3%

$287,523

3.1%

The OVPR is currently predicting 6 percent growth in F&A Revenue during FY18. If that happens, distribution would be as follows:

FY 17 Actual Distribution

FY18 Projected

Total F&A

$9,416,8178

100%

$9,981,827

100%

Central

$7,533,455

80%

$7,500,000

75.2%

PIs

$470,841

5%

$1,116,822

11.2%

Chairs

$470,841

5%

$620,457

6.2%

Deans

$1,130,018

7%

$372,274

3.7%

OVPR

$282,505

3%

$372,274

3.7%

Based on the numbers through the end of February, faculty could anticipate a return of at least 10 percent of the F&A associated with their grants. Because the central budget portion is capped, the percentage returned to faculty and schools grows quickly if SLU has a growing research enterprise.

Why set a minimum? Why not distribute from the first dollar?

Under the old formula, many of the decisions about scholarly and scientific investments were made centrally. The new formula puts more of those investment decisions in the hands of those faculty pursuing funded research.

Nevertheless, it costs far more than $7.5 million to operate SLU’s research enterprise. $7.5 million represents a minimal recovery for the central budget. SLU is investing in faculty now in order to grow the whole enterprise with the hope that in future years, it will be able to recover enough F&A revenue to support both central investments and local ones.

If the university always takes the first $7.5 million, a bad year in one school could hurt the revenue sharing for everyone.

This is true. We have not elected to change from current policy in this regard. We must work together as a University to grow the research enterprise.

Under the new policy, faculty and schools will now receive 85 percent of the F&A revenue above $7.5 million, creating both the capacity to invest in sponsored research programs and a strong incentive to do so. This incentive also encourages faculty to support each other across departments and schools – individual PIs gain more when the entire university succeeds.

Why five years?

This is an investment by the University in our scientific and scholarly enterprise. We have committed to this revenue sharing agreement for five years, so PIs can plan for investments in personnel and equipment during the periods of their funded research using their portion of the recovered F&A dollars.

The university will eventually need to collect a larger portion of F&A revenue. We will therefore revisit the policy periodically to see if there are opportunities to return some of the growth in revenue to the central budget without adversely impacting our faculty’s ability to invest in research.

Why not keep the current policy in place and use the amount allocated to the central budget to add more money to seed funding programs such as the PRF, Spark Grants and Big Ideas?

We need many forms of investment. Faculty, departments and schools must have the resources necessary to invest in the most promising new areas of research – and those closest to the research often know best where the opportunities are. This policy supports local investments.

It is equally important to ensure that the other forms of central funding continue to be available to seed new areas of opportunity or provide partial matches when PIs, departments and schools decide to invest F&A dollars in new opportunities. The OVPR share of F&A revenue goes entirely to support new research programs. We will also continue to seek philanthropic support to grow these kinds of central funding programs.

When will we get the F&A dollars? How will we know how much to expect?
Distributions will normally take place after the fiscal year books are finalized, typically in September of the following academic year. Throughout the year, the OVPR will include monthly results and annual forecasts in the weekly research news. In years where the central budget amount is met early in the year, the OVPR may elect to provide a partial distribution to PIs during the academic year.