Faculty Compensation on NSF Awards

Faculty Compensation on NSF Awards

The January 2010 revisions to the National Science Foundations' (NSF) Award and Administrative Guide provided clarification to the agency's policies concerning allowable compensation for "Senior Project Personnel."

Previously the NSF policy stated that compensation for senior project personnel was limited to two summer month's salary. The salary was to be paid only during the summer based on direct effort expended towards the project during that period.

While the two month salary limit still applies, the revised policy provides several key clarifications:

  • The 2/9ths rule (two months summer salary) is not applicable to "Research Faculty" (i.e. the research scientists and similar individuals who are normally supported in whole by sponsored funding).
    • While Senior Project Personnel as a general policy are charged to projects using the two month metric, research faculty salaries may exced the two month metric and may be charged over the entire calendar or academic year.
  • For faculty where the two month rule does apply, the salary is no longer limited to just summer months. It may be proposed for the summer and/or the academic year.
  • Compensation to senior project personnel in excess of two months must be disclosed in the proposal budget, justified in the budget justification and be specifically approved by NSF in the award notice.
    • Any post award rebudgeting that would increase the compensation for senior project personnel above the two month limit requires NSF prior approval.
  • The two month salary limitation applies collectively to "salary compensation recevied from all NSF funded grants."
  • The limit applies to the institution's fiscal year, July 1 through June 30.
  • Reference: NSF Award and Adminstrative Guide
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