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Allocation of Credit for Externally Funded Research Activity


To describe the guidelines used to calculate credit received by investigators, academic units, and research centers for externally sponsored projects.

Applies to: 

Principal investigators, deans, department chairs and research center directors.

Policy Statement: 

In the various reports of sponsored project activity on the KU-Lawrence campus, (including the Office of Research Annual Report), proposals, awards, and expenditures for each project are assigned to both academic units and research centers and other non-academic units. Amounts are credited to academic units based on the academic appointments of the principal investigator (PI) and co-investigators (CPIs). Projects that are assigned to a research center are also credited to the specified unit. Because all projects are credited to both academic units and research centers, the totals for academic and non-academic research units are equal, and each reflects the total amount from externally funded grants and contracts.

Credit to academic units

The assignment of project credit to academic units is a two-step process. First, the amount of the proposal, award, or expenditure is allocated among investigators on multiple investigator projects. Second, the amount allocated to each investigator is assigned to academic units based on each investigator's academic appointments. This process is described below.

Allocation among investigators

Credit for multiple investigator projects is allocated among the PI and CPIs based on their relative contributions to the project, as specified by the PI. If no allocation is specified, a default allocation is calculated as follows: 90% of the credit is divided equally among all investigators, including the PI. The remaining 10% is added to the credit allocated to the PI. For example, for a project with one PI and one CPI, the PI would receive 55% (=10% + 90%/2) of the credit, and the CPI would receive 45% (=90%/2). For projects one PI and two CPIs, the PI would receive 40% and the CPIs 30% each.

Allocation to academic units

The amount allocated to each PI and CPI on a project is assigned to academic units according to the investigators' academic appointment(s). If the investigator has more than one academic appointment, then the total is distributed proportionately. If an investigator has a courtesy appointment from an academic unit but no other academic appointment, then the academic unit making the courtesy appointment receives all of the investigator credit for the project. If the PI has no academic appointments, then the credit is not assigned to an academic unit, but is included in a "non-academic" category.

Credit to research centers and other non-academic units

PIs may assign their projects to a research center or other non-academic unit. When a project is assigned to a research center/unit, that unit will receive credit for all activity on that project. Projects not assigned to a research center are considered "non-center research". The assigned research unit is usually, but not necessarily, the same as the administrative unit, which is the academic department or research center/unit that managed the project. Each project must have an administrative unit, but does not need to be assigned to a research center/unit.


Office of Research

Approved by: 
Vice Chancellor for Research
Approved on: 
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Effective on: 
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)

An important function of research centers is to promote collaborative efforts between researchers from different academic disciplines. When credit is given to only an academic unit OR a research center, a potential disincentive to participate in such joint efforts may arise. However, if the academic unit AND the research center both receive credit, then the deans of the academic units and the directors of the research centers will benefit from their joint efforts.

Allocation, Externally Funded Research, Research Centers, Academic Units, Research Expenditures, Sponsored Project Activity, Proposal Awards
Change History: 

02/06/2020: Updated Contact section.
10/01/2018: Updated Contact section.
01/18/2018: Updated policy and contact information.
07/01/2016: Updated to remove gendered pronouns.
12/18/2014: Policy formatting cleanup (e.g., bolding, spacing).
06/16/2014: Updated to reflect title change for Vice Chancellor of Research, and to fix minor formatting issues; updated Campus to 'Lawrence'.
05/21/2013: Revised.

Research and Sponsored Projects Category: 
Research and Sponsored Projects

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