Good Question!

The Division of Research staff have noted several frequently asked questions from the FAU Research Community. Below is a listing of some of the top inquiries with answers. For more information, please contact Dr. Karin Scarpinato, Executive Associate Vice President, DOR at kscarpinato@fau.edu.

Why do we not give higher “indirect cost return” back to our faculty?  

According to Florida Statue 1004.22, all SUS Offices of Sponsored Research must be funded via indirect cost return (IDC). Therefore, the majority of funds are spent on DoR operations and infrastructure. The DoR is able to give a percentage of the IDC return back to each college in support of research activity. In addition to providing support services, DOR invests in things like equipment, lab renovations and other assets that will support the research enterprise. With overall FAU research activity on the rise, IDC will inevitably grow over time. This will allow DOR to continually develop new initiatives (pilot and bridge funding programs, post-doc support, etc.) designed to support and advance research.

Why are resources spent on FAU’s Research Pillars?  

President John Kelly’s “Race to Excellence” 2015-2025 strategic plan for FAU established the four research pillars: “…the institution will invest in focused Pillars and Platforms to enhance interdisciplinary teams. By connecting the most talented faculty, staff, and students, the University will expand upon a robust culture of globally-respected research and inquiry.” Between fiscal years 2016 - 2021, the pillars have allowed the colleges to hire 17 faculty members through the joint hiring program. They have also generated $76,425,230 in research awards. The return on investment, when compared to their budgets during this same period, is 219%. All departments can benefit from the pillars via collaborative efforts. For more information on how to initiate collaborations, contact Dr. Karin Scarpinato, kscarpinato@fau.edu.

Why is DoR not providing pilot, bridge or seed funding?  

Due to Florida Statute 1004.22 referenced above, DoR currently does not have the funds to invest in pilot funding. Such funding is currently available through the Pillars and most of the colleges. As overall FAU grant activity increases, this will eventually create a surplus of IDC, which will then allow funding for pilot and bridge funding, along with other initiatives. To learn more about existing pilot funding through the pillars or colleges, contact Dr. Karin Scarpinato, kscarpinato@fau.edu or your dean.

Why does the DoR budget appear inflated compared to other FAU units?  

The DoR budget is comprised of funding from a variety of sources, such as IDC return, E&G funding and carry-forward. Each source of funding can only be used for specific expenses and may not be exchanged. The budget appears inflated due to balances from multiple-year research faculty startup commitments, and one-time carry-forward allocations for improvements to research infrastructure.

Why does DoR Sponsored Programs have a “5-day rule” for submitting my grant application to them ahead of the sponsor deadline?  

Sponsored Programs ensures that every single requirement noted in an FOA is met and that all components of the grant are present, the application fulfills the sponsor’s formatting guidelines and includes the required content. In addition, they review the budget for any discrepancy with the sponsor’s requirements. At any given time, the office reviews multiple applications simultaneously, so they need at least 5 days to ensure proper review.

Why does DoR Comparative Medicine charge a fee for the use of the surgical suite?  

The fees cover maintenance and upkeep. The space used for surgeries needs to be kept in pristine condition, complying with the IACUC’s Policy for Sanitization. Labor is involved in sanitizing the space and keeping it organized. CM provides several items that are covered by the fee including surgical prep material, ancillary heat devices, hot bead sterilizer, anesthesia equipment, and specific PPE.

Why do I need to buy my own supplies for sanitizing equipment in procedural rooms within CM managed spaces?  

This only applies if the equipment in the procedure room is not a part of a Research Core, e.g. the neurobehavioral core, or an agreement is in place with the CM core. In these cases, the owner of the equipment is responsible for upkeep and maintenance. Sanitation of equipment and space is associated with expenses such as labor, chemicals, other supplies for cleaning, and verification of sanitation efficacy (e.g. ATP testing) and is commonly associated with a particular fee. Fees are specific and paid by only those researchers who are using the service.

Why is there a mandate to buy certain drugs and supplies through Comparative Medicine?  

Many of the drugs and supplies require a veterinary license for purchase. Because of that, purchasing through CM is often less expensive. To ensure compliance with federal regulations, CM also compares the drugs/supplies requested against the approved IACUC protocol. This protocol requires that pharmaceutical grade drugs need to be used, unless unavailable (e.g. experimental compounds) or cannot be used for a specific scientific reason.