Research incentive scheme


The research incentive scheme, established in November 2001, rewards those successful in obtaining research contracts or grants that carry overheads. The scheme permits the principal investigator of such grants to spend a percentage of the overheads earned on those contracts or grants.

Allocation and administration

Funds are allocated in October each year on the basis of overheads earned in the preceding financial year. From time to time, Finance Committee considers changes to scheme allocations and reports agreed changes to Department Committee.

The scheme is administered by the finance team.

Eligible expenditure and funds expiry

Research incentive funds may be used for academic expenses (for the principal investigator or members of his research group), such as travel, books, furniture, computing, etc. Funds remain available to PIs until two years after the end of the grant from which the overheads were earned. Monies remaining after that date revert to the department.


Principal investigator: funds are normally allocated to the principal investigator (or co-principal investigators, where identified and agreed) named on the application or contract, which is taken to mean the scientist-in-charge for the project, or the lead scientific member of the research project and team.

Non-permanent faculty and research fellows with independent funding: research incentive funds accrued on independent fellowships or on contracts or grants held by non-permanent faculty, are allocated to the faculty member who sponsored the application.

Departing faculty: where a principal investigator leaves the employment of the department but the grant (or a portion thereof) remains, half of the research incentive allocations will be given to the new principal investigator in the department, with the other half reverting to the department.


1. Research-active emeriti may continue to accrue research incentive funds in retirement. Research-active emeriti who retain full scientific responsibility and leadership of a project of which they are principal investigator, will receive the whole research incentive allocation.

2. Where a grant was obtained by someone who retires before the grant ends and scientific responsibility for the grant is transferred to a new principal investigator, the research incentive funds accrued on that grant after the date of retirement of the original principal investigator should normally be split evenly between the research-active emeritus and the new principal investigator on the grant, on the grounds that the new principal investigator will assume full scientific responsibility for, and leadership of, the project. Uneven splits may be negotiated, but should be agreed in writing before the change in principal investigator takes effect.

3. Where the retiring principal investigator on a continuing grant does not remain research-active, half the research incentive funds from the continuing grant will be allocated to the new principal investigator, and the remainder will revert to the department. Funds accrued before the date of retirement revert to the department.

Non-departmental staff

Research incentive funds are only disbursed to salaried members of the department.

Overspends or potential overspends on individual research incentive accounts

1. Overspends are not permitted.

2. Once an individual account is overdrawn, no further amounts may be charged, except for standing charges (eg, telephone charges), until the balance becomes positive.

3. Account should be taken for any expected standing charges when deciding whether or not a principal investigator can spend (example: if a principal investigator has a £300 balance but with £500 of telephone charges expected in the coming year, the account balance should be viewed as -£200 and no further spend should be permitted).

4. Regular financial reports will be distributed to principal investigators, which will include notification of when the balance falls to or below £50.