Deputy Director & Vice President for Research

Startup Funds

Policy Statement

Startup funds are provided by the Institution to a newly appointed member of the Scientific Staff for the express purpose of establishing his/her laboratory and providing the necessary equipment and other tools needed to begin independent research at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Startup funds are derived from our Overhead, and, as such, are subject to certain restrictions which are described in the policy.

The amount of start-up funds allocated to each newly appointed member of the Scientific Staff is established by the Deputy Director and Vice President for Research (DDVPR) after discussions with the new appointee and his/her Department Chair or Center Director. The appointee should prepare a detailed budget prior to these discussions.

Definitions

Equipment

Equipment means tangible property (including information technology systems) having a useful life of more than one year and a per-unit acquisition cost which equals or exceeds $5000.

 

Fabricated Equipment

Equipment of a detailed, proven and documented design that will be built at WHOI. The title of the equipment will ultimately be retained by WHOI and the equipment is not transferred elsewhere. (Procedures and Guidance for Fabricated Equipment)

Individual

The person receiving startup funds, a newly appointed Scientist to the Scientific Staff. The Individual is designated as the Principal Investigator on the startup account.

 

Overhead

Funds obtained from the indirect costs charged on projects.  Indirect costs are determined from yearly negotiated government rates.

 

Project-specific costs

Costs that are for a particular project. These are designated in the project budget as direct costs such as salary, equipment, supplies, ship-time, travel, etc.

 

Sponsored research projects

Projects that have been awarded by an external government or non-government agency, or foundation, or are awarded with internal funds.  

Duration of Start-up funds

Startup funds are allocated to an Individual appointed to the Scientific Staff after the Individual’s appointment start date. Start-up funds should be spent within 18 months of receiving the start-up project account.  Funds remaining after the deadline will be forfeited. Because 18 months should be a sufficient amount of time to “get started,” an extension on the deadline will only be granted under the most extenuating circumstances (e.g., delays in lab remodeling or equipment being built at WHOI).The extension should be no more than one year with approval by the DVPR. All start-up funds must be spent and encumbrances cleared by the designated end date.

Unallowable Costs

Startup funds are intended for the purchase of items that benefit more than one research projects, existing or future. Under no circumstances should start-up funds be used for project-specific costs. Examples of such unallowable costs are

  1. ship time,
  2. analysis of project-specific samples (e.g., sequencing),
  3. the purchase of enhancements to equipment purchased on an any ongoing grant or contract,
  4. purchase of equipment budgeted on a grant or contract*,
  5. travel**,
  6. cost sharing on any ongoing grant or contract.

 *Equipment listed in a proposal or project budget cannot be purchased with startup funds because the equipment has been designated as a direct cost in the proposal budget even though the PI intends to use the items in future projects.

 **There is one exception: travel is permitted if it is required for the express purpose of investigating equipment needed to set up the lab. 

Salary and Technical Support

Startup funds may not be used to cover salary costs. The one exception is that some support may be provided for technical assistance to set up equipment (e.g., calibrating and testing of equipment) and organize the lab, but this salary support cannot be used to support sponsored research projects.

Salary and Technical Support

Startup funds may not be used to cover salary costs. The one exception is that some support may be provided for technical assistance to set up equipment (e.g., calibrating and testing of equipment) and organize the lab, but this salary support cannot be used to support sponsored research projects.

Equipment - WHOI Built and Fabricated Equipment - WHOI Built

Separate project accounts will be provided for the costs of building each different equipment item. However, one project account can be used to capture the costs of making multiples of identical equipment. All costs related to the making of equipment should be charged to the designated project account, and costs of the building of equipment should not be mingled with costs in any other start-up account.

For fabricated equipment, equipment of a proven design that will be built at WHOI, separate project accounts will be provided for the costs of fabrication for each different equipment item. However, one project account can be used to capture the costs of fabrication of multiples of identical equipment. All costs related to the fabrication should be charged to the designated project account, and costs of fabrication should not be mingled with costs in any other start-up account.

Deviations from Approved Startup Package

Substantial deviations (e.g., equipment purchases) to the negotiated start-up package should be discussed with the Individual’s Department Administrator and Department Chair who will consult with the DDVPR as there may be budget implications.

Project Account Monitoring

Startup fund commitments, allocations, and expenditures will be monitored within the Individual’s Department.

Budgeting Yearly Spending

Each spring or summer, Individuals with startup accounts shall be asked to budget their start-up expenditures for the subsequent year.

Property Transfer

For the purposes of startup, an Individual, who is receiving property from another custodian of the property, should submit a property transfer form.

Contacts

If you have questions about specific issues or need assistance with the interpretation of this policy, contact:

Deputy Director and Vice President for Research (DDVPR)

Research Administrator

Manager of Regulatory Compliance

Department Administrators

Last updated: March 15, 2017