New Faculty Start-up Funding

New Request

New faculty start-up requests for Office of Research funding should originate with and be filled out by the department head and then be sent to the Office of Research Finance Officer, Branden Blanchard (, for review and routing for signatures through DocuSign.

money check slip

Download and Complete the Budget Outline

paper plane

Submit Completed Document to Branden Blanchard

Guidance for New Faculty Research Start-up Funding Requests Involving the Office of Research (OR)

Updated 11/03/2023

The Office of Research (OR) partners with departments, colleges, and research centers to provide funding to assist new tenure-track or tenured faculty hires with establishing their research program at USU. This funding should position the faculty member to pursue external funding, especially F&A generating grants and contracts.

This guidance document is designed to assist Department Heads in the preparation of requests for new faculty start-up funding to OR. It is also intended to be a resource for the new faculty member and support staff to understand the terms and use of funding. The guidelines are reviewed and updated annually with input from the Department Head Exec Committee.

General Comments

  • OR research start-up funding is intended to match or fund costs for the research, scholarship, or creative activities of faculty members. It is for new tenure-track or tenured faculty hires having research as a portion of their role statement.
  • The available funding from OR, up to 50%, will be proportional to the new faculty member's research role as indicated on their role statement (e.g., 45% funding support may be provided by OR for a faculty member with a 45% role assignment for research).
  • OR funding begins in the semester when employment begins. The initiation of OR new faculty funding for ABD candidates may differ (see below under “Index Set-up and Transfer of Funds”).
  • Due to the structure of F&A return, OR does not provide start-up funding for new faculty at the USU Eastern or Blanding campuses.
  • Pre-approval is required for OR funding commitments prior to making an offer, verbal or written.
  • Funding requests to OR for $175,000 or greater require a discussion involving the VPR, Dean, Department Head, and/or Center Director. Meetings can be scheduled by contacting Teresa Seeholzer at 797-1180 or
  • An annual budget review involving the faculty member, business support team, and OR may be required on agreements with OR funding of $175,000 or greater.
  • The VPR reserves the right to decline specific funding or matching requests.

Best Practices

  • OR strongly encourages Department Heads to have discussions with the candidate to create a list of needs that will assist them in becoming successful in their research.
  • Significant consideration should be given to resources already available at USU that can be leveraged (e.g., existing equipment, core facilities, standard USU Facilities upgrades to address office refreshing, etc.).
  • OR encourages communication during the request, funding, and closeout periods to address any changes, concerns, or questions that may arise.
  • OR encourages full transparency of the start-up funding package with the new faculty hire.

Steps for Completing the Start-up Agreement Process

  1. Request and Pre-approval
    1. The department head fills out the new faculty research start-up budget form and provides a budget detail or justification.
    2. The department head sends the proposed budget form with detail and a draft of the offer letter and role statement to OR (
    3. OR reviews the request and will either reach out with any concerns or provide an email pre-approving the request and funding commitment.
    4. The department head makes offer to candidate.
  2. Finalizing the Agreement
    1. When the offer is accepted, the department head sends the final budget form with detail and the signed offer letter and role statement to OR (
      1. A final budget form is only needed if changes to the allocation of the pre- approved commitment are needed. Otherwise, the department head can indicate that the proposed budget is final and ready for signatures.
    2. The department has 60 days from the date the offer letter is signed to provide the notice and necessary documentation to finalize the agreement. Failure to do so may result in OR rescinding the pre-approved funding commitment.
    3. OR verifies the information provided and routes the final budget form to each funding entity administrator (department head, dean, center director) for signatures. Each signee will receive a copy of the completed form.
      1.  At the department head’s request, others can be included in the signature process and receive a signed copy. The request will need to include the name and email of each person and be submitted prior to the document being routed (preferably with the final budget).
  3. Index Setup and Transfer of Funds
    1. The new faculty member’s A#, USU email address, and a unit code in their name are needed to setup the index and transfer funding. This information is typically provided to OR ( by the department’s business services team.
    2. OR submits the new index request to the Controller’s Office and will provide the information to the department’s business services team member when complete.
    3. The department and business services team member work with the faculty member to understand and manage the start-up funding.
    4. For ABD candidates, upon degree completion the department will notify OR ( to initiate set-up of the OR funding. The three-year period for OR funding will begin the semester after the notification. Other funding sources on the agreement can operate on a different timeline.

Budget Form Instructions

Top Section

  • Line items in the top section of the budget form are funded by the department, college, or other cost center and the amount is matched by OR in the remaining sections of the form. Line items in the top section need to be included in the budget detail or justification provided to OR. The amounts listed in this section will be compared to department, college, and university data for previous new faculty start-up requests (data available from Branden Blanchard).
    • Recruiting – Costs associated with the interview process (flight, hotel, meals, etc.). These are costs specific to the individual that the start-up funding is requested for and does not include those for all candidates during a search.
    • Moving – Direct payment or reimbursement of moving costs. These costs may be for a moving company or costs incurred for personal moving. This may also include travel costs for a trip to search for housing.
    • Summer Salary – Up to three months of summer salary will be matched by OR. The department will need to indicate the funding source/fund type to determine if benefits should be included.
    • Research Travel – Conference (PI only) – Costs associated with PI travel to conferences, including conference registration fees.

Equipment/Operating (E/O)

  • Line items in this section may be funded or matched by OR, departments, colleges, and other cost centers. These items must be included in the budget detail provided to OR.
    • Capital equipment (value >$5,000) must be listed on a single line.
    • Non-capital equipment and operating supplies may be batched together in similar groups (e.g., computer and peripherals, software, disposable laboratory supplies, chemicals, small tools/equipment, sample analyses, etc.).
    • Operating costs may include open access publication costs for research or creative activities performed at USU.
    • Costs associated with professional development activities to enhance research competitiveness will be considered with justification. These activities should be clearly distinguished from training already offered by OR to all faculty.
    • Projects using start-up funding to support research involving human participants must be reviewed by the USU IRB before expenditures are incurred.
    • The name and position title of the system administrator or support technician is required for all start-up requests that include devices or services as outlined in USU Policy 551: Information Security section 2.4.1.


  • To align with USU's goal of obtaining Carnegie R1 classification, OR strongly favors funding in personnel categories that influence this designation, such as graduate research assistantships and post-doctoral researchers. Line items in this section may be funded or matched by OR, departments, colleges, and other cost center. Items in this section need to be included in the budget detail or justification provided to OR.
    • Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA) – Funding commitments from all contributors are to support graduate research assistants (P03 positions only) including the salary, withholdings, and the department portion of the subsidized insurance. Funding is not to be used for tuition, fees, hiring expenditures (background checks, position postings, etc.), or the student’s portion of the subsidized insurance or fees.
    • Post-Doctoral Researcher – Funding commitments from all sources are to support an employee in a post-doctoral fellow I, II, III salaried position. Funding is not to be used for P10 or other wage hourly positions, hiring expenditures (job postings, background checks, immigration fees, etc.), travel, training, or office accommodations.
    • Undergraduate Researcher Wage Hourly – Funding commitments from all contributors are to support the wages and withholdings of undergraduate researchers. Funding is not to be used to for hiring expenditures (job postings, background checks, etc.), ACA medical insurance, or to support ongoing positions for lab technicians or managers.

Items not funded or matched by OR

  • Office supplies and furniture such as desks, chairs, couches, shelving, etc.
  • Teaching related expenditures
  • Construction costs – remodeling, structural changes, new or upgraded electrical, plumbing, IT, etc.
  • Equipment service agreements
  • Ongoing equipment O&M
  • Service center equipment
  • Vehicle purchases – vehicle rental is acceptable
  • Off-road vehicles – requests may be submitted through the OR Capital Equipment Grant Program
  • Tuition and Fees
  • Student portion of the subsidized insurance or fees
  • Hiring costs – advertising, background checks, immigration fees, etc.
  • USU HR out of state telework fees
  • ACA medical insurance - insurance for wage hourly employees that work 30+ hrs/week
  • Memberships and Dues
  • Conference travel costs for anyone other than the faculty member, including registration fees
  • USU IT - Data, telephone, service desk, etc.

Additional Details and Terms on the use of Department, College, or Cost Center funds

The Department, College, or Cost Center may choose to provide funding above the limits set on the top section or items that are not funded or matched by OR. If desired these additions and any terms can be listed on page 2 of the agreement form in the section for the funding entity.

OR Funding Contributions

  • OR contributions to the equipment/operating and personnel sections of the new faculty start-up will be paid in three installments.
    • The first installment for faculty beginning in Fall semester will be made when the faculty member is hired at USU, the second and third installments will be transferred at the start of the following fiscal years with the agreement ending June 30 of the third fiscal year (e.g., those beginning Fall 2024 (FY25) would end June 30, 2027 (FY27)).
    • For faculty hired beginning Spring semester, Jan 1 or later, installments will be annual but based on the calendar year with the agreement ending December 31 of the third calendar year (e.g., those beginning Spring 2025 (FY25) would end December 31, 2027 (FY28)).
  • OR will request new indices for equipment/operating and personnel support funded by OR. The department is responsible for all other funding indices.
  • OR will perform an annual review of the expenditures charged to the OR portion of the start-up. The results of this review will be communicated to the PI and the business services support if there are expenditures in question.
  • It is the faculty member’s responsibility to ensure that expenditures reflect the signed agreement form or any approved budget reallocations. Expenditures not approved as part of the OR funding will need to be moved to other funding sources. OR strongly encourages departmental business staff to assist faculty in annually reviewing start-up expenditures to determine that they are allowable. Any questions or concerns should be discussed with OR prior to the annual financial closure. 
  • At the end of the agreement period any unused funds from OR will be pulled back and no longer available to the faculty member. No extensions are allowed unless under circumstances wherein university policy for extended timelines is applicable.
    • The faculty member and department are responsible to ensure all expenditures associated with the agreement have been incurred and posted to the OR funded index by the end of the agreement. Expenditures not meeting these criteria will need to be removed.

Suggested Best Practices After the New Faculty Member Arrives

  • A copy of the signed start-up agreement will be shared with the faculty member to provide full transparency.
  • Assisting the new faculty member in understanding the start-up agreement and creating a spending strategy will lead to the best use of funding in the time allotted and eliminate potential frustrations. Therefore, OR recommends that new faculty and business support team attend the OR annual budget training session. Prior to the session, new faculty will receive the signed budget form and index information for the OR funded portion.

OR start-up funds cannot be used as match for other funding requests from OR (e.g., PDRF, URCO, equipment grants, etc.). Similarly, funding from other OR programs (e.g., PDRF, URCO, equipment and seed grants, etc.) cannot be used at match on start-up agreements.

Questions can be directed to Branden Blanchard at 797-9841 or