Faculty Research Assignments (FRAs)



Typically, the objective of an FRA is initiation, furtherance, or completion of a specific research project. Occasionally, awards are made for longer term research development. FRAs are usually not awarded merely to allow faculty members more time for research; most successful proposals encompass objectives that would be difficult to accomplish without an FRA. In any case, the proposed work must have its own coherence, limits, and purpose. FRAs are awarded only when there is a reasonable prospect that the proposed project will have a positive outcome.


Tenured faculty members (associate and full professors) who satisfy the following standard eligibility conditions may apply for a 2016 - 2017 FRA:  by the beginning of academic year 2016 - 2017 the faculty member must have completed at least four full academic years of service in residence at UT Austin since any previous FRA award.  (Example:  a tenured faculty member who was supported by an FRA at any time during the academic year 2011 - 2012 would be eligible to apply for another FRA to be held during the academic year 2016 - 2017 provided the faculty member had fulfilled his or her normal duties at UT Austin during all the intervening four academic years.)  If there is no previous FRA award, then by the beginning of academic year 2016 - 2017 the faculty member must have completed at least four full academic years of service in residence at UT Austin.

Application Procedures

All Faculty Research Assignment applications must be approved by the applicant's department chair and academic dean. Your chair will review your application and, if he or she approves it, refer it to your academic dean for further review. Your academic dean will submit those applications he or she has approved to the Faculty Development Program.

Amount, Tenure, and Terms of the Award

The maximum amount of an FRA is the equivalent of one semester's salary based on the faculty member's nine-month academic base rate during the year the award is taken. If, during the academic year, the faculty member receives any other support that provides a salary or stipend, the Faculty Development Program award may be adjusted so that the combined amount does not exceed his or her academic rate. The reduction is not automatic--for example, in some cases an FRA recipient will have extraordinary expenses in another country, and in these cases Dean Hackert will want to discuss the situation to come to a fair conclusion. In no case, however, will the maximum amount of Faculty Development Program support exceed the equivalent of one semester's salary. An award may be taken full time for one semester or half time for the academic year. If the award is taken full time for one semester (either fall or spring), it is expected that the recipient will devote full time to his or her research during the entire award period and, to prevent encroachment of teaching and/or administrative duties on research time, the recipient may not hold concurrent teaching and/or administrative appointments. If the award is taken half time for the academic year (fall and spring), the recipient is expected to devote that half time to his or her research; the other half may be used for any combination of research, teaching and/or administration. FRAs may not be extended into the summer term (June 1 through August 31).

One of the considerations in awarding a Faculty Research Assignment is the benefit that will accrue to the university. The recipient is, therefore, expected to return to normal duties at The University of Texas at Austin for at least the academic year (September 1 through May 31) following the FRA. A recipient who elects to leave the university without returning for an academic year, whether because of resignation or retirement, is obligated to reimburse the University for funds (gross salary plus fringe benefits) expended in support of the FRA (see Handbook of Operating Procedures 2-2210 for The University of Texas at Austin). The University Payroll Office, in consultation with the System's General Counsel, has informed us that the recipient is considered to be an employee of UT Austin for the period of appointment to the Faculty Research Assignment. In consequence, the recipient's W-2 from the University will show his or her income and withholding tax for the period of the appointment. If the recipient elects not to return to the university he or she is considered to be in breach of his/her contract with the university with the result that the repayment is considered a "penalty payment." It is the recipient's responsibility to inform the IRS of his or her situation and to negotiate with them any adjustments in reported income and withholding.

If you hold an FRA and wish to be on approved academic leave the year following your FRA but plan to return to your normal duties at the university the following academic year, then an exception to the return policy above may be granted. Such a request must be submitted in writing, must include a complete description of your plans and your reason for not returning the year following your FRA, and must be endorsed by your chair and dean. It should be submitted to Marvin L. Hackert, Director, Faculty Development Program, Graduate School, Main Building 101, G0400. Requests are handled on a case-by-case basis and, if an exception is granted, it will be contingent upon your subsequent return to your normal duties at the university as outlined. If you fail to return, you will be expected to reimburse the university for the amount of the FRA, including any fringe benefits involved.

Method of Payment

Faculty Research Assignments are salary awards paid on a monthly basis through the Payroll Office. Paychecks are issued on the first working day of the following month. For example, if you elect to have your award paid over the fall semester, your September paycheck will be issued on October 1, your October paycheck will be issued on November 1, and so on. These awards are subject to all of the deductions that apply to teaching salary payments.

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The application period for 2016 FRAs is September 14, 2015 to October 14, 2015.


Contact the Program

Marvin Hackert, Director

Lisa Jaskolka, Coordinator

Mailing Address:

Faculty Development Program
Graduate School
The University of Texas at Austin
110 Inner Campus Drive Stop G0400
Austin, TX 78712-1710




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