Budget Guidelines

The FRCAC grants are expected to serve as "seed money" to generate preliminary data for research proposals to be submitted to external granting agencies.   It is therefore crucial the grant seeker provides a compelling case for why FRCAC should award them the funds.  In addition, the applicant must also elucidate the justification for each item listed in the Budget Page.  Starting from August 2016, the new "Application Packet" designed by FRCAC will request for the proposed budget and the associated justification for costs in a single form format.


Faculty may request funding up to approximately $10,000 total.
Synergy grants (Interdiscplinary Grants or Multiple Applicants) may request more but must be justified adequately.
Funding MUST be used only for the purposes approved by the Committee; changes in the use of funds must have prior approval.
Except as otherwise noted with respect to the Interdisciplinary Synergy Award, items that may be fundable are listed below:
  • Reassigned time (not granted during summer semesters)
  • Normally no more than three credit hours (one course) of reassigned time per semester is funded. A fourth hour, such as a class with a lab, must be specifically justified. Faculty may receive up to two consecutive semesters of reassigned time. Also, faculty may receive up to three semesters of FRCAC-funded reassigned time every six years.
  • To ensure that the courses reassigned from one faculty load will continue to be offered, funds will be payable to the faculty member's department for an adjunct instructor replacement. The department is responsible for providing any costs greater than those approved for the grant.

Summer Stipend:

Beginning August 2016, this stipend structure will replace the previously awarded “Reassigned Time” and “Summer Salary.”  Funding can be requested for either $6,500 (Full Stipend) or $3,250 (Half Stipend).  The applicant has to make a clear judgment on the fund requirements before making a request. The justification can include various aspects, such as the time commitment, and why the stipend is are essential to complete the research goals.  The funding seeker must also provide details on other commitments that may influence his/her productivity, teaching and service, while carrying out the proposed activities.  FRCAC will only use the scientific merit or creative value of the proposal when making its determination and will no longer use the faculty rank or seniority as a criteria.

This change in pay structure still however follows the same purpose for which the previous summer salary was funded.   In effect, you are being paid this stipend for undertaking research or engaging in creative activity at a level requiring the same time commitment as teaching a summer course.  One of the ways by which you can determine the appropriate amount to request, decide how many hours during the summer your project will require, and then make a request for either "full" or "half" stipend.  

Summer Stipend can be requested only by the PI (or Co-PI but not by both) who is/are hired as a full-time tenure track faculty member at MTSU.  Untenured faculty members may receive up to 4 (FOUR) summer salary stipend grants in total. These may be awarded on four consecutive summers. Tenured faculty members (regardless of rank) may receive as many as 3 (THREE) summer salary grants in a six year period, as long as they are not within two consecutive summers.  All of the faculty members are limited to 6 (SIX) summer stipends in total.  The previously received "summer salaries" also count towards the overall total.  

PIs may refer to the chart below to estimate what would be a realistic request for a summer stipend.  

Take the appropriate percentage of your academic year salary, compute that amount of your salary and enter on your Budget Page, along with the number of hours you are requesting. (There is also a blank on the Application Page where number of requested hours only should be entered.) Proposal development for external funding is not eligible for summer salary support.

Summer Course Equivalency % Academic Year Salary
3 Credit Hours FULL
2 Credit Hours FULL or HALF
1 Credit Hour HALF

Stipend payments are received by the applicant along with his/her August salary. Please note that the stipend is subject to applicable federal/state and local taxes and surcharges.   During the period that this award is active, the faculty cannot engage in "overload" assignments. All sources of university remuneration cannot exceed 25% unless a portion of the summer activity is sponsored by external funding agencies, in which case the limit is 33.33%.

Equipment, Supplies and Operations Costs

The FRCAC supports funding equipment that is needed for research. The FRCAC will consider funding the purchase or rental of any item(s) that cannot be provided by your department that are necessary to carry out your project. Include a letter from your department chair stating that departmental funds are unavailable for the proposed purchases or rental. The committee may decline to fund purchases that can be awarded through other grants or that are traditionally acquired by the faculty personally. If you are granted funds to purchase equipment, it should remain the property of MTSU for future departmental use. Update: Laptops/computers are not considered fundable, necessary items by the FRCAC committee. Refer to the Application Packet for more details.

Personnel and Student Researchers

The FRCAC will consider funding additional personnel (i.e., a graduate student, or outside consultant) necessary to complete your project. Dollars for student workers will be funded ONLY for graduate students and paid through MTSU payroll. Outside consultants or others providing services will need to submit an invoice to the FRCAC office. Students are paid as "student workers on an hourly wage only! The FRCAC grant does not pay tuition and "GA" stipends. These are awarded through departments and follow guidelines within Graduate Studies.

Important Note: Services that will cost over $500 must have a service contract completed before services are contracted. For more information please contact Janine Brink, Contract Manager, at ext. 5600.
Applicants are urged to help undergraduate collaborators apply for funding through other funding sources such as, URECA, STEP-MT, McNair, or TLSAMP. All of these programs and application procedures are available at the Undergraduate Research Center. FRCAC funds will no longer cover assistance to support undergraduate researchers.  Refer to the "budget justification" page of the Application Packet for more details.  

Travel Funds

  1. The FRCAC will consider funding travel necessary to carry out your project.
  2. All out of state and out of country travel require completed Travel Authorizations (with appropriate signatures) submitted with the proposal.
  3. Additionally, when the travel is out of country, a TA must be submitted to Dr. McPhee 30 days prior to travel dates, along with a memo discussing the purpose of the travel, signed by the applicant, their Dean, and Department Chair. Please send to the attention of Janice Lewis in CAB 111.
  4. Travel within the state of Tennessee does not require a Travel Authorization.
  5. Travel to conferences or seminars are not eligible for funding.
  6. Meals will not be covered by the applicant may request per diem charges in compliant with MTSU accounting policies.  

Applicants are urged to help undergraduate collaborators apply for travel funding through URECA, STEP-MT, McNair, or TLSAMP. All of the undergraduate program travel application procedures are available at the Undergraduate Research Center website. Graduate students may request for travel assistance through the College of Graduate Studies travel fund.

For research projects needing microscopy-related services, please remember to add the total hourly fees to the budget estimate. For example, a project with samples requiring 5 hours of microscopic and elemental analysis would cost $150 for unassisted use of the scanning electron microscope (SEM) with energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX) detector or $250 if the samples are analyzed by the MIMIC Technical Manager with a complete report of the SEM/EDX results. For more information on fees and facilities of MIMIC, please visit the website.

ING Building G014C
Phone: 615-494-7669
Fax: 615-898-5028