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222. Research Policy - Establishment of Research Salary Base

It is the policy of Montana Tech of The University of Montana that salaries paid to faculty researchers engaged in extramurally funded research should be competitive with salaries paid to their peer academic researchers.  For the purposes of this policy, a competitive research salary base is defined as 100% of the CUPA average academic salary base for the faculty member.  All qualifying academic faculty members may use this research salary rate when applying for grants and contracts from Federal, State, Private or Corporate sponsors.  This rate will not apply to grants and contracts received from agencies of the Montana State Government or granting agencies with specific policy prohibiting this.




In cases where the external funding sources allow, there shall be two types of base salaries:  an academic salary base for state-appropriated funds and a research salary base for external funding sources such as research grants and contracts.


Individuals may be hired into positions supported through external sources at a rate higher than an appropriated base would support.  For individuals returning to state-appropriated positions, the salary base will be no less than that of the last state-appropriated position, plus the compensation increases actually awarded to the faculty member since the individual last held a state-appropriated position (reflecting percentage increases for normal increases and permanent market adjustments, and fixed dollar amounts for merits and promotions). 


Those members of the faculty who already have an established individual state-appropriated base salary may be hired into externally funded positions at a base higher than their state-appropriated base, but will relinquish that higher base upon conclusion of the grant or contract activity, as outlined above.




The research salary base will be determined annually by the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Research (VCAA/R) and Vice Chancellor for Administration and Budget.  In this determination, the VCAA/R will review the current academic year salary for academic faculty and compare these individual salaries to CUPA data for the same discipline and rank.  From this comparison will come a value of the faculty member’s academic salary base as a percentage of the CUPA average academic salary for the same discipline and rank. This salary is in effect for the time period August 16 to August 15 of the following year regardless of when the new CUPA salary survey is released. 


  1. If the current academic year salary for tenure track faculty is above the CUPA average academic salary for the same discipline and rank, then the research salary shall be equal to the current academic year salary.

  3. A memo is written to the VCAA/R for his/her approval.  This memo should state the levels of research salary base being requested, the effective date of the request and the duration of the request.  The memo should also indicate any buyouts that have been awarded through the grant process.

  5. Once the Vice Chancellor approves the request, he/she indicates OK on the memo, initials it and sends it to the Assistant to the Chancellor to have a Salary Adjustment  prepared for the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education.  Please note:  Faculty cannot be paid the salary until the Commissioner has approved it.  Items are due one month before salary becomes effective.

  7. All academic year buyouts will be budgeted at the research salary base and faculty will be paid at this rate for the period of the buyout.

  9. Within the limitations above, the research salary base applies to any salary that is funded by an allowable external source.  Once the research base is established, ALL salary paid from an allowable external source from that day forward MUST be at that research base.  You CANNOT be inconsistent in its application to external funding.

  11. It is the responsibility of the individual researcher and Director of Contracts and Grants to assure that the policy is implemented properly, in a timely manner, in cooperation with the Director of Budget & Human Services.  Research salary contracts must be filed with payroll prior to the performance of the research


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