Policy on Ploughback Funds
Externally funded sponsored projects will have charges
associated with them called facilities & administrative costs. These costs are
charged at a rate negotiated with the Federal government once every three
years. They represent the cost of items such as utilities, computing, library,
office supplies, depreciation, local telephone costs, and administrative support
that are not easily identifiable to one project versus another. It should be
understood that facilities & administrative costs cover real university
expenditures and the amount charged to grants represents a reimbursement of
The University has historically provided investigators
with funding to continue their research during a period of time when external
funding has become unavailable. This funding is called ploughback. The source
of this funding is operating budget. The method by which ploughback funding is
calculated is to take 25% of the amount of facilities & administrative costs
that were charged to the investigators external grants in the previous year.
Distribution and Timing
Departments may choose to receive their distributions in
one of two ways. Departments can either choose to pool their ploughback into
one account or distribute it to the individual faculty members who earned it.
Ploughback accounts are reflected in the 140 Funds of WFS. Distributions
are made annually in August based upon the previous fiscal year ended June 30.
Distributions will be reflected as an increase in budgeted funds.
Ploughback funds should be used to support ongoing
research. While the department or faculty member has broad discretion, all
expenditures must be made in accordance with University policies. It is the
responsibility of the department to manage expenditures from all ploughback
accounts, whether individual or pooled.
Due to the variable source of funding, salary dollars will
not normally be charged to ploughback. Upon written request, Academic Affairs
may approve salary expenditures against ploughback, but only when sufficient
funding exists in the account.
Ploughback funds will be used to resolve deficits in other
sponsored project accounts when no other source of funding is available. For
departments that pool their ploughback earnings, this pool will be considered as
a source of funding for other deficit balances within the department as well as
a source for other funding requests.
If a ploughback account goes into
deficit, grants accounting will contact the investigator and the department
assistant to try and rectify the account. This review of deficits is done on a
monthly basis. If the deficit balance exceeds $2,500, the account will
automatically be frozen. Any account with a deficit balance after the annual
distribution of ploughback funds will be frozen regardless of the amount.
is distributed once a year. Spending will not be allowed against anticipated
When a faculty member departs the university, any
remaining funds in their ploughback account will revert back to university
central funding. If a deficit balance exists in the account at the time of
departure, it will be the responsibility of the department to find a source of
funding to cover this deficit. Departures will not affect departments with