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Research at Boston College

Research and Startup Policy

office of the vice provost for research

Research and Start-up Funds Policy

Faculty research and start-up funds are provided to support faculty in their research and scholarly activities. These funds cannot be used to supplement their salary unless explicitly allowed as part of the offer letter or granted as part of an endowed chair or professorship. Funds may be used for purchases of durable assets, such as computers, tablets, and other equipment, but they become university property and must be relinquished should the faculty member leave the University.

Start-up funds must be used within five years of hire, unless an extension is granted by the Provost and Vice Provost for Research due to, for example, medical or maternity leave.

 

Appropriate Use of Research and Start-Up Funds

The list below provides examples of expenses that may or may not be charged to research and start-up accounts.  The faculty member is expected to use funds judiciously and in accordance with University policy.  Start-up funds are not appropriate for personal use or any other expenses that are not directly related to research and scholarly activities. It is not possible to list all of the items and expenses that qualify or do not qualify as research or scholarly expenses.  It is the purpose of the expenditure that determines whether it is a legitimate research expense.  In the event of gray areas, faculty should seek guidance from their Chair or Dean.

Examples of Allowable Expenses

  • Travel costs to professional conferences and workshops
  • Professional conference registration fees
  • Publication costs
  • Professional journal subscriptions
  • Graduate or postdoctoral fellows/research assistant stipends or salaries
  • Research equipment/instrumentation and supplies
  • Research-related books and periodicals
  • Charges for core facilities (internal and external)
  • Computers and software
  • Research data acquisition costs

Examples of Inappropriate Expenses

  • Business or first-class travel (except for flights longer than 7 hours)
  • TSA pre-check fee
  • Home computers, internet and cell phone bills
  • Home or office furniture or office supplies/amenities
  • Gifts (for employees or non-employees)
  • Spousal, partner, or other family member travel costs
  • Gift cards (refer to BC policy on gift cards for exceptions)
  • Personal or summer salary