Policies Governing University Faculty Startup Packages

Policy Information
Policy TitlePolicies Governing University Faculty Startup Packages
Responsible OfficeSenior Associate Vice President for Budget and Business Affairs
Policy TypeBusiness Affairs
Policy Number225
Last Revision Date10/25/2022

Recruiting faculty members with substantial research potential and scholarly/creative activities is highly competitive. Having the ability to provide such candidates with a competitive startup package can be vital to recruitment efforts. As a result, Binghamton University provides financial support to college/school deans to assist in attracting new and outstanding faculty who will be engaged in research and scholarly activity as a major component of their appointment. The intention of this funding is to provide the resources necessary to establish and maintain a scholarly research program that will lead to the generation of external research funding, thereby enhancing the University’s reputation and status as a Carnegie R1 institution. Although the University has research expectations for a number of faculty members, the University has increased expectations for those new faculty members who are provided with research startup funds.

Sources of Funds

The approved total startup funding package (see template in Appendix A) for a faculty member will be divided as follows:

·    2023-24: 3/4 from central administration (President, Provost and VP of Research) and 1/4 from the hiring location: College/School/Department.  

·    2024-25: 2/3 from central administration (President, Provost and VP of Research) and 1/3 from the hiring location: College/School/Department.  

·    2025-26 and thereafter: 1/2 from central administration (President, Provost and VP of Research) and 1/2 from the hiring location: College/School/Department.  

The hiring units can select which items they wish to provide in case some items are easier for a dean or department chair to provide than central administration (such as TA lines).


To be eligible for faculty startup funds, the following requirements must be met.

·        Only tenured/tenure-track faculty positions are eligible for startup fundingo   Rare exceptions for non-T/TT appointments involving research may be recommended with a compelling case proving that the appointment will be engaged in research with a long-term benefit to the institution

·        Only departments pre-approved to utilize the program are eligible.

o   Harpur: Anthropology, Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Physics, Psychology

o   Watson: Biomedical Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Engineering Design, Mechanical Engineering, Systems Science & Industrial Engineering

o   Decker: Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech Language Pathology

o   Pharmacy: Pharmaceutical Sciences

While such requests are rarely supportable, deans with startup requests from other (normally ineligible) departments should contact the provost's office in advance of making an offer if they are faced with costs that are wholly unmanageable at the college, school, or department level.  In all cases, funds must be provided as noted in the Source of Funds” section above.  

Term Limits

Unless otherwise requested and approved at the time of hire, all university faculty startup award packages are funded for the first three years of the new faculty member’s appointment. All startup funds must be spent within 36 months from the date of employment.   Spending is not permitted before the appointment date without express approval.  Any unspent funds at the end of the 36-month period will be returned to the University.Term extensions may be requested and are subject to approval by both the Provost and Vice President for Research, or their designees, after approval by the college/school dean. Extension decisions must factor in, at a minimum, the faculty member’s research progress, performance contributions, and potential to secure external funding, as well as viability of achieving tenure and/or continuing appointment. The dean must communicate extension decisions to the Vice President for Research’s Office and the Provost’s Office.If a faculty member with remaining startup award funds announces their separation from employment, the college/school assistant dean for finance is responsible for:

·        immediate notification to the departing faculty member, informing them that they are no longer permitted to access the unspent funds and their startup award is closed to further spending,

·        informing the offices of the Provost and Vice President for Research of the separation,

·        working with the faculty member and campus p-card administrator to revoke the faculty member’s NYS p-card, if applicable,

·        ensuring all startup purchase requests are cancelled, encumbrances are cleared from the system, and final p-card reconciliation is executed accurately, completely, and timely, and

·        ensure proper handling of any existing appointments being charged against startup funds.

Available Funding

The program is funded through contributions from the University, the Division of Academic Affairs, and the Research Division. Budgetary support in these categories will be limited by the total number of requests and the availability of funds.  A cost share with the respective college/school/department is required as noted in the above “Source of Funds” section.  Startup awards are approved on the basis of expressed needs for support that are reasonable for enabling the “start-up” of a new faculty member’s research program. These funds are intended to support the initial launch of the faculty member’s research, with the understanding and expectation that ongoing support should come from external sources.University financial support of startup packages should not be assumed nor committed without express approval from both the Provost and Vice President for Research, or their designees. In accordance with the campus faculty recruitment procedure, no formal offer of employment should be made to an eligible faculty candidate until the startup package decision is finalized. Although the startup package is issued as part of the recruitment process, it is not a signing bonus and it is expected that external funding will be generated by the faculty hire.Funding for the program is made available through NYS funds, and as such, all purchases of goods and services must follow NYS procurement rules and regulations (more information on purchasing website). Although some spending discretion is given to the recipient of the faculty startup award, all startup funding remains the property of Binghamton University, along with any purchases made with those funds.

Allowable startup expenses:

Lab equipment and supplies
Professional memberships that relate to research
Recharges associated with use of campus specialized equipment or facilities
Science stores
Computers for research only
Liquid nitrogen and other chemicals
Research books
Travel to professional conferences or workshops for faculty and graduate students
Graduate or undergraduate student support
Post-doctoral associates and research technicians (fringe benefits will be assessed at the current state IFR rates and will be charged against the faculty startup award)
Consultants or other professional service providers must have prior approval by the State or Research Foundation business office

Unallowable startup expenses:
Phones for lab or cell phones
Meal hosting
Office furniture
 Exceptions to restricted use of funds can be requested through the Associate Vice President for Research.


Each recipient of a faculty startup award is responsible for managing their account and funds appropriately, in consultation with the Office of Sponsored Funds Administration and their Dean’s Office.The Office of Sponsored Funds Administration (OSFA) oversees startup awards and is the primary point of contact in advising faculty on appropriate use. They assist with purchasing needs and supervise program accounting in IFR accounts 910247 and 910252. Faculty can obtain their startup award expenditure report at any time by making a request with OSFA. College/school level status reports by faculty startup award will be provided to the assistant deans for finance and Provost’s Office or designee twice per year, at a minimum. As an award nears full spending or expiration, whichever comes first, OSFA will notify the faculty member, college/school assistant dean for finance, and Provost’s Office of the current status so final spending can be arranged for. At the point of award closure, OSFA will notify the same group of the date of closure.The college/school assistant dean for finance is responsible for initiating and developing startup package requests, reviewing active startup awards, communicating with the dean on identified issues, and ensuring that the award is not overspent. If the award becomes overspent, the assistant dean for finance must identify college/school funds against which to charge the overspending and initiate any required transfer transactions with the Accounting Office.

Technical Guidelines

·        The college/school assistant dean for finance, in collaboration with the dean and hiring department, will develop a comprehensive faculty startup request. After obtaining approvals from the dean and department chair, the assistant dean for finance and will present the request to the Provost and Vice President for Research, or their designees, for approval.

·        The request should include an itemized list of the investments necessary to facilitate the initial launch of the incoming faculty member’s research. It should also clearly delineate which budgets (dean, department, division(s), external, university startup, etc.) will cover the cost of the startup.

o   Requests that illustrate the hiring department and or dean’s commitment to the position through committing funds of their own, will be reviewed favorably.

o   The University startup funding component must not exceed the standard department rate effective as of the appointment date.

o   There may be several questions and/or revisions of the proposed startup package submitted, so the hiring department must develop an appropriate recruiting schedule that provides time for these negotiations.

·        The approved startup award total must be included in the formal offer letter. Funding sources are an internal matter and as such do not need to be detailed in the offer letter. The offer letter should also include language indicating that the startup investment is being provided with the expectation of obtaining external funding.

·        Fringe-bearing titles contributing toward the faculty member’s research may be charged to the department’s summer SUTRA account, with a subsequent expenditure transfer processed via sub object 5828 from the summer SUTRA account to the faculty startup IFR account. This must take place annually, at a minimum, and is the responsibility of the department. All transfer requests of this nature, must be emailed to the Accounting department with a copy to OSFA and the Provost’s Office.

·        Startup packages can be re-budgeted at the end of year one and year two to adjust to changing needs of the hired faculty member.  

Program Evaluation Metrics

Deans and department chairs are asked to set appropriate performance benchmarks during employment negotiations with candidates, who should be requested to provide a description of their research program along with a more specific budget for their intended startup costs. Sufficient detail in the research plan is needed to enable campus to determine that the expenditures will lead to the development of a productive research program.For each year of startup support, faculty must submit a cumulative report on the status of the stated performance benchmarks to the department chair by August 15th.   Also, in August of each year, the Associate Vice President for Research will provide department chairs related annual sponsored program activity reports.   The Dean and Vice President of Research may use the above mentioned reports to assess progress and department and college research productivity and, over a period of several years, future startup investments will depend on success in meeting the appropriate benchmarks.

Appendix A: Template for Startup Proposal

Last Updated: 11/17/22