2,519: Faculty Research Startup Funds

Revised: December 2019

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. Startup funds are negotiated as part of the faculty recruitment process, and may include cost-sharing between the Research and Innovation (R&I) office, the college and the hiring department. These funds may not be used to cover personal expenses or any other costs that are not directly related to research. Funds should be expended prudently and the level of expense should be governed by research need. The terms and conditions of the faculty member’s start-up funds shall be outlined in the faculty Additional Information Letter that accompanies faculty hire paperwork. Term Limits and Extensions are for faculty receiving R&I funds, but may also be applied to department, college/school funds as negotiated upon hire. Allowable Expenses and Conclusion of Appointment apply to all start-up funds, no matter the source.

Term limits

Unless specified otherwise, research startup fund packages are funded for the first three (3) years of the new faculty member’s appointment, and must be spent within the first thirty-six (36) months of employment. R&I funds not fully expended at the end of the first and second fiscal years will be added to the following fiscal year’s budget, conditional upon the completion of faculty responsibilities as outlined in their Additional Information Letter.

All faculty will be given written reminders sixty (60) days prior to the end of the funding period that the R&I startup fund accounts will be closed. Any R&I funds not spent by the end of the thirty-six (36) months will be returned to the R&I office. Additionally, should the faculty member resign or otherwise leave the position prior to the end of the startup funding period, any further use of the startup funds will require approval from the R&I office, college and/or department. Additional terms may apply for college and department funds.


Requests for extensions of faculty R&I start-up funding are not generally approved unless the faculty member can demonstrate one of the following: (1) there was a delay in the physical renovation of the faculty member’s laboratory; (2) the faculty member received significant extramural funding as a principal investigator (PI) on grants/contracts; or (3) the faculty member was granted a leave of absence through the Provost’s Office. All R&I fund extensions must be approved by the VPRI. Extension requests shall be routed through the department and/or college/unit to the VPRI for review no later than the first six (6) months of the last year of the start-up package term. An extension request must include a written justification, updated spending plan, and contain chair and/or dean’s approval. Request for extensions of college and/or department funds must be approved at these individual levels.

Allowable Expenses

Research startup funds (regardless of source) are provided to support new faculty in the establishment of their research (i.e. scholarly, creative and entrepreneurial) activities.

Appropriate costs charged to research startup funds may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Laboratory or research facility remodeling
  • Laboratory supplies
  • Lab or other computers used for research
  • Other expenses related to research, research administration, and research promotion
  • Post-docs or other personnel cost
  • Professional books or journal subscriptions
  • Research-related professional development
  • Research assistants
  • Research equipment
  • Research travel, including to conduct research, to meet collaborators, to meet sponsors, to attend conferences
  • Specialized lab or scientific equipment
  • Summer salary support
  • Undergraduate research experience

Unallowable research startup costs include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Academic robes
  • Advertisement for books
  • Business or first-class travel (except as allowed by university policy)
  • Framing of pictures or maps as office décor
  • Gifts
  • Hosting
  • Instructional equipment
  • Travel expenses, and overload, to teach at another institution
  • Library fines
  • Luggage for personal use
  • Moving expenses
  • Network subscription costs (locally) – e.g. subscription fees for iPad, cell phones, other devices (unless directly related to research on such devices)
  • Non-peer reviewed newspapers and magazines
  • Office equipment or furniture
  • Office renovations not directly tied to research
  • Transferring expenses from a grant account to spend down the startup funds because they are expiring (refer to the extension section above)

Conclusion of appointment

  • Upon acceptance of a faculty members resigning all subsequent spending on their startup funds shall require approval from the R&I office, college and/or department where the funds reside.
  • Equipment and other assets, such as computers, electronics, reagents, laboratory, and office supplies purchased with the use of any University of Nevada, Reno funds shall remain the property of the University.
  • Unspent balances will remain with the University upon the faculty member resigning or otherwise leaving employment with the University.