The University of New Mexico School of Engineering is participating in a pilot program that provides faculty with a financial incentive for participating in research.

The program, titled the “base plus” compensation model, is open to any faculty member in the School of Engineering who has sufficient external funds available for the salary increase. Beginning with the fiscal year that started July 1, faculty members participating in the program can receive as much as a 10 percent bump to their base salary.

The money applied to the base salary does not come from the UNM Instructional & General funds that provide most salaries at the university, but instead through faculty-generated research grants or other sources such as endowed professorships. The model provides a way to motivate faculty to pursue research grants and write extra funding for a salary bump into the grant without costing the university additional money.

“In these challenging budgetary times, this is a creative way to reward faculty initiative and hard work while at the same time increasing our research impact,” said Christos Christodoulou, Jim and Ellen King Dean of Engineering and Computing. “We are encouraged by the initial interest from our faculty in this program and are proud to be the pacesetters for innovation.”

Participation is subject to the approval of the department chair and available funds in the grant, endowment or other source of funds that the faculty member might choose. The guidelines of the policy state that for faculty to participate, they should also remain productive in all areas of the University’s mission of education, research/scholarship/creative works, and service to the School and the University.

“The University has been considering such incentive programs for some time, especially during recent years when state funding for salary increases has been lean,” said UNM’s Vice President for Research Gabriel López. “I applaud the School of Engineering’s groundbreaking work to develop an incentive program that any of its regular faculty members can, in principle, participate in.”

During the pilot year of fiscal year 2019, which began July 1, 2018, and ends June 30, 2019, faculty may begin participating at any time, but if the model is continued, faculty members will be encouraged to initiate interest in the program before fiscal year departmental budgets are solidified in the spring.

To participate, School of Engineering faculty should contact their department chair or departmental accountant to ensure that research funds are available.

López says depending upon the success in the first year, the program may continue into subsequent years and could be expanded to other schools and colleges.