What is a Research Enabling Grant (REG) for Extenuating Work/Life Circumstances?
Research enabling grants (REGs) are intended to provide financial assistance to eligible faculty facing work/life or personal/family challenges that threaten to impede their academic research and/or their progress at Harvard.
The goal and purpose of this program is:
- to assist in the advancement of faculty who have extenuating work/life circumstances.
- to enable collaboration and cost sharing between FD&D and individual schools in the service of advancement of scholars.
- to provide direct support to the faculty member or to a project for which they are responsible.
How much is the grant and what kind of expenses can it cover?
These competitive grants, for up to $30,000 (subject to required tax withholding), are to offset incurred expenses. Eligible faculty may receive one award of up to $30,000 within a five-year time frame. Related expenses must be a direct threat to your research, be temporary in nature, and fall into one of the following categories:
- Additional dependent care (child, elder, or other adult) for a specific period of time to enable research, including extended field work.
- Additional personnel directly related to your research (postdoctoral fellow, technician, research assistant, or grant manager).
- Costs associated with the management of disruptive personal circumstances (i.e. death of a spouse, disability, housing disruption, or other catastrophic circumstances causing a disruption in work/life responsibilities).
- In exceptional circumstances, purchase of equipment that would enable more efficient research.
The REG program will not fund computers, except under unusual circumstances.
Am I eligible?
Please be sure you meet the following eligibility criteria:
Work in a benefits-eligible position.
This means you must be:
- working at least half-time (usually 17.5 hours-per-week) at Harvard, and
- on a regular Harvard payroll (paid by the President and Fellows of Harvard College).
Be employed in one of the following capacities:
Job Code, Title:
- 000202 Professor, Assistant
- 000263 Professor, Assistant Chaired
- 000152 Professor, Associate
- 000192 Professor, Associate Chaired
Among Harvard Medical and Dental School Faculty, only those based in the Quad's basic and social science departments and on a tenure clock are eligible. Faculty based in the Harvard Medical School-affiliated hospitals and research centers are not eligible.
If funded, REG recipients are expected to participate in a comprehensive assessment on how the REG award contributed to their professional development.
Any awarded funds and the event itself must occur during the Harvard faculty member’s active appointment in an eligible rank.
When can I apply?
Successful applications will describe:
- The nature of the candidate's significant personal work/life challenge and how it hinders the candidate's research.
- A compelling case for how the REG award would support the advancement of the candidate's academic career.
- Why the candidate's current grant funding does not adequately support the unique work/life circumstance.
- The school's cost sharing element (course relief, research funds, time, resources, etc.) for the specific project.
How are funds disbursed?
The Research Enabling Grant funds are primarily held in an established departmental account. Fund disbursements occur in two ways and these differ in their tax implications for grant holders.
These expenses are for items or services that the department purchases or organizes on your behalf. This would include things like a Harvard employee’s salary who has been hired to help with your research. You do not receive the funds personally therefore there are no taxes withheld.
Direct reimbursement for expenses
These are expenses which you pay directly. This can include payments to child care providers, or paying for your dependent’s airfare so they can accompany you.
Receipts are submitted to your department and you are reimbursed in your paycheck, up to the amount allowed for in your budget. Program reimbursement payments are considered additional compensation. This addition to your regular wages will be taxed at a higher percentage and represents amounts withheld for federal income taxes, FICA and FICA-HI, and Massachusetts state income taxes. Therefore, the net amount you take home, after all required tax withholding, will be less than the receipts you submit.
For example, you allocated and paid $5,000 for child care to an overseas provider for care of your infant while you were abroad for summer research. You had them complete a REG Provider Signature Form indicating $5,000 was received. This was approved and your department organized a payroll payment to you for $5,000. The net amount in your paycheck is approximately $3,000, after required supplemental tax withholding.
In some cases, it is necessary to receive the funds in advance, particularly if you are traveling overseas. In this case the funds will still be subject to federally-established required supplemental tax withholding. However, the receipts you submit by the end of your grant period will still need to reflect the original pre-tax amount reimbursed.
For example, you allocated $5,000 for child care while you are overseas for summer research. You needed the funds in advance, this was approved, and your department organized a payroll payment to you for $5,000. The net amount in your paycheck is approximately $3,000, after required supplemental tax withholding. While overseas, however, you paid your child care provider $5,000 and they completed a REG Provider Signature Form indicating $5,000 was received. You submit this to your department by the term date of your grant.
For planning purposes, it is helpful to understand the implications of supplemental tax withholding on these awards and reimbursements. Earnings reflect the gross amount awarded and paid. The net amount reflects the gross amount of the award less the legally required supplemental tax withholding. For additional information or questions, please contact Mary Christakis, Associate Director for Planning and Program Management, at (617) 495-2785.