Fiscal Model

The Center's research activities are supported by research grants, form a variety of sources, including state, federal and private organization. In special circumstances, funding is provided to the Center by private organizations through the UNM Foundation. The Center's administrative support and facilities operations are funded by the School of Engineering, based on yearly budget estimates submitted by the Director.

This model was introduced by SOE Dean Roman to overcome some of the conflicts between Departments and Centers - primarily based on resource allocation. Previously, Centers (similarly to Departments) would receive a percentage of the facilities and administration (F&A), administered by the Director to cover Center normal operating expenses, and to provide research support (e.g. cost share), incentives (e.g. higher F&A return to PIs and/or PI home departments), or facilities. One of the previous model's unwanted outcomes was that research conducted under the Center umbrella would decrease Departmental operating budgets. This placed researchers in an awkward position with respect to their own departments, and generated conflict between Center Directors and Department Chairs, which would usually be resolved with ad hoc agreements on F&A return splits.

With the new funding model, this type of conflict has been resolved. Moreover, Centers operate under a steady source of funds which ensures continuity of operations. However, discretionary funds to the Director are now virtually non-existent. Cost share and other incentives must be negotiated with the School leadership, removing some autonomy from the Director. Moreover, some of the Center's incentive to acquire high levels of funding is removed.

Research operations are funded by grants, with index codes specific to the Center. Individual PIs and co-PIs receive the same amount of F&A return that they would receive if running the research through their own departments. Thus, as far as a PI is concerned, there is no baseline difference between routing research through their home Department of the Center. However, the Center provides more effective administrative support because of the higher staff / investigator ratio.

Of the non-research (i.e. overhead) revenue to CEET, staff salaries and benefits constitute the largest share. Smaller operating expenses are constituted by non-research travel, external relations (hosting visitors, workshops, etc.) telecommunications, and various other expenses needed to maintain office operations. Staff salaries in the last two years have increased because some staff salaries previously covered by research budgets are now completely paid by CEET overhead. In addition, a level II accountant was hired to assist with a fast increasing number of projects. The breakdown of overhead operating expenses over the past 5 years is shown in Fig. 5.2.

ceet spent

Figure 5.2: Operating costs for administering CEET, for fiscal years 2009 to 2013.

Revenues to cover operating costs have changed since the inception of the Center. For FY2009, the CEET overhead funding was a special allocation for 'seeding' the center as part of a retention agreement with then CEET Director Prof. Atanassov. The School agreed to allocate $150K for each of 3 fiscal years (FY09 being year 1) as well as $10K for office and lab space remodeling for a total of $160K in FY09. For FY09, SOE departments and centers received F&A distribution based on overhead generated during calendar year 2007. CEET didn't generate any overhead during CY2007 as it did not exist. For FY12, CEET received $100K in transitional funding (no relationship to overhead generated). In addition, CEET received $50K for the NEDO microgrid commitment (also, no relationship to overhead generated). This was the first year of a 2 year commitment that was fulfilled in FY13 with the second year allocation. During FY12, CEET also received its first overhead allocation of 70;150:Thiswasbasedontheactualoverheadgeneratedduringcalendaryear2010o f 350,751. Departments and Centers received 20budget commensurate with administrative expenditures, but not tied to F&A generated. The allocation for FY 13 was $143K. Operating revenues are shown in comparison to F&A generation in Fig. 5.3. Finally, the ratio of in-house research vs. subcontracted research is shifting, and indicated in Fig. 5.4.

ceet revenue

Figure 5.3: CEET revenues vs. F&A generate. Note the continuing healthy increase in the ratio between F&A generated and operating expenses. The orange bars represent overhead revenues transfered to research operations.

grant expendituresgreat expenditures 2

Figure 5.4: Breakdown of expenditures from research funding. The share of in-house research has increased substantially, at the expense of sub-contracted research. As a consequence, F&A revenue has also increased.