Summer Research Assignments have traditionally provided assistant professors with salary support while they concentrate on research and writing during the summer. Terms of these awards vary by college, but often cover two months of summer salary.
The College Education, College of Fine Arts, the School of Information, and the College of Pharmacy have adjusted their eligibility. Currently, for these four units, tenured professors and associate professors are also eligible to apply for a SRA.
To apply, use the Graduate School Awards System in UT Direct starting September 14, 2021. Applications must be submitted by October 14, 2021, and awardees will be announced by the Colleges or Schools in December 2021. All Summer Research Assignment applications must be received and approved by the applicant’s department chair. Applications approved by the chair are then made available to the review committees (selected by the colleges) for review and decisions. The college dean is the final reviewer.
Summer Research Assignments (SRA) provide salary support in amounts determined by the applicant’s college. They do not carry over into the next fiscal year. There is no limit on the number of SRAs an assistant professor may receive; a previous SRA, however, may reduce your chances of receiving another.
One of the considerations in awarding a Summer Research Assignment is the benefit that will accrue to the university. The recipient is, therefore, expected to return to normal duties at the university for at least one academic year—Sept. 1 through May 31—following the SRA. A recipient who elects to leave the university without returning for an academic year, whether because of resignation or retirement, is obligated to reimburse the university for funds (gross salary plus fringe benefits) expended in support of the SRA.
The recipient of an SRA is considered to be an employee of the university for the period of appointment. In consequence, the recipient’s W-2 will show their income and withholding tax for the period of the appointment. If the recipient elects not to return to the university, they are considered to be in breach of their contract with the university with the result that the repayment is considered a “penalty payment.” It is the recipient’s responsibility to inform the IRS of their situation and negotiate any adjustments in reported income and withholding.
If you hold an SRA and wish to be on approved academic leave the year following your SRA but plan to return to your normal duties at the university the following academic year, an exception to the return policy may be granted. Such a request must be submitted in writing, must include a description of your plans and your reason for not returning the year following your SRA, and must be endorsed by your chair and dean. It should then be submitted to Associate Dean Marvin L. Hackert, Director, Faculty Development Program, Office of Graduate Studies, Main 101. Requests are handled on a case-by-case basis and, if an exception is granted, it will be contingent upon your subsequent return to your normal duties at the university as outlined. If you fail to return, you will be expected to reimburse the university for the amount of the SRA, including any fringe benefits involved.
Summer Research Assignments are salary awards paid on a monthly basis by Payroll Services. Checks are issued on the first working day of the following month. For example, if you elect to have your award paid over June and July, your June paycheck will be issued on July 1 and your July paycheck will be issued on Aug. 1. These awards are subject to all of the deductions that apply to teaching salary payments.