As a PI, you may feel many times like you are running a small business without adequate resources. Your precious time is split between raising money, administering finances, recruiting students and staff, and dealing with a myriad of administrative tasks which are absolutely necessary but do not represent areas where your value added is high. You are doing this without the support you need, navigating an increasingly complex set of regulations while carrying out your teaching and service duties. What would happen if these administrative tasks were handled by a friendly, efficient, knowledgeable and welcoming staff? This is where Team RLE comes in.
At RLE we always go “above and beyond” to offer excellent services in one location and tailored to the needs of our PIs. We are twenty professionals comprising the RLE headquarters. As a group we have strong core competencies in fiscal, personnel, communications, media and design, IT and space management. In a nutshell our value to you is that we reduce your administrative work load thereby freeing your time to do research. We also perform a liaison role between PIs and key central offices of MIT, as needed, such as the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Office of Sponsored Programs.
Services fall into these categories:
- Leadership and Research Mentoring
- Finance and Sponsored Programs
- Administration and Human Resources
- Information Systems and Networking
- Strategic Communications, Media and Design
- Facilities and Space Management
Operations are jointly overseen by RLE’s Assistant Directors David W. Foss (Facilities, Information Technology Services and Media) and Mary Markel Murphy (Fiscal Administration and Human Resources). RLE Director Yoel Fink, his two Associate Directors, Wolfgang Ketterle and Marc Baldo, and the Assistant Directors, form RLE’s executive management team.
Charges for RLE Services
The cost of providing services to PIs by RLE is recovered through an allocation. The allocation rates are approved by the Office of Sponsored Programs and pertain to 12 interdepartmental labs at MIT. These costs are largely administrative and support salaries and non-salary expenses incurred in the overall administration and management of the lab. Certain accounts excluded from receiving the charge are laboratory director general accounts, service facilities, fabricated equipment, phone equipment and network accounts.
The base against which the allocation rate is applied is called the adjusted modified total direct cost (MTDC). The typical components are materials and services, travel, staff, and graduate student stipends. It excludes equipment, tuition, subcontracts, employee benefits, vacation accrual and indirect costs. It is required to incorporate allocation costs into proposal budgets when submitting to sponsors. While the average RLE allocation rate hovers around 9%, depending upon the nature of the research project, the overall tax rate can be as low as 4% of total budgeted funds.
The RLE Difference
Testimonials from some of our current Principal Investigators