Prestigious Award Leave Program

Resources for faculty receiving prestigious fellowships

The Prestigious Award Leave (PAL) Program is available to Bloomington tenured and tenure-eligible faculty, research scientists, research center directors, medical sciences faculty, and librarians who receive prestigious, nationally competitive fellowships or research-related awards.

 PAL supplements are meant to lessen the financial sacrifice for faculty and librarians whose awards provide less than their regular academic salaries.

Please email for additional information about applying for a research leave. 

Common questions about the Prestigious Award Leave Program

A:  Recipients of PAL Supplements are eligible to receive up to 60 percent of their base salary during the period of the leave, with the actual amount determined by the financial sacrifice in accordance with the fellowship or research award’s contributions.  The financial sacrifice is calculated on annual base salary, less the amount of the fellowship monies and other income.  The applicant must disclose all salaries, fellowship monies, fringe benefits, per diem, etc., available to them during the proposed leave.  Funds specified explicitly for research or travel expenses will be excluded from the calculation.  If the sacrifice amount is less than 60 percent of the base salary, the supplement will be the sacrifice amount; otherwise it will be 60% of the base salary.

A: IU does not contribute to retirement while faculty are on leave and not fulfilling normal faculty duties, but the employee can continue to contribute to their retirement plan. When taking a leave and PAL supplements, and not already enrolled, you may have tax-deferred contributions through payroll deductions to the IU Tax Deferred Account (TDA) or the IU 457(b) Retirement Plan. These deduction amounts can be one to 100 percent of your PAL Supplement up to the IRS contribution limitations.  Any current deduction rate will continue at the same percentage if you are already enrolled in either or both of these supplemental retirement plans.

A:  Yes. While on research leave, IU employees will continue to receive medical and other insurance benefits as per their enrollment selections.  The employee cost of all non-retirement benefits in accordance with your usual compensation will be withdrawn from the PAL supplemental pay.  In cases where the PAL supplemental pay is small or non-existent, (Fellowship award amount covers the research leave fellow’s base salary during the leave period) a recipient may receive an invoice from IU for the employee share of medical and other non-retirement benefits. If you have questions about continuing your insurance coverage during your leave, please contact

A: The Office of Research Administration prefers that NEH or any funding agency send the check to IU and not to the faculty directly.  The reasoning is that faculty must claim their fellowship or research award as income and pay taxes on the amount if the check is written directly to them.  For other fellowships, the Office of Research Administration receives funds from the granting agencies.  So then, select to have payments deposited into the account of the employing institution.

A: According to University Human Resources Services, an employee’s insurance selections remain in place during a leave. The UHRS websitestates: “Paid Leave of Absence: If you receive pay (e.g., not grant or fellowship monies) during a leave of absence, benefit plan contributions will continue to be automatically deducted, and your coverage will continue.” 

Please contact directly if you have additional questions as benefits are tricky and it is important to make sure your circumstances are well understood.