Biennial Report 2014-2015
The aggregate totals of funding for SoMAS programs in Fiscal Years 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 are depicted below. These figures are comprised of several different funding sources, each with their own specific purposes, procedures and constraints. A brief description of these funding sources is presented below. Financing the broad range of SoMAS activities every year requires a strategic expenditure approach that takes maximum advantage of the diversity of funds available to the School. A five-year summary of SoMAS finances appears on the subsequent page.
State Base Allocation
Each year, the New York State Legislature appropriates monies to the State University of New York to support the operation of SUNY’s many campuses. A portion of these funds flow to Stony Brook University and the University makes an allocation to the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. The SoMAS State Base Allocation is used almost exclusively to fund the salaries of state-supported faculty and staff at the School. A small amount is budgeted for operating supplies and expenses.
Research Foundation Expenditures
The unique requirements of modern research often do not fit well with State expenditure policies and procedures. The Research Foundation of SUNY is a private corporation that provides flexibility in the financial management of sponsored programs and research conducted at SUNY. When an external sponsor provides monies to SUNY to support a research or training activity, those funds are almost always administered through the Research Foundation. Annual Research Foundation expenditures are the conventional measure used to describe the volume of research conducted at a unit of the University.
State Funds, Other
Not all of the research activities conducted by SoMAS each year are funded through the Research Foundation, however. For more than a decade, a large body of activity developed in the form of specific research and monitoring projects has been funded by other executive agencies of the State of New York. Memoranda of Understanding and Interagency Fund Transfers are the common vehicles by which these funds are made available to SoMAS. In addition, SoMAS operates a number of “service centers,” such as vessels, wet lab facilities, and specialized research equipment. The values of direct expenditures of these centers are included in this summary.
Indirect Cost Returns
The Research Foundation charges an overhead fee on externally-sponsored activities conducted by the University. This fee reimburses the University, in part, for its provision of certain basic costs associated with these activities that are not readily assigned to specific research or training projects; e.g., heat, electric and other utilities provided to a modern research laboratory, or general administrative services such as accounting and human resources/payroll. The rates and formulae by which these indirect costs are calculated are periodically negotiated between SUNY and the federal government. From this assessment, an annual Indirect Cost Return is provided by the Research Foundation to SoMAS as a fraction of the total reimbursed indirect costs of Foundation-funded research conducted at the school in the prior fiscal year.
Research Start-up and Support
Apart from the sponsored research activity depicted under the Research Foundation expenditures, new faculty are periodically granted “start-up” funds to establish their research programs and laboratories when they arrive at Stony Brook University. In addition, faculty at all stages of their careers often receive commitments from the University’s Provost, President, or Vice President for Research to fulfill cost-sharing requirements or as seed funding. These represent the university’s contribution to a research program.
Stony Brook Foundation Revenue and Gifts
The Stony Brook Foundation is a privately-governed, non-profit corporation created to receive and administer financial gifts to the University, whether undifferentiated or targeted at a specific purpose. Various Stony Brook Foundation accounts for SoMAS provide support for, among other things, student scholarships such as the Jerry R. Schubel Graduate Fellowship, grassroots programs such as the Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program, outreach activities such as the annual Bay Scallop Bowl, and numerous other general development programs of the School. In optimal circumstances when the stock market is favorable, many of these accounts experience “gains.” The gains/losses and new gifts received each year constitute the aggregate funding depicted.
SoMAS continues to build an online community through the social network Facebook as a means to communicate with current students, faculty and staff, alumni and the greater community. The community grows through frequent posted information and the growth of the page can be measured by the number of “likes” the page receives. The power of the SoMAS Facebook page is fully revealed during weather events, where the page serves as a conduit of information for the public. The page continued to grow through 2014 and 2015, and future growth is guaranteed as the SoMAS Facebook page continues to interact with other Stony Brook University pages, highlighting how powerful the platform can be when larger communities are engaged.
Facebook can serve specific audiences, as discovered by the start of a Semester by the Sea Facebook page. There, students can view photos from their experiences and share and advertise the program to their friends and family. The R/V Seawolf has a Facebook page, as well, that targets an audience that might not be interested in SoMAS but has an interest in boating. Facebook will continue to be a powerful tool to engage the SoMAS community.
The SoMAS YouTube channel connects the community at large with the massive collection of videos constantly created by SoMAS. YouTube offers not only a storage platform for large collections of videos, but also a way to interact with the audience viewing the content.
At SoMAS, YouTube is used to host historical videos created by the Marine Sciences Research Center, weekly seminar videos on Marine and Atmospheric topics, time-lapse videos created daily by the webcams deployed by the Instrument Laboratory, and many other videos created at SoMAS. Since 2012, SoMAS has uploaded over fifty six thousand videos to YouTube. The service is very valuable to the education and scientific mission of the school.
Unlike Facebook, Twitter offers a timeline-based approach to Social Media where live events can be followed as they happen. While SoMAS does not have as large a presence on Twitter as it does on other Social Media services, Twitter is used to connect directly to individual users to share information with a larger audience. SoMAS engages with several other Twitter users, including @StonybrookU, @sbunewsdesk, @stonybrookalum
The graph on the right highlights the Twitter analytics, provided through the Social Networking aggregation service HootSuite. SoMAS has been on Twitter since 2012, however HootSuite has only been utilized since mid-2014. HootSuite allows comparisons between Social Media accounts, which was beneficial to coordinate the SoMAS and NYSRISE Twitter accounts.