My university (in Europe) is currently reconsidering its policy regarding professors (assistant through full) buying out of certain duties using funds from research grants. The new proposal is that the grant money will only be used for buying out of all of the duties at once (research, teaching, administration, ... -- all of them). This is in contrast to, say, buying out of teaching alone or out of all duties but research selectively.
The proposal also includes a clause that the funds obtained by the university from researchers buying themselves out of duties, specifically the amount corresponding to the research duties, will be used for "other initiatives and priorities", i.e. not for supporting research directly.
I see some problems with this policy and wonder if my concerns are justified.
If one does not have a grant, one uses, say, 50% of one's time for research as stipulated by the job contract. One gets remunerated for all the work one does, including research (that seems a natural assumption to me). Under the proposed policy, if one has a grant and buys himself/herself out of all duties, one will still do research for 50% of the time as before, plus another 50% of the time because of the research grant.
What is the logic behind buying oneself out of the 50% of the job one will actually be doing anyway?
Perhaps this could be understandable if the funds were used by the university to employ another person to do all the duties of the original job position, including 50% research, but this is not the case according to the proposed policy. The grant money corresponding the 50% of the research work will not be used to fund another researcher but rather to fund other activities. This seems to partly defeat the purpose of the research grant: the money that is earmarked for research is taken by the university and spent on something else.
Even though one has to buy oneself out of all duties, the university still expects to have its name on the academic production from the grant. So even though the university is not supporting the professor financially, it still wants to receive the benefits that come with achievements in research.
I might be oversimplifying things as I am not very familiar with the system, but the elements indicated above seems problematic to me.
Questions: Does this policy proposal sound fine? Is such practice popular in other universities?