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OVCR Research-Related Updates Regarding COVID-19 Emergency and Research Restart

Participant Support Costs

Participant Support Costs

According to the Uniform Guidance, participant support costs are direct costs for items such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (not employees) in connection with conferences or training projects.

A participant is defined as an individual who is the recipient of a service or training provided at a workshop, conference, seminar, symposium or other short-term instructional or information-sharing activity funded by a sponsored project. Participants may include students, scholars, and scientists from other institutions, individuals from the private sector, teachers and state or local government personnel.

 

F&A on Participant Support Costs:

Participant support costs are generally exempt from F&A on Federal or Federal pass through awards. Participant support costs are excluded from the modified total direct cost (MTDC) base and no indirect costs will be assessed.).  Therefore, it is imperative that participant support costs are charged appropriately.

For non-federal awards, sponsor and award-specific guidelines should be reviewed to determine if F&A is allowable on the participant support costs. If there is no sponsor or award-specific guidelines, then F&A will be assessed on participant support costs.

Exception: For the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeships (IGERT) program, F&A is allowed on participant stipend and travel, however, not allowed on the cost of education allowance for tuition, health insurance and fees.

 

Rebudgeting of Participant Support Costs

Amounts allocated to the participant support costs budget category are restricted and may not be reallocated to other budget categories without written prior agency approval. In cases of unspent participant support costs, funds are returned to the sponsor.

 

Unallowable as Participant Support Costs

The purpose of participant support is to provide financial assistance for individuals to attend conferences and training. This does not include expenses related to hosting the conference or training program; these should be budgeted and spent on the parent budget. The following are not considered participant support costs: fellowships, honoraria for guest speakers, supplies, room rental, and payments to individuals involved in human subject testing or clinical trials.

Best practice for managing Participant Support Costs

Important:  Participant support costs are restricted and must be tracked in a separate fund under the award.

  1. Review award documents at set-up and identify those that include participant support costs on the award.
  2. Ensure all participant support costs are appropriately recorded under the participant support cost fund.
  3. Reconcile and correct any costs that were charged incorrectly against the participant support cost fund.
  4. Obtain prior written approval for any rebudgeting from the participant support cost category and submit a revised budget to the award for processing.

 

PI/Department Responsibilities

  1. Review award documents at set-up and identify those that include participant support costs on the award.
  2. Ensure all participant support costs are appropriately recorded under the participant support cost fund.
  3. Reconcile and correct any costs that were charged incorrectly against the participant support cost fund.
  4. Obtain prior written approval for any rebudgeting from the participant support cost category and submit a revised budget to the specialist assigned to your award for processing.