Travel plays an important role in many research projects. Many of the policies governing travel are established by the University Travel Office.
However, there are some general considerations regarding grant-related travel that you should review before you begin to make travel arrangements.

Approvals for travel may take time, especially for international travel.  Be sure to plan ahead and notify your Department Chair and Dean as early as possible. 

Ensure that your travel will be allowed:

  • Does the project permit travel?
  • Are there any restrictions on travel, especially foreign travel?
  • Is there money available?
  • Does the travel take place between the project’s start and end date?

Is the traveler a non-US citizen?
There may be additional requirements associated with non-U.S. citizen travel, contact the Travel Office for assistance

Will you be traveling internationally by air?
Please review the Travel Office’s guidelines for international air travel before making any plans.  Federally funded travel requires the use of
U.S. Flag carriers, European Union Flag carriers, Switzerland Flag Carriers, and Australian Flag carriers. 

Also, individuals traveling internationally on university business need to be aware that export control restrictions may apply depending on the travel destination.  Traveling internationally with certain types of personal items, information, or equipment (including but not limited to laptops, web-enabled cell phones, GPS units, scientific equipment and controlled, proprietary or unpublished research data) may require that an export license or other governmental approval be obtained before you depart.  To learn more visit the Office of Research Compliance and Administration.

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Materials and supplies are expendable items that cost less than $5000 per unit. Supplies and materials for routine departmental or administrative activities that benefit multiple activities within a department are not allowable expenses on a sponsored project.   In order to purchase supplies with grant funds there must be a direct relationship to the project's scope of work and the item must be used exclusively for the completion of the project.

Tangible, nonexpendable property having a useful life of more than one year and costing $5,000 or more per unit should be listed in your budget as Equipment.

Provide a breakdown of the materials and supplies you need, a description of them, and why they are necessary to your research in the budget justification.

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Tuition Text

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Participant Stipends

ECU Researchers often conducts research where there is a requirement to obtain participation of and/or responses from individuals. Researchers frequently find it necessary to offer incentives in order to obtain sufficient participation. These incentives may be in the form of cash, checks, gift cards or non-monetary items. All payments are subject to tax laws. The University is required by IRS regulations to submit 1099 forms for all participants paid $600 or more per calendar year and must also adhere to the uniform administrative requirements set forth in OMB A-110.

The Administrative Unit may choose to pay participants in cash or via gift card. Please contact the Department of Materials Management for details and procedures.

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Participant Support

Participant support costs are those costs paid to (or on behalf of) participants or trainees (not employees) for participation in meetings, conferences, symposia, and workshops or other training activities, when there is a category for participant support costs in the award. Registration fees, travel allowances, manuals and supplies, tuition and stipends may be regarded as participant support costs in this case.

Participant support is:

  • Identified specifically on National Science Foundation (NSF) awards.
  • Awarded by other sponsors (but not necessarily referred to as "participant support costs") and tend to be by program.
  • Usually allowable on federal grants.
  • Accounted for in separate sub budgets.
  • Often subject to special sponsor regulations
    • Do not allow rebudgeting from the participant support cost category into other categories without prior sponsor approval.
    • May be exempt from facilities and administrative (F&A) costs.
    • Require the university to return any unexpended participant support costs to them.

Participant Support is not:

  • Honoraria paid to a guest speaker or lecturer.
  • Payments made to research subjects as an incentive for recruitment and participation in a research project.
  • Conference support costs such as facility rentals, media equipment rentals, or conference food.
  • Reimbursements to employers (e.g.,public school system) for costs related to sending its employees to a conference or workshop.
  • Costs of ECU project staff to travel to a conference.
  • Costs of bringing collaborators together in one location to work on a project.
  • Costs of the PI to attend a seminar.
  • Payments to individuals providing a service for the project.

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Equipment (New)

Equipment is defined as tangible, nonexpendable personal property charged directly to the project having a useful life of more than two years and an acquisition cost of $5000 or more per unit. Title to property purchased with funds available for research and having an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more shall vest as set forth in the agreement.

Research often requires the use of major equipment. Refer to the sponsor’s guidelines to determine if equipment is allowed prior to submitting the proposal.  The need for equipment should be adequately justified in the proposal. Equipment that is duplicative or available within the department will generally be unallowable.  

Capital Equipment is not included in the Modified total Direct Cost Base. Therefore, F&A is not recovered on capital equipment charged to sponsored research contracts.

Any equipment acquired for the project must be purchased in accordance with the terms of the contract. General Purpose Equipment (e.g. office
equipment, IT equipment, reproduction and printing equipment), is generally unallowable unless primarily or exclusively used in the actual conduct of the scientific research and approved in advance by the awarding agency. The sponsor’s guidelines and the contract terms will provide information regarding the acquisition, title, use, maintenance and disposition of the equipment.

Note: Computers should be included in the budget only when necessary for carrying out the work of the proposed project (for example, a
laptop for a grad student to use doing field work). General purpose office computers should not be put on grant budgets.

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Equipment Maintenance

Equipment maintenance is an allowable charge on a sponsored project if it is required in order to complete the objectives of the project.  Maintenance should be documented and charged proportionately to the project.  For example, if the equipment being maintained is used 10% of the time on the project, then only 10% of the maintenance charge should be charged to the sponsored project’s account.

This charge may not be allowed by some Sponsors. Please check the Sponsor’s RFP and contract terms & conditions for allowable/unallowable costs.

Equipment service contracts can be included in budgets if the equipment is also included in the budget (or in the case of continuing awards from the same sponsor).  The service maintenance contract cannot be for a time past the end date of the agreement.

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Multi-User Equipment Fees

Support Text

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Equipment & Space Rental

Support Text

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Data Storage

Support Text

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Budgeting Expenses

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