Participant Support Costs


Participant support costs are defined by the Uniform Guidance in §200.75:

Participant support costs means direct costs for items such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not employees) in connection with conferences, or training projects.[1]

[1] This does not include NIH Kirschstein-NRSA programs.

  • Individuals (Students, Scholars, Scientists, Teachers, private sector representatives) who do not have an employee/employer relationship with the institution who is receiving funding for a proposed project from a sponsor.

    • Non-Rutgers employees who are the recipient, not the provider, of a service or training associated with a workshop, conference, seminar, symposium or other short-term instructional or information sharing activity. This means you can charge participant support costs for sending a participant to a conference or workshop and NOT for costs related to holding the conference or workshop.
    • Participants do not perform work or services (no deliverable) for the project or program unless it is for their own benefit.
  • An employee of the grantee institution, Advisory Board member, anyone who has a deliverable or is primarily providing support to the project.

    • Stipend – A set amount of funds paid directly to the participant/individual
    • Travel – Includes costs of transportation associated with the workshop/conference etc. (airfare, train) that must follow sponsor guidelines and University policies
    • Subsistence – costs associated with housing and meals for the participant, limited to the days of attendance of the project.
    • Other – Fees associated with attending the conference or workshop. Other fees may include lab supplies, training materials, tuition etc.
    • Any re-budgeting which changes the scope of the award must have agency approval, even if re-budgeting authority has been assigned to the grantee
    • F&A CANNOT BE applied on the Participant Support Cost Category
    • Budget awarded for participant support cannot be transferred to other categories of expense unless approved in writing by the Program Officer. Re-budgeting between the defined participant support cost categories is permitted.
  • Participant support costs are typically incurred for projects that include an education or outreach component.

    Participant support costs are allowable with prior sponsor approval, per the Uniform Guidance. These types of costs are most included in National Science Foundation (NSF) grants, such as the following programs:

    • Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)
    • Research Experiences for Teachers (RET)
    • National Research Traineeship (NRT)
    • Research Training Groups (RTG) in Mathematical Sciences
    • Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship Program (IGERT)

    While NSF has historically allowed participant support costs, NIH only allows participant support costs if they are explicitly identified in the Funding Opportunity Announcement. Other Federal sponsors that may allow participant support include EPA, USDA NIFA or NRCS, NOAA, and others. Non-Federal sponsors may allow participant support costs under some circumstances. These costs are typically NOT part of research grants.

    Review the funding solicitation for specific instructions and contact RSP with any questions prior to proposal submission.

  • Participant support costs do NOT include the following types of expenses:

    • Costs for PI or project staff*, such as salary and wages, fringe, or travel
    • Costs for a consultant or trainer providing services to the University project or program, such as fees or travel
    • Costs for a guest speaker or lecturer, such as honoraria or travel
    • Conference/workshop support costs such as facility rental, catering, supplies, or media equipment rental
    • Costs for collaborators, such as travel
    • Human subject payments for participating in a research project

    In general, costs listed above may be allowable on the non-PSC project budget lines, not the participant support project budget.

    *Project staff include those individuals who are listed in the Senior/Key Person or Other Personnel sections of the project budget. These individuals have an employer/employee relationship with the University and are committed to accomplishing the project’s scope of work or deliverables.