Research OSPA:Research Assistant vs Participant Cost vs Subject Payments

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Research Assistant Participant Cost Subject Payment

Is the person an employee? Yes No No*

Does the person receive fringe benefits? Yes No No

Is the person responsible for deliverables, working in a lab developing a thesis/dissertation, etc? Yes No No

Does the person receive performance reviews? Yes No No

Is the person enrolled at UTD? Yes No No*

Is the person participating in a research project by being part of a survey, taking part in a research project, etc? No No Yes

Is there an IRB protocol on file? No No Yes

Is the person attending a conference or training project? No Yes No

Can the funds be rebudgeted without prior approval? Yes** No Yes**

Is the person part of an REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) or traineeship? No Yes No


If the relationship is that of a **Research Assistant**, then institution personnel policies will apply. In a proposal budget, the individual should be listed under Salaries and Wages and the PS code will be C5032. The employee cannot be listed under Participant Support. Full IDC will apply.[1]

If the relationship is that of a Participant Support Cost, then institution personnel policies will apply. In a proposal budget, the individual should be listed under Participant Support Costs and the the PS code will be C7010. The person cannot be an Employee. IDC will not apply.

If the relationship is that of a Subject Payment, then institution policies will apply, including the necessity of an approved IRB protocol on file. In a proposal budget, the cost should be listed under Other Direct Costs and the PS code will be C6903. Full IDC will apply. [2]

  • A person receiving a subject payment may be a UTD employee. **Depending on sponsor guidelines


What are Participant Support Costs?

Participant support costs (as defined in 2 CFR 200.75) 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. The Uniform Guidance (2 CRF 200) requires prior approval of the federal agency in order to incur participant support costs under federally sponsored awards.


What costs are not considered Participant Support Costs?

Participant Support Costs do not include honoraria for guest speakers, expenses for the PI, project staff or collaborators to attend project meetings, conferences, or seminars, payments to RAs, or payments made to research subjects as an incentive for recruitment or participation in a research project. UTD employees are not considered participants therefore costs incurred for UTD employees do not qualify as Participant Support Costs.


Rebudgeting Participant Support Costs

Any rebudgeting of Participant Supports Costs to another budget category requires the approval of the federal agency. For non-federal sponsors, award specific guidelines should be consulted before rebudgeting Participant Support Costs.


Issued: June 2015