Participant Support Costs

Last updated on January 30, 2017

Participant Support Costs are excluded from the Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC) base for federal projects. Indirect costs may not be applied to Participant Support Costs for federal projects.

UCSF Summary (click to expand)

Participant support costs are defined in the Uniform Guidance as 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 (except NIH Kirschstein-NRSA programs). Participant support costs do not include expenses incurred to incent or enable research subjects to participate in studies, such as gift cards, stipends, dependent care costs, parking fees and transportation.
Please note that participant support costs are not routinely allowed on research projects. Typically, these expenses are incurred for projects that include an education or outreach component. The FOA will indicate when these expenses are allowable as direct costs to the project.
The Modified Total Direct Cost (MTDC) base is multiplied by the F&A rates to calculate the amount of indirect costs on a project. The Uniform Guidance excludes participant support costs from the MTDC base and defines this base for sponsored projects awarded on or after December 26, 2014 as follows:
MTDC means all direct salaries and wages, applicable fringe benefits, materials and supplies, services, travel, and up to the first $25,000 of each subaward (regardless of the period of performance of the subawards under the award). MTDC excludes equipment, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, rental costs, tuition remission, scholarships and fellowships, participant support costs and subaward expenses in excess of $25,000.

Application at UCSF (click to expand)

For NIH awards these costs are only allowable when identified in the funding opportunity announcement (FOA).
Participant Costs should be explicitly listed in the proposal budget or approved by the funding agency after the award has been made. These costs will be tracked uniquely in GL Account 57824 - Participant Support Payment (versus Research subject payments in GL Account 57823). Participant Support costs also will not realize indirect cost recovery under the Uniform Guidance.
To accommodate this new expense category, a new expense type, Participant Support Cost, is going to be added to MyExpense. A notice to the campus will be sent when MyExpense is updated. Please remember, as with Research Subject Payments, all confidential information related to HIPAA should be redacted from any submitted documentation.

Agency Specific Guidelines (click to expand)

• National Science Foundation - Grant Proposal Guide
Chapter II.C.2.g(v), Participant Support
Chapter II.D.9 Proposals for Conferences

• National Science Foundation - Award and Administration Guide
Chapter V.A.3, Prior Written Approvals
• National Institutes of Health - Grants Policy Statement
Part I - General Information Glossary
Part II, Section 7.9 Allowability of Costs/Activities