Participant support costs are those costs paid to (or on behalf of) participants in meetings, conferences, symposia, training activities, workshops and similar events. When Sponsor (federal or non-federal agency) funds a project aimed at supporting outreach programs to bring experts together to discuss research or education findings or to expose other researchers or students to new research and education techniques, the funding provided by the sponsor may include this category of expenses.
Specifically, participant support costs may include costs of transportation or travel allowance, per diem, manuals and supplies (only those directly attributable to individual participants), tuition and stipends, publication and other related costs for participants or trainees. If NCSU hosts a conference or workshop, participant support costs are subject to the NCSU Conference & Workshop guidelines. However, if the event is hosted by another entity, these guidelines will not apply. The number of participants to be supported must be entered in the parentheses on the proposal budget. These costs also must be justified in the budget justification section of the proposal. Some programs, such as Research Experiences for Undergraduates, have special instructions for treatment of participant support.
The new Uniform Guidance regulations do not allow indirect costs to be charged on participant support costs.
Participant support costs are excluded from the calculation of Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC) under the Uniform Guidance’s new definition, Section 200.68 of MTDC. 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 subawards under the award). MTDC excludes equipment, tuition remission, scholarships and fellowships, and the portion of each subaward in excess of $25,000.
Participant support costs should not be confused with general travel costs which may be incurred by principal investigators and others as those costs relate to individual research and other projects.
- Participant support costs should be considered as only those costs that can directly be attributable to an individual participant rather than costs that support all participants collectively.
- Costs for project organizers (such as PI, co-I, etc.), speakers, and program facilititators or coordinators, even where these individuals may also participate as a program participant, are not considered participant support costs.
- Examples of programs where participant support costs may be appropriate include:
- Research Experience for Undergraduates funded by the NSF
- Conference and workshops as part of a larger scope project such as a multi-site research project
- See Uniform Guidance for definition of participant support (Section 200.75) and the definition of Modified Total Direct Costs (Section 200.68).
- Refer to specific agency regulations for additional guidance on participant support costs.