Paying Human Subjects and Participant Support

Paying human subjects and participant support

Two common expenses for sponsored projects are human subject payments and participant support. These are commonly mistaken for one another. Please refer to the definitions below:

Human subjects are individuals that provide something to the research project such as data or information. Human subjects payments are typically small payments (sometimes referred to as participant incentives and respondent fees) made to individuals who are participating in a research project as “human subjects.” These costs should be expensed to account code 727140.

Participant support includes stipends, subsistence allowances, registration fees, supplies and manuals paid to, or on behalf of individuals who typically get something from the project (not acting as subjects from which data or information is collected). “Participants” may be attendees at conferences, symposia, training activities or workshops that are directly related to the research project or program. These costs should be expensed to either account code 783120 – Participant Support Services for stipends or subsistence allowances or account code 783110 – Participant Support Reimbursement of Expenses for reimbursing such costs to participants. When paying participant support from a sponsored project, such expenses must be part of the approved sponsored project budget and budgeted separately. Participant support costs are not charged F&A (indirect cost) recovery.

Payments to individuals for either type of expense can be made through two mechanisms:

1. Project Advance or Imprest Fund accounts (for paying individuals cash or gift cards)
2. Purchase vouchers (see “Human Subjects and the Transparency in Government Act” below for information re: protection of privacy information for human subjects)

More information about requesting and managing these accounts or purchase vouchers can be found on the Finance & Administration webpages.

Human subjects and the Transparency in Government Act

Senate Bill 300, the Transparency in Government Act, was passed during the 2008 legislative session and signed by Governor Perdue in May 2008. This bill requires state agencies and state institutions to extract all trade vendor payment data (vendor ID, vendor name, amount and number of payments) to the Department of Audits and Accounts (DOAA). The DOAA will then make this data available to be viewed by the public via a searchable website.

The DOAA has approved for all state agencies and state institutions to exclude any payments related to the HIPAA and human subjects from this extraction. Georgia State excludes any payments using the account code for human subject payments (727140) from this extraction. It is therefore important to use this correct account code when paying human subjects with a payment request form to ensure this private information is not made available to any searchable public websites.