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UPPS 02.02.06 - Research Advances and Payments to Human Subjects

Research Advances and Payments to Human Subjects

UPPS No. 02.02.06
Issue No. 2
Revised: 4/09/2014
Effective Date: 10/14/2013
Next Review Date: 11/01/2017 (E4Y)
Sr. Reviewer: Assistant Vice President for Research and Federal Relations


    1. The purpose of this UPPS is to establish guidelines for cash advances for funded research projects or scholarly creative activities that require expenditures for activities for which it is impossible or impractical to use the normal university procurement or reimbursement processes. This policy also includes guidelines for incentive payments to human subjects participating in funded research projects (see Procedures for Paying Human Subjects).

    2. Principal Investigators (PIs) receiving research advances are personally responsible for ensuring the expenditures incurred under the advance are allowable under university policy and federal, state, local, or grantor guidelines, as applicable.

    3. Ultimately, requests for research advances are approved by the assistant vice president for Research and Federal Relations, but approvals by the appropriate chair and dean are also required for advances equaling or exceeding $2,500 and $10,000, respectively.


    1. Research Advances – Funds provided to a faculty or research staff member prior to initiation of research or scholarly creative projects to facilitate expenditures for the activity that are impossible or impractical to make through the normal university procurement or reimbursement processes. The expenditures from the research advance must be substantiated after completion of the research or scholarly creative project and any unsubstantiated amount must be repaid to the university. These projects may be internally or externally funded.

      Research advances may be used to cover allowable expenses approved by the granting foundation or organization, and may include, but are not limited to:

      1. Lodging

      2. food and tips

      3. vehicle rental and transportation costs

      4. gasoline

      5. postage and shipping

      6. supplies and materials

      7. equipment purchase, rental or repair

      8. contract labor

      9. subcontractor or guide

      10. human subject incentives (see Procedures for Paying Human Subjects)

      11. research station use fees

      12. research permit or research material loan fees

      13. admission (museum or similar facility) or conference fees

      14. purchase or duplication of research materials (books, manuscripts or documents)

      15. communication fees (phone, cell phone or internet)

    2. Research – For the purposes of this policy, is broadly defined as an activity within any academic discipline at Texas State directed toward fuller knowledge, understanding, scholarship or creative expression.

    3. Past Due – A research advance reconciliation has not been received by the Accounts Payable Office within 30 days after the research or scholarly creative project period end date.

    4. Substantiated Expense or Substantiated Funds – Expenses that are documented by adequate receipts, invoices, or other acceptable supporting evidence of the amount, time and place, and business purpose of expenses paid from a research advance.

    5. Unsubstantiated Expense or Unsubstantiated Funds – Research advance funds which are not supported on the research advance reconciliation with receipts or for which a research advance reconciliation was not submitted within the required time frame.

    6. Project Period – The time during which the research advance funds are needed to support the research or scholarly creative activity. The time frame is limited to the immediate needs of the project and will generally not exceed a 4 month period. The project period does not usually coincide with the grant or project period as defined by the sponsor.

    Sections 02.07- 02.11 refer to payment of human subjects addressed in Procedures for Paying Human Subjects.

    1. Human Subject – A living individual about whom an investigator (whether professional or student) conducting research obtains: 1) data through intervention or interaction with the individual; or 2) identifiable private information.

    2. Independent Contractor – An individual who is compensated for performing a service for the university and who does not have an employee relationship with the university.

    3. Interaction – The physical procedures by which data are gathered and manipulations of the subject or the subject’s environment that are performed for research purposes. Interaction includes communication or interpersonal contact between investigator and subject.

    4. Private Information – Information about behavior that occurs in a context in which an individual can reasonably expect that no observation or recording is taking place, and information which has been provided for specific purposes by an individual and which the individual can reasonably expect will not be made public (for example, a medical record). Private information must be individually identifiable (i.e., the identity of the subject is or may readily be ascertained by the investigator or associated with the information) in order for obtaining the information to constitute research involving human subjects.

    5. Institutional Review Board (IRB) – A Board whose members are appointed by the associate vice president for Research and Federal Relations (AVPR). The Board and its staff are responsible, in conjunction with administrative officers of the university, for ensuring that university personnel and student researchers comply with applicable federal regulations and guidelines.

    6. IRB Approval – The determination of the IRB that the research has been reviewed and may be conducted at an institution within the constraints set forth by the IRB and by other institutional and federal requirements.

    7. Minimal Risk – The probability and magnitude of harm or discomfort anticipated in the research are not greater in and of themselves than those ordinarily encountered in daily life or during the performance of routine physical or psychological examinations or tests.

    8. Protocol – Plan of Study that details experimental protocols or methods.


    1. Research advances will be provided only for research or scholarly creative activities for which processing on-campus payments are impossible or impractical. Justification to support this determination should be included on the request.

    2. PIs are allowed to request research advances for themselves, field personnel, research and creative staff, and students. PIs will be accountable for all funds provided by any research advance.

    3. Only PIs can submit a research cash advance request. Co-PIs or students are not eligible to request cash advances. In situations where there are two co-PIs, SAP identifies one as the primary co-PI and that individual will have the authority to request research advances.

    4. A research advance may be issued as either a one-time advance or a revolving advance.

      1. A one-time advance is intended for situations where a relatively moderate advance is needed for a relatively short period of time.

      2. A revolving advance is intended for situations where a relatively large advance is needed for a relatively long period of time. Revolving advances are issued in increments designed to match the needs of the PI while minimizing the outstanding amount of the advance.

    5. Research advances are not designed to cover PI’s routine travel expenses. Routine travel expenses should be reimbursed under Texas State travel policies and procedures.

    6. OMB Circulars define the cost standard for sponsored agreements. Any unallowable expenditures on a sponsored agreement may be charged to the PI’s departmental funds or another account designated by the chair or dean. Unallowable expenditures under university policy may require the PI to repay the advance from personal funds.

    7. The PI cannot be issued a research advance while on the Texas Payee Information System (State hold).

    8. The PI will substantiate expenses incurred and deposit cash equaling the unsubstantiated portion of the advance within 30 days after the end date of the research or scholarly creative activities.

    9. PIs in past due status are not eligible for another research advance until all outstanding advances is reconciled.

    10. Research advances become reportable as income on the PI’s W-2 when either expenses are not substantiated or any unsubstantiated amounts are not deposited within 60 days from the end date of the research or scholarly creative activities. IRS reporting and payroll tax withholding regulations will be followed by the Texas State University Payroll and Tax Compliance Department.

    11. Research advances will be issued and monitored by the Accounts Payable Office at the direction of the director of Accounting or his or her designee.


    1. A PI must complete a Research Advance Request Form AP-5 according to instructions and submit the completed form to the AVPR with appropriate signatures. If the PI is the departmental chair or dean, approval from a supervisor at least one-level higher is required.

      If the research cash advance is for payment of human subjects, the PI must still submit a Research Advance Request Form, but must also follow procedures outlined in Procedures for Paying Human Subjects. In the minimum, additional documentation is required in the form of a log of disbursements and a receipt of funds.

      1. Ten working days should be allowed from the date when the Research Advance Request Form is submitted to AVPR Office for processing of the request.

      2. If the research advance is funded by a grant, in part or in whole, the request will be routed to the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) for allowable cost verification prior to approval by the AVPR.

      3. Upon approval from the AVPR, the completed request form will be submitted to Accounts Payable to process the payment.

      4. Accounts Payable will process an encumbrance against the account from which the advance will be charged upon reconciliation.

    2. Funding must be available for any research advance to be awarded. Funding of advances is considered to be made from university funds and not sponsors funds even though the encumbrance is made on a sponsored program account. Expenditures made from advances are not considered the sponsor’s responsibility until the reconciliation is complete and the reconciling transaction is recorded.

    3. Within 30 days of completion of the project period as defined on the approved Research Advance Request Form, the PI will complete a Research Advance Reconciliation Form AP-6 according to the instructions and submit to the Office of AVPR with receipts or other acceptable supporting documentation to account for the research advance.

      1. The PI will repay any unsubstantiated advance funds to Texas State University. Repayment will be made at the Student Business Services Office and is required prior to submission of the Research Advance Reconciliation Form. The PI will provide a departmental deposit receipt as a part of the documentation to support the Research Advance Reconciliation Form.

      2. OSP will approve the expenditures as allowable and in compliance with federal, state, local, or grantor guidelines, policies, and procedures. The PI should provide supporting documentation to address any and all extraordinary expenditures which in normal routine business would not be payable, but is allowable in a research capacity.

      3. Accounts Payable and Travel will audit the expenditures in accordance with university policies and procedures.


    1. Reviewers of this UPPS include the following:

      Position Date
      Assistant Vice President for Research and Federal Relations Nov. 1 E4Y
      Director of Accounting Nov. 1 E4Y
      Director of Office of Sponsored Programs Nov. 1 E4Y

    This UPPS has been reviewed by the following individuals in their official capacities and represent Texas State policy and procedure from the date of this document until superseded.

    Assistant Vice President for Research and Federal Relations, senior reviewer of this UPPS

    Associate Vice President for Research and Federal Relations

    Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs