This document outlines how to obtain reimbursement for research expenses. There are two possible avenues: departmental support and external grants.
Trainees can apply for a contribution from the course towards their research expenses. Normally, the amount available from the course is up to £250 per person. However, in some special cases funding up to a maximum of £400 will be granted if a strong case can be made that such additional money is essential for a project to be viable. For example, the course will consider applications for between £250 and £400 if it is demonstrated that extra money is required for participant payment, in order for a study to achieve sufficient sample size. We are unfortunately unable to support projects costing more than £400: additional sources of funds must be found if such projects are to go ahead.
Research Expenses Proposal Form
For all expenses, we need an itemised proposal, submitted at the start of term 2 of the 2nd year (See Project Support Moodle for the exact deadline). You need to download and complete the Proposal for Research Expenses Form. Your internal supervisor will need to approve the costings and sign the form. Please submit the signed form to the Research Administrator which will be then passed on to the Research Committee for approval. To be approved, budgets must be well-argued and itemised. We can only fund expenses directly related to your project. Some examples are given below. If in doubt, consult the Research Administrator first.
Common types of expenditure
Payment for participating in a study. You can pay participants a moderate amount for their participation in the study (if this has been approved by an ethics committee). If you are giving them cash, you will need to use the departmental Participant Receipt Form. An alternative is to pay them with a store voucher (e.g. HMV), in which case you just need to retain your receipts for buying the vouchers.
If you are paying participants for taking part in your study or reimbursing their travel expenses you need to pay them directly (either cash or vouchers) and then claim the money back yourself through the expenses system outlined in the Reimbursements section below. Please note that the Participant Receipt Form alone is not sufficient to get reimbursed, you must also complete a UCL Expense Claim Form.
Participants are often incentivised using vouchers, eg for Amazon. Please bear in mind that the tax position of some companies means their use can raise concerns among some participants. An alternative is to offer to donate to a charity instead and we encourage this where it is feasible.
Payment of participant's travel expenses. If participants are travelling to you, then you can reimburse them for their travel expenses. To do this, you will need to use the departmental Participant Receipt Form. If you are doing the travelling, this goes on the UCL Expense Claim Form.
Compensation for Experts by Experience or Carer consultation in research. Experts by Experience/carers involved in research consultation are commonly compensated in the form of vouchers, but please be mindful that vouchers may count towards remuneration for tax/benefits calculations.
The rate of compensation will depend on the type of consultation. Your supervisor will be well placed to provide guidance on the recommended amount. For your information, in 2018 the hourly rate for attending the UCL Experts by Experience and Carer Reference group was £11.82. When Experts by Experience join a lecture they receive the standard hourly lecturer rate of £17.50.
You can purchase the vouchers (e.g. Amazon, Tesco, TKMax, M&S, etc.) and obtain your receipts for buying the vouchers. You would need to complete the UCL IExpenses Form and attach the receipts along with it. This expense needs to be named as: "Voucher for Research".
Postage. This is usually for those projects which involve sending out questionnaires with SAEs. Stamps should be purchased in advance and receipts submitted for refunding. Post can also be put through the College system. If this involves a bulk mailing you must liaise with the Research Administrator before you send it through.The administrative arrangements for receiving mail at UCL are as follows. All incoming mail should be addressed to you. If you are using UCL headed paper, you should indicate a phone number, other than that of the general office, where you can be contacted. You should notify staff in the General Office that there will be quantities of mail arriving for you and arrange where you would like it left. Please remember that we cannot store large quantities of mail in the general office for long periods so you should ensure regular collection of any bulk post.
Stationery. If your project involves large amounts of paper or a large number of envelopes then these should be obtained through UCL (see section below for examples of costs). Contact the Research Administrator in advance: there is often a lead time for stocks to be ordered.
Printing and duplicating. If you need to make multiple copies of questionnaires etc., the cheapest option is to use a reprographics company. The closest one is the University of London Union Print Centre. You should get a quote for your work (specifying the number of sides, size (A4, A5, etc.), whether you want the pages backed or stapled, and how many copies are needed). This quote should be included in your research expenses form.
Forms for psychological tests. Almost all psychological tests are copyrighted, and if you need to administer a test to your participants, you will need to use original record forms. When completing your Proposal for Research Expenses, please contact the Research Administrator for a quote on the forms: we have arrangements with some suppliers where we may be able to get a discount.
Recording your research interviews. You can borrow a digital voice recorder from the Department to record interviews and transfer audio files to your computer. You can then transcribe the interviews using a transcription program such as Express Scribe which can be freely downloaded.
Other items of equipment. As far as is possible, all small items of equipment should be purchased through UCL. Please contact the Research Administrator giving details of the product, cost etc. so that we can check whether it can be ordered through the UCL approved supplier. All equipment items purchased are the property of the department and must be given back when your study is completed.
The cost of all items purchased through the Department (e.g. stationery and equipment) will be deducted from your research budget.
Expenditure not usually funded through the Department
Travel. The principles that govern claims for travel for research purposes are essentially the same as for placement-related travel. However, your placement supervisor is not usually in a position to authenticate travel linked to research. As such you should submit claims separately from placement travel (but using the same travel form) and ask your internal supervisor to countersign before passing it to the Placement Coordinator (after which it will be signed-off by the Research Directors).
Travel outside the region is not automatically funded (because your contract with the NHS only covers travel within the region). For this reason payment is decided on a case-by-case basis through John King and Will Mandy (as Research Directors). For example, a one-off visit to a site close to London may well be funded, but this may not be the case for research that requires repeated long-distance visits for data collection. In all cases there should be some advance negotiation with the Research Directors.
Phone calls. You can make phone calls concerning your research at UCL, but we cannot refund personal phone statements. You could possibly budget for a cheap pay-as-you-go mobile if you don't want to use your own phone for research matters.
Employment. We are unfortunately prevented by College from using your research money to employ people.
Conferences. We are normally unable to fund conferences. In some cases we may be able to help with costs within your overall research budget. Some conferences may offer students reduced rates.
After your research expenses request has been approved, we cannot advance you any money; you must keep the original receipts for all expenditures – no receipts, no reimbursement! Further information regarding this is available via the Project Support Moodle site (Topic 6).
You must submit expenses claims within 3 months of expenditure - failure to do so means that you are unlikely to be reimbursed. All original receipts must be attached when submitting a claim.
It will obviously be easier if you claim for several items at once. Please note that reimbursements are made by College and not the Department. Reimbursements are made by bank transfers, not cash, and arrive from UCL Finance approximately two weeks after your claim has been submitted.
The last date for putting in claims is just after you complete the project. You will hand in your thesis in June; we would like any claims with receipts to be submitted before the first of July. This is because funds must be allocated well before the end of the financial year, which ends in August.
Please note that you are responsible for keeping track of all expenditures: you must keep copies of all receipts and invoices.
Before you submit your first claim please drop an email to Priya Dey, the Research Administrator confirming your UPI number which can be found on your student ID card and the amount you are claiming. You will then be set up on the MyFinance IExpenses system and receive an email confirming how to log into that system and submit your claims. Please select Julia Curl as the approver before submitting any expense claim. The guide on how to change approver can be found here. Your claims can't be processed without these details.
You must email Priya Dey confirming the amount of expenditure everytime you submit any claim. This is necessary for monitoring Research budget.
External sources of funding are too numerous to list. They include the research councils (such as the MRC and the ESRC), charities, drug companies and commercial benefactors. However, the workload, time delays and the stiff competition usually make these funding sources unsuitable for DClinPsy projects.
Finally, the NHS Trust in which you are doing your research may be willing to help with funding, especially if matching funds are being obtained from elsewhere.
Note that funds must be applied for in advance: they are never awarded retrospectively. Furthermore, competition is fierce, so you must ensure that the project is viable without external funding.
Examples of costings
The standard rate agreed by UCL psychology researchers for "healthy volunteer subject fees" is £6 per hour. This is kept at a uniform rate to avoid competition between researchers. It applies only to cases where you are advertising for participants from within UCL; if you are recruiting from, say, a community group where you are not potentially in competition with other studies, you may pay slightly more.
Envelopes through UCL
100 DL (letter size) envelopes £0.47
100 B5 (A4 folded once) envelopes £1.29
100 C4 (A4 flat) envelopes £1.44
Copier paper through UCL
A4, 80gsm £5.00 per ream (500 sheets)
A3, 80gsm £10.00 per ream
Normally 6p per copy, but less for large print jobs.
20 sides, A4, backed and stapled - 100 copies £65.80
(Example) 25 WASI forms £72.00 including VAT.