Travel on Sponsored Awards

Travel funded by sponsored awards often presents unique spending challenges: participants submit eligible reimbursement requests long after the activity period has ended and award funds have been fully expended, exempt participant-travel costs are improperly coded in BFS and consequently included in the indirect cost rate calculation applied to other spending on the award, and payments prepared in the campus TRV system are rejected as unallowed costs by an auditor at award closeout due to incomplete or inaccurate information about the trip in the official record.  

The Berkeley Law Contracts/Grants Specialist can advise Principal Investigators during proposal development about options for describing and estimating travel-related costs – proactively addressing and mitigating spending challenges well before award activity commences.  

TRAVEL STRATEGY FOR PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS

Participant travel packets can be prepared for law school Principal Investigators by the Berkeley Law Contracts/Grants Specialist.  Each packet can include:  

UC Travel Policy
– all travel supported by University funds, including travel on sponsored awards, is subject to UC travel policy, regardless of the traveler’s affiliation or home institution.  

Traveler instructions and taxpayer information
– explains how trip-related costs for a sponsored activity will be handled by the PI and how reimbursements will be issued by the University.  For example, should travelers use the campus travel agency to arrange an airline itinerary that can be billed directly to the University, or will they be reimbursed for this cost?  Will the host provide pre-paid lodging and meals during the event in lieu of individual reimbursements for these costs?  Is there a maximum amount to be paid to each participant (stipend) in lieu of out-of-pocket expense reimbursements?  When and to whom should reimbursement requests be submitted? Can reimbursements be made directly to the traveler’s employer?  

Travel reimbursement form – a customized template can be produced for each event with the appropriate award number, award project title, event title and date(s), business purpose and full chartstring.  The traveler can complete this form by hand and scan/send the signed form and receipts, typically to the Berkeley Law Contracts/Grants Specialist, for review and subsequent submission to Business Services for payment.  Using a prefabricated template eliminates internal workload to transfer trip information to another version of a travel expense form, and ensures that TRV reports prepared by Business Services for the sponsored activity are accurate and complete in the official record.