Due to recent clarification from the National Science Foundation, effective January 22, 2018, there will be changes to budgeting for participant support costs on all sponsored projects.
Per the federal regulations, the participant support cost category is for the support of participants or trainees only. Participant support costs are for direct cost items such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not employees) in connection with conferences, or training projects.
Unless specifically approved in the sponsor solicitation, the participant support cost category should not include costs for items such as speaker or trainer fees, room rental fees, catering at the event, and supplies. These costs are typically allowable but they must be budgeted and charged in the appropriate category within the non-participant direct costs portion of the budget.
Participant support costs will be charged in accordance with the approved budget on existing awards and any future awards where the proposal was submitted prior to this clarification.