Budgeting for International Work
To spend grant funds in support of your research in another country you will have to either register in country as a legal entity or partner with an established institution to handle funds as a subcontract.
Your UC Controllers Office has information on allowable costs. Foreseeable costs should be written into the subcontract budget. Examples include bank fees on fund transfers, electric generators, drivers/translators, other transportation costs, shipping costs and shipping containers. Additional information can be found at Material Management.
This sample may help you imagine the types of things you might budget for. Sample Budget for a subcontract (downloads an excel)
Airfare budgets should reflect unrestricted, coach fare with the shortest flight time and using an American airline. The U.S. State Department has information on per diem allowances. Lodging, ground transportation costs, travel to and from the airport for departures and arrivals, extra baggage costs, visas, vaccinations, medications, business center facilities, and long distance communication costs must all be considered. Lodging and transportation are typically budgeted within the subcontract. To check UC airfares on Connexxus, log into UC Connexxus. Several UC's have developed online training for Connexxus. The UCLA Travel Center can use Connexus and charge directly to fund number. If you book by yourself, you must register separately for UC's FREE travel insurance.
A travel visa may be inappropriate if you are working, and fees are different for each visa type. If you conduct business on a tourist visa you CAN be expelled and barred from the country. Most visas are good for one year, some are three months. Be sure to budget fees for each person, each year. Some visas require an in person application. If so, budget travel to the consulate for in person interviews. Consult the U.S. State Department list of Foreign Embassies for specific visa information.
Immunizations - Your campus Occupational Health has can assist with determining appropriate vaccines, and that information is available by registering your travel. Budget for a post exposure HIV prophy kit if you intend to conduct clinic work, especially if you have UC staff on site. This will take some time to determine current costs and response standards. Budget for required shots, malaria prophylaxis and other items such as bed nets. Extra costs may be incurred for medications purchased outside regular insurance disbursements (i.e. diabetes medications, birth control pills).
UC has FREE Travel Medical Insurance. Print and carry the contact info and policy numbers. Your campus Risk Management can forward replacements, but best to leave copies with your local contacts, and store a pdf in your email as well. Some family members and travel companions may be eligible for coverage, contact your campus Risk Services office to determine what is available.
If you do not use a Partnered Institution to manage a subcontract, you need an in-country lawyer to set up legal status. UCGO team members have experience in these types of activities email us! . A common catch 22 is that IRB review costs often must be paid before approval, while approval is required prior to release of funds. It is important to request an advance from the UC side to cover this situation, as the subaward will not typically allow an advance. The Controllers Office has guidance for wire fees. Feel free to submit guidance from your campus! email us!
Anticipate the variances of local currency. Costs can inflate at double digits in some countries. Assess the inflationary rate for the country your project will be working in and budget accordingly.
There is competition for trained staff at some sites, which leads to poaching among projects. Our best experiences have come when we apply standards across geographical areas. We have gathered representative pay scales from some of our larger projects. Please contact us to learn more. These may be useful for negotiations.
File, data, and specimen storage are often required for a minimum number of years after project ends. They can be paid in advance or liened for payout in future years. UC records retention. Check your funders requirements as well.
Consider the end dates of leases or contracts. Ensure costs beyond the end date can be covered if no other project assumes them. The NIH offers detailed guidance for lease and contract close out costs specific to international work.
Other Insurance Considerations
UC property insurance includes assets held by the University abroad, let your Risk Management know of any purchases, so they covered. Your campus Risk Office can also facilitate clinical trials insurance, which is required in some countries, but it requires some time to set up. Best practices are to have the subcontract carry the insurance.
Need more information? Contact the Global HUB