NSF I-Corps Grant Financial Guidelines

The following outlines expense types that will be considered for approval and those that are prohibited under this grant. These guidelines also describe which funding method(s) may be used to pay for the various expense types. See the Funding Methods Key below for a detailed explanation of each method and its restrictions.   *Please Remember that all expenses must adhere to the NSF I-Corps Grant guidelines and are subject to the review and approval of the Selection Committee and the National Science Foundation.   Download the NSF I-Corps Site Financial Guidelines

Permitted Expense Types

Use For

Applicable Funding Methods

Materials and Supplies• Materials and supplies used to create a prototype (for product) or pilot program (for services)

I / R / PC

Meetings and Conferences• Cost of admission as well as ancillary costs (i.e., transportation, meals, speaker’s fees, etc.)
- Conferences related to your product/service’s industry
- Meetings hosted by the team for the purpose of customer discovery or market research

I / R / PC

Transportation• Costs related to the delivery of goods (i.e., postage)

I / R

Travel Costs• Costs related to travel, accommodations, and meals while traveling

R / F2

Contractors• Contracted work is only approved so long as the proposed work is to be completed by 1) a student of the University of Rochester (SP); or 2) a firm the meets the University’s contractor guidelines (I)

I / SP


Funding Methods Key

  1. Invoice (I): Established firm directly invoices the CFE for payment.
  2. P-Card (PC): Purchases made with the CFE department credit card. There are restrictions on the items and services that are billed to the card, so requests to use the P-Card will be reviewed on those criteria as well.
  3. Reimbursement (R): Approved purchases made by an I-Corps team member and later repaid by the CFE. *Thorough documentation and receipts of purchases are required for reimbursement.
  4. Stipend Payment (SP): Students hired by the CFE department and compensated in two lumps sum payments. *Only University of Rochester students are eligible for compensation through this method.
  5. F-2 Request for Advance Travel Form (F2): Transportation-specific expenses billed to the CFE department directly. *Only valid for travel plans made 30+ days in advance. *May only be used for air or rail transportation.

Prohibited Expenses

  1. Administrative (i.e. office supplies and equipment)
  2. Legal Fees (i.e. patent applications, incorporation fees, attorney retainer and hourly fees)
  3. Alcohol

Full Financial Guidelines

  1. Materials and Supplies (I, R, PC): Materials and supplies are defined as tangible personal property other than equipment, costing less than $5,000.
    1. Only materials and supplies actually used for the performance of a sponsored agreement may be charged as direct costs.
    2. Materials and supplies must be integral in the function or development of the product or service to be eligible.
  2. Meetings and Conferences (I, R, PC): Costs of meetings, trade shows, and conferences are allowable. This includes the cost of meals, transportation, registration fees, rental of facilities, speakers’ fees, and other items incidental to such meetings or conferences.
    1. Alcohol is strictly prohibited for reimbursement and may not appear on any receipt submitted for reimbursement
    2. Receipts submitted for reimbursement must only be for the individual receiving reimbursement.
  3. Transportation (I, R): Costs incurred for freight, express, cartage, postage, and other transportation services relating either to goods purchased, in process, or delivered.
  4. Travel Costs (R, F2): Travel costs are the expenses for transportation, lodging, subsistence, and related items. Such costs may be charged on an actual cost basis or on a per diem or mileage basis in lieu of actual costs incurred.
    1. Lodging and Subsistence:
      1. Costs of lodging, other subsistence, and incidental expenses shall be covered as long as they are reasonable and allocable as defined above.
      2. Teams must utilize the federal government’s per diem rate schedule (https://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/104877) to determine maximum allowable expenses for lodging and subsistence in destination.
    2. Commercial Air Travel:
      1. Airfare costs in excess of the customary standard commercial airfare (coach or equivalent), or the lowest commercial discount airfare are unallowable except when such accommodations would:
        1. Require circuitous routing
        2. Require travel during unreasonable hours
        3. Excessively prolong travel
        4. Result in additional costs that would offset the transportation savings; or
        5. Offer accommodations not reasonably adequate for the traveler’s medical needs. Teams must justify and document these conditions on a case-by-case basis in order for the use of first-class airfare to be allowable in such cases.
    3. Destinations
      1. Any proposed domestic travel outside the contiguous US or to any warm-weather “vacation” destination, will need formal approval by Duncan Moore and the PI.
    4. Pre-Departure Meeting
      1. Teams must meet with the I-Corps Site Program Manager prior to any travel to review financial guidelines and expectations while traveling
  5. Contractors (I, SP): Payments to contractors who are not associated with the business. These contractors will have to be pre-cleared by the Selection Committee to ensure no conflicts of interest exist. No payments are permitted to the grant recipients and/or team members.