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.
The 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.
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 MY ACCESS. Here are Connexxus training materials. The UCLA Travel Center can use Connexus and charge directly to a speedchart 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 - UCSF Occupational Health has a Travel Clinic to assist with determining appropriate vaccines. Budget for a post exposure HIV prophy kit if you intend to conduct clinic work, especially if you have UCSF staff on site. Talk to Medical Education to determine if prophys are being rotated through your site. Occupational Health can assist with questions of 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).
UCSF has a FREE Travel Medical Insurance program. Print and carry the contact info and policy numbers. UCSF Risk Management can forward replacements, but best to leave copies with your UCSF contact as well. Some family members and travel companions have some coverage.
If you do not use a UCSF Partnered Institution to manage a subcontract, you need an in-country lawyer to set up legal status. We can help with a referral if you need it. UCSF has guidance on requesting advances for a subaward. IRB review costs often must be paid before approval, while approval is required prior to release of funds, thus they must be paid with an advance.
Other Insurance Considerations
UCSF property insurance includes assets held by the University abroad, let Risk Management know so that purchases are covered. Consider clinical trials insurance, it is required in some countries. Best practices are to have the subcontract carry the insurance. Risk Management needs to begin the quote request right away.
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. The Controllers Office has guidance for wire fees.
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. Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda.
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. UCSF 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.
Need more information? Contact the Global HUB