Human Study Subjects

Human research relies on volunteers to participate in studies. It is not uncommon for a researcher to reimburse subjects for travel or other expenses that they may incur as a result of participation in a study. Some studies may also offer compensation as a means to attract volunteers. The Institutional Review Board reviews all proposed plans for reimbursement or compensation provided to subjects to ensure that such payments are not coercive or provide the potential for undue influence. Another consideration of the Institutional Review Board, particularly for research involving the collection of sensitive data, is that the confidentiality of the subject(s) is protected.

The University prefers that payment of human subject study incentives or reimbursements are provided from a petty cash account.  However, the University will reimburse an employee who has expended their own funds and is requesting reimbursement. 

Documentation Required

The employee should provide the date of expense, the study name or number, the participant ID, the amount paid, and the nature of the payment (incentive compensation vs. reimbursement) when requesting reimbursement.

According to IRS regulations, total annual compensation (subject incentives) to study subjects of $600 or greater is considered taxable compensation and reportable to the IRS. The Department should document that no participant has received more than $600 annually.  If a participant has received more than $600, the department must include the recipient’s name, home address and Social Security number for Form 1099 reporting.  A Form W-9 should be requested from the individual to document the Social Security number