Other Direct Costs

Defining Other Direct Costs

The other direct costs (or other costs) category includes those costs that are not appropriate to include in other cost categories discussed in this section or as requested by the sponsor's budget form. Generally, such costs include animal per diem costs (the cost of animals should be listed as a supply), human subject honoraria, publication charges, subawards, computer time, maintenance and other service agreements/charges, patient care costs, space rental, consultants, alterations or renovations, equipment rental, etc. Some of these costs are discussed below.


In order to recruit for human subject enrollment in a study or trial, most sponsors allow advertising costs to be proposed in the budget.

Most sponsor budget forms have a separate budget item or budget category for advertising. However, occasionally, advertising may be separately negotiated from the overall budget and addressed separately in the contract. Whether using the sponsor's budget form or preparing a standard budget, carefully anticipate the type of advertising (print ads, flyers, radio ads, etc.) and secure cost estimates from potential advertising sources.


Consultants are individuals hired to give professional advice or services for a fee but not as an employee of the University and they do not perform a portion of the programmatic work. Consultants are used to provide such advice or services when no other University employee with like expertise or experience is available to participate in the proposed project. University policy prohibits University personnel from serving as paid consultants on grants or contracts awarded to UCI.

Do not list consultants in the personnel or salary and wages section of the budget.

Cost estimates should be secured in writing. This may be in the form of a written quote or in a letter from the principal investigator or department to the consultant confirming a verbal quote.

Do not use the words "honoraria" or "honorarium" to describe payments to consultants as it implies that there is no requirement to perform any service.

Review the sponsor's budget guidelines for limitations on consultant costs.

IRB Fees on Industry Sponsored Clinical Trials

IRB fees are charged for Industry-Sponsored Clinical Trials. Please visit the IRB fees page for further details and information.

Human Subject Honoraria

Human subject honoraria is a payment made to study subjects for participating in the research project or clinical trial (a.k.a., subject fees).

Most sponsor budget forms have a separate budget item or budget category for this expense. Occasionally, subject fees are paid to subjects as they progress through the research project or protocol. In either case, when budgeting for subject fees, be sure to multiply the total fee paid per subject by the anticipated number of subjects. In addition, based on historical experience, budget for the fees paid to a subject who completes only a portion of the protocol.

Patient Care Costs

Patient care costs are the costs of hospitalization and other routine and ancillary medical services provided by hospitals, including University and affiliated hospitals, but not laboratories of academic departments or organized research units, to individuals participating as research subjects in research programs.

  • Routine Services are regular room services, minor medical and surgical supplies, and the use of equipment and facilities, for which a separate charge is not customarily made.
  • Ancillary Services are those special services for which charges are customarily made in addition to routine services, e.g., x-ray, operating room, laboratory, pharmacy, blood bank, and pathology.

Patient Care Costs  do not include (1) the otherwise allowable items of personal expense reimbursement, such as patient travel, consulting physician fees, or any other direct payments related to all classes of individuals, including inpatients, outpatients, subjects, volunteers and donors; (2) costs of ancillary tests performed in facilities outside the hospital on a fee-for-service basis (e.g., in an independent, privately owned laboratory) or in an affiliated medical school/university based on an organizational fee schedule; (3) laboratory tests performed at a medical school/university not associated with a hospital routine or ancillary service, (4) recruitment or retention fees or (5) data management or statistical analysis of clinical research results.

A project that does not have an Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved human subjects protocol may not incur research patient care costs.


Estimate the cost of preparing and publishing project results by determining the journal(s) in which project results will be published. Then use the established page rate charge(s) assessed by the journal(s) to estimate publication costs based on the anticipated number of pages to be published (based on historical experience).


Entering into a subaward is the means by which a portion of the project work (programmatic or technical effort) is transferred to another institution, organization, UC campus or entity.

A proposal from the subaward recipient must be secured and included with or incorporated into UCI's proposal. The subaward recipient’s proposal should at minimum include a scope of work and budget and must be signed or endorsed by the subaward recipient's authorized official.

The total cost of the subaward (both direct and indirect costs) must be listed as a single cost item in the other direct costs category. If multiple subawards are anticipated, the sum of all subaward total costs should be listed.

General, Automobile, and Employment Liability (GAEL)

GAEL is a University of California assessment to cover various liability and related loss prevention programs that cover all employees. The rates are assessed on the salaries of all university employees based upon funding source.

All federal and federal flow-through awards are excluded from these assessments. GAEL rates are reviewed and adjusted annually.

GAEL Add on (Prop 2)

Additional benefit cost for non-General Fund, non-Contract and Grant funds to reflect the benefit amount that these funds would have otherwise paid had the State not provided $436 million to the UC Retirement Plan. The intent of the State in providing the $436 million was to help pay down the unfunded liability associated with state funds and tuition and not to reduce costs for all fund types.

Please refer to UCI Accounting & Fiscal Services' Central Campus Assessments webpage for GAEL rates.