Sponsored Travel Guidance Regarding COVID-19

The Offices of Sponsored Programs and Sponsored Accounting are working to provide the most up to date information related to the current COVID-19 situation as it evolves, specifically as it relates to policies and regulations pertaining to the administration of sponsored awards.

We understand that this situation is fluid, and impacts on sponsored project related travel may be felt at varying levels of complexity.  While the federal guidance on these matters is developing, we are providing the most current information that we are aware of.  Our top two federal funding agencies, the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health have both issued recent FAQ updates specifically addressing the COVID-19 outbreak, and how to address grant related travel interruptions or cancellations, here:

  1. National Science Foundation: https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2020/nsf20053/nsf20053.jsp?org=NSF#q11
  1. National Institutes of Health: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-20-086.html

Consistent with guidance provided by the federal sponsoring agencies, we suggest the following steps related to upcoming travel plans utilizing sponsored funding.

  1. First and foremost, the University’s Travel Policy and the sponsoring agency’s most recent travel policy should be consulted, to provide the initial framework for cost allocation and allowability.
  1. If travel plans have not yet been made, we recommend temporarily postponing travel to a future date. If travel was a requirement of the sponsored project, your program manager should be alerted to the delay and their guidance sought in coordination with the OSP office.
  1. Travelers who have already purchased tickets or incurred expenses for travel on sponsored programs which are subsequently cancelled are encouraged to:
    1. Rebook unused airfare and cancel lodging reservations and conference fees whenever possible.
    2. Request a refund of all travel expenses incurred.
    3. Request a credit of all travel expenses incurred.
    4. Should options a. through c. above be unsuccessful, please contact the Offices of Sponsored Programs at ospoff@syr.edu or 315-443-2807, and Sponsored Accounting contacct@syr.edu or 315-443-2059, to further investigate the allowability of such expenses to sponsored projects, depending on the facts and circumstances of the event, and in conjunction with the University Travel Policy and the sponsoring agency’s most recent travel policy.

As further guidance becomes available from federal agencies or other relevant sources, we will continue to provide updates accordingly.