Research Subject Compensation Procedure


University research projects may compensate individuals (research subjects) for their participation in the research project in accordance with an approved IRB protocol. 

Related Policies

Research Subject Compensation Policy

Every research project submitted to IRB involving compensation to research subjects must have a completed procedure through workflow or an email from for limited exceptions listed below.


Cash Handling Procedure

Submission of Research Subject Compensation Cash Handling form in Workflow

  • If you are using Accounts Payable eVoucher system, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Greenphire ClinCards, Qualtrics, or Prolific, please for approval.  A workflow form does not need to be completed.
  • If any role is being fulfilled by a person or entity not affiliated with The University of Iowa, email

This form will route through Workflow to the Departmental Research Administrator then to Grant Accounting Office for approval.  Once GAO approves, the Cash Handling Form will be marked “complete” in Workflow.  A system-generated email will be sent to the Form Initiator stating the form has completed routing. This email should be attached to the HawkIRB application. The Org Business Officer will also be notified of approval.

Research Subject Payment Procedure

Determine the appropriate payment method/procedure based on the dollar threshold:

Payment Method Processed through: Restrictions Record/Source Documentation Required
Check EVoucher This method must be used for any payment greater than $100 Research Participant/Substitute W-9 form
Research Participant/Substitute W-8BEN form

NOTE: These forms should never be sent through email or campus mail.  Fax or hand deliver to University Accounts Payable. 
Gift Cards Purchase gift cards with Procurement Card or an EVoucher This method cannot be used for payments greater than $100
  • Gift card #
  • Gift card value
  • Gift card issue date
  • Recipient's name
  • Recipient's address
Cash Requested for Approval of Cash Advance submitted to the Accounting and Financial Reporting department This method cannot be used for payments greater than $100

Cash amount

  • Cash distribution date
  • Recipient's name
  • Recipient complete mailing address
Other Items of Value – >$100 Purchase items with Procurement Card or an Evoucher This method cannot be used for payments greater than $100
  • Item of value
  • Value of item (purchase price)
  • Recipient's name
  • Recipient's complete mailing address
Other Items of Value – >$100 Purchase item(s) with Procurement Card or an Evoucher Not allowed for non-resident aliens

Roles and Responsibilities

Required Responsibilities by Role

Departmental Research Administrator
  • Responsible for presenting the cash handling training materials to the individuals in the roles below in a timely manner. 
Faculty Advisor/Principal Investigator
  • Ultimately responsible for reasonably ensuring the proper custody, safekeeping and accountability of all cash & cash equivalents.
  • Responsible for reasonably ensuring that the amount of cash/cash equivalents that is requested is consistent with the needs of the research project.
Cash Requestor/Obtainer
  • Purchases cash equivalents or receives cash advance.
  • Provides proof/receipt of purchase to the Reconciler.
  • Has access to cash equivalents.
  • Ensures that cash equivalents are kept in a secure environment (safe or locking cash box/bag in a locked drawer).
Disburser of Payments
  • Disburses the cash/cash equivalents to the research subjects.
  • Maintains a journal/log of research subjects.  Sends an email to the Reconciler at least monthly with the total amount of compensation disbursed.
  • Has access to cash/cash equivalents.
  • Serve as the contact person for any internal or external audit of cash equivalents (for example, audit of gift cards).
  • Ensures that cash/cash equivalents are kept in a secure environment (safe or locking cash box/bag in a locked drawer).
  • Responsible for returning all unused cash/cash equivalents (gift cards & any other items of value). Ensures that the project/department does not retain cash/cash equivalents that is returned by the research subject. The project cannot retain cash/cash equivalents from research subjects as a gift. If cash remains for any reason, it must be returned to Accounting and Financial Reporting to close the advance. However, they may use the remaining cash equivalents to fund research subject payments for other similar research projects. If this is done, journal entries must be made to move the cost of the compensation to the new project. Any other remaining cash equivalents must be sent to Surplus Operations.
  • Verifies amount of cash equivalents purchased is reflected on the accounting statements (SA3 or TDR) as part of the monthly review.
  • Must be aware that journal logs are maintained.
  • Must NOT have access to cash equivalents.

PDF icon Training Material

Cash Handling is a function of the Accounting and Financial Reporting Office. Research Subject Compensation is a function of the Grant Accounting Office. For questions or additional information, contact

Last updated 5/2/2024