Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Researchers get hungry too

Perhaps it is due to a culture of pharmaceutical and medical products companies that provide lunch and dinner during meetings and learning sessions, but I have noticed that most physician researchers are appalled when I inform them that they can't budget food on their NIH grant applications. Yes, in some cases, food can be budgeted. For example, if your study requires that you have food or snacks available for participants, you may be able to purchase food from grant funds. However, it appears that physicians are not capable of attending meetings that fail to include meals.

Let me make this abundantly clear: If you are budgeting for group planning meetings in which your research team will be getting together to discuss project progress or analyze preliminary data, you need to find a way to do it without Panera, or pay for your own lunch. NIH does not want to divert funds from cancer research to pay for your turkey on wheat. And don't even think of sending your bar tab from the Cheesecake Factory to your grants department for reimbursement. Alcohol is not a reimbursable expense, even if you were drinking wine with Jesus. No trick or explanation will get you around this rule.

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