General Expenditure

The University rules for the time being in force governing the type and values of travel and other expenses that will be reimbursed apply to all funds administered by the University, including research and other grants and contracts and Departmental general funds. Only where such funds are subject to more stringent rules imposed by external bodies will any other rules be considered to override those of the University.

It is the responsibility of the Head of Department to ensure that all expense claims submitted to the Finance Office for payment adhere to the rules for the time being in force. It is the responsibility of the claimant to ensure that claims submitted to the Head of Department adhere to the rules. The Finance Office will conduct such enquiries as are necessary to establish that claims apparently deficient in this respect are acceptable and will do so as quickly as possible.

Claims for reimbursement should be submitted as soon as possible after the expenditure to which they relate is incurred. Claims submitted more than six months following the date that expenditure was incurred will not be reimbursed.

Members of staff should avoid incurring large expenditures on behalf of the University. A system of providing advance allowances exists where it is known that large expenditure over an extended period, e.g. in undertaking a research project abroad, will be incurred. Advances will not normally be given for amounts less than £100. Where an advance is obtained, records must be kept of all expenditure incurred and a complete statement in the agreed format supported by vouchers provided to the Finance Office within 28 daysof the employee’s return.

Further advances will not be made if an expenditure statement is overdue.

The cheapest possible method of travel, consistent with efficient working practices, should be used. This will usually be second class rail travel or economy air fare for travel abroad and applies to all University employees, regardless of status or source of salary funding.

Advantage should be taken wherever possible of special saver fares, discount cards, etc.

  • With the agreement of their Head of Department, staff may use first class rail travel when to do so is more efficient than travelling second class, e.g. due to infirmity.
  • With the agreement of their Head of Department, where air travel involves more than ten hours flying time, staff may consider an upgrade from economy class if the additional cost is justifiable.
  • The rules relating to rail and air travel apply to tickets paid for directly by the University as well as to reimbursements requested by members of staff. The ability to travel other than by second or economy class in the circumstances outlined above is permissive, not obligatory.
  • Justification for travel at other than second class or economy rates must accompany all claims for reimbursement or payment.
  • Payments to employees for reimbursement of travelling expenses are paid without deduction of income tax because the University has a dispensation from the HM Revenue and Customs to do so. This dispensation does not cover journeys from home to work, whether within University hours, at night or at weekends. These reimbursements are always taxable and will be paid to employees through the payroll.
  • All claims for travel, subsistence, and expenses - please refer to Travel, Subsistence and Expenses Guidance Notes.
  • The general principles of reasonableness and economy combined with efficient working practices should be borne in mind, particularly in relation to hotel and meal expenses.
  • The Purchasing Services Office maintains a list of local hotels with whom special rates have been negotiated.
  • Miscellaneous charges on hotel bills, e.g. telephone calls and fax charges, will be reimbursed when incurred on University business.

Travel, Subsistence and Entertaining – Research Support Unit

Expenditure from Research and other Grants and Contracts is subject to the University Financial Regulations and Policies and Procedures, including this Policy. This note amplifies their application to Research and other Grants and Contracts, and should be read in conjunction with the terms and conditions relating to the Grant or Contract in question.

Travel and Subsistence

Travel & subsistence costs that are incurred as an essential part of the research may be charged to research projects for investigators and staff assigned to or associated with the project. Travel should be based on the most suitable and economical form of transport. Any person travelling who is not directly connected with the research should pay for their costs at source.


Reasonable amounts of expenditure for hospitality and entertaining involving third parties may be charged to research projects where they are necessarily incurred in the conduct of the research.

Acceptable costs are those for meetings that are directly related to the research and where attendees are directly involved in the research.

Such meetings would normally be held on University premises and make use of the University’s catering facility. If it is not possible or practicable to hold the meeting on campus, modest expenditure off campus may be acceptable depending on the terms and conditions of the grant or contract.

In either case, it would not be appropriate to use research funds to generate future business or for general entertaining not related to the project.

As with all expenditure, the relevant sponsor’s rules & regulations should be reviewed for eligibility. Where any rules & regulations are unclear, advice should be sought from the Research Support Unit . The ability to justify costs is vital, as there is often a condition in the terms of the grant or contract allowing the sponsor the right to audit. In addition, the University might be required to perform internal checks.


The cost of attendance at conferences is allowable where the conference is directly relevant to the research, has prior approval, if required by the funding sponsor, and where attendance is likely to result in specific benefit to the research.

The University is not normally in a position to make available conference grants.

There are certain external sources that may be approached for contributions towards travel and subsistence costs for conferences both home and abroad. Further information can be obtained from the Research Support Unit .