Guidance on Processing Travel Grants 

Effective October 2, 2023, the central pre-award offices will no longer perform pre-submission review for small, low-risk travel grants. This effort aims to increase efficiency and help reduce delays in proposal review. The below information provides criteria for qualifying as a small, low-risk travel grant and a step-by-step process for how to manage and route these opportunities. 


Central-Level Review Exemption Criteria 

Travel grants that meet the following criteria are  considered  small and low-risk and are eligible for this expedited process: 

  1. Total funding is $10,000 or less. 
  2. The sole purpose of the award is limited to traveling to a conference, scientific meeting, seminar, or similar event. 
  3. Funding is from a non-federal source, meaning that funding is from a non-profit, foundations or associations sponsors; or industry or for-profit entities. 
  4. There are no apparent activities involving significant regulatory requirements, such as IRB review, IACUC, export controls.  
  5. Travel will not include transport of export-controlled data and/or biological specimens. 
  6. Travel will not include trips to international destinations. 
  7. The award does not require voluntary cost sharing or other matching of funds. 
  8. The sponsor does not require institutional review, signature, or submission by a sponsored research official. 


Process for managing small, low-risk travel grants: 

  1. The individual seeking the travel grant (the applicant/PI) will notify an individual with SPS rights (such as a Grant Manager) of their intent to submit an application for an opportunity. 

  2. Prior to submitting the application for the travel grant, the Unit Grant Manager will:

    • Ensure all above review exemption criteria are met. 

    • Complete an SPS Record and marking the activity type as Travel. 

    • Attach the application (or award if funds are already received) in Proposal Memo. 

    • If the recipient is a non-regular rank faculty member, complete an expedited version of the PI Eligibility request form (justification, endorsement letters and a candidate CV will not be required). 

  3.  The unit grant manager will inform the applicant/PI that the application can be submitted without further institutional review.** 

  4. At time of award, ORA/ORS/ORC, will review the terms, conditions, to confirm that Duke is eligible to receive the funds and is able to comply with the terms and conditions. Adjustments may be necessary, or the award will not be able to be accepted.  Upon completion of the review, the appropriate pre-award office will process the award and request that a WBSE be established.  

** If the unit does not create and complete an SPS Record prior to receiving the award, ORA/ORC/ORS will still process the award without conducting pre-submission institutional review or requiring the department to request a waiver.  

Note: If at any point, the unit grant manager, applicant/PI, RASR Zone Director (SOM), or ORA/ORS/ORC determines that something has changed regarding the circumstances that make the application exempt, then the department will contact the RASR Zone Director (SOM) or ORS (Campus) immediately to ensure there is the necessary and appropriate institutional review.