Travel Reimbursement Policy

The Engineering Biology Research Consortium is pleased to be able to provide financial support for travel to some events and activities.

Travelers may fall into one of three categories:
Category 1: Flight & Hotel Only
Category 2: Full Reimbursement
Category 3: No support available

Depending on the event, a traveler may fall into a different category than for a previous event. EBRC endeavors to provide clear guidance as to which category is in place for a particular traveler and event.

General
It is the policy of the Engineering Biology Research Consortium to support the (invited) traveler for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred during EBRC-related travel. Funded Travelers should incur the lowest reasonable travel expenses and exercise care to avoid impropriety or the appearance of impropriety. Support is allowed only when travel funding or reimbursement has not been, and will not be, received from other sources. Documentation is required for all reimbursement requests; receipts must be submitted within 30 days of the event (further details below).

  • Category 1 – Flight & Hotel Only: EBRC will provide instructions to book flights and hotel for an event. Both will be paid directly by EBRC and the traveler will not be provided reimbursement after the event. Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis in advance of the event.
  • Category 2 – Full Reimbursement: EBRC will provide instructions to book flights and hotel, to be paid directly by EBRC. Following the event, documentation for reimbursements must be submitted within 30 days of the last day of travel. Only actual expenses with receipt documentation can be reimbursed. EBRC does not provide a flat per diem.
  • Category 3 – No support available: Travelers are responsible for booking* and paying for most travel and accommodations. EBRC will not provide reimbursement. If a traveler would experience hardship and be unable to attend the event without support, they may contact us at helix@ebrc.org to discuss options. *For many events, EBRC will have a block of hotel rooms reserved. If given the option, Category 3 travelers may indicate they would like to be included in EBRC’s room block. Category 3 travelers must provide payment at check-in.

Transportation
Transportation expenses for Category 1 and Category 2 travelers will generally be supported based on the most economical and commonly used mode of conveyance taking the most direct route during the authorized travel dates (the days of the meeting and, in most circumstances, one day before and/or after the meeting). If you need to make an additional stop(s) en route to the meeting or after the meeting, or travel outside the travel dates, please contact us at helix@ebrc.org in advance of booking.

Airfare Guidelines
EBRC will provide flight limits for travelers covered under Category 1 and Category 2. Payment will be made directly by the EBRC to the airline. We cannot guarantee full reimbursement for air travel made outside of EBRC. If you are not able to book through EBRC, please contact us at helix@ebrc.org.

  • Only coach/economy class tickets at the lowest reasonable fare and non-refundable tickets are reimbursable. First class, business class, full-fare economy class, and unrestricted/refundable tickets are not reimbursable without advance written approval. All travel should be planned and booked as far in advance as possible to take advantage of the least-expensive fares available. Ancillary fees charged by airlines (i.e., seat selection, excess baggage) are not reimbursable.
  • If the approved process is not used and EBRC has not directly paid the airfare, comparative costs upon which airfare reimbursement can be based must be obtained. This means you will be reimbursed for the cost of a direct round-trip between your place of work and the EBRC event meeting place or the face value of the ticket, whichever is less. If the constructive cost is not determined in advance, EBRC will reference the lowest reasonable fare after the fact, and this may lower your reimbursement. If you expect to be reimbursed by a third party for any part of your travel, costs should be allocated appropriately.
  • The EBRC cannot pay airline change fees after reservations have been ticketed. Except for emergencies, the traveler will be responsible for change fees should changes arise after flights have been confirmed by the traveler and booked by the EBRC.
  • If you are unable to honor a flight reservation, you are responsible for canceling your reservation and notifying EBRC at helix@ebrc.org before the departure. Cancellations arising from non-emergency situations may require reimbursement of EBRC’s costs or restrictions on future travel with EBRC.
  • EBRC is unable to fully cover the airfare costs of international members. International members who would fall into Categories 1 or 2 should communicate their intention to travel to EBRC staff and book their own travel. After the event, such members can be reimbursed up to the highest fare limit designated for that event.

Ground Transportation

  • If driving your personal vehicle, Category 1 and Category 2 travelers may be reimbursed 65.5 cents per mile, based on the most direct route. To determine the number of miles, use an online mapping tool (MapQuest or Google Maps) and submit this documentation to us. The standard mileage rate includes fuel, as well as wear-and-tear on the vehicle. You will be reimbursed the lesser mileage based on the most direct route or an amount equal to the cost of flying coach/economy with advance booking.
  • Rental cars are generally not necessary for EBRC events and will only be supported with explicit notice in advance of an event. If a rental car is allowed, you can rent up to an intermediate-size car.
  • When traveling by train or Amtrak, you must use coach-class accommodations. EBRC can book your ticket prior to the event. Please contact us at helix@ebrc.org to make your reservation.

Lodging
Travelers in Categories 1, 2, and 3 will be invited and encouraged to stay in hotel blocks booked by EBRC. EBRC will pay directly for these accommodations for Category 1 and Category 2 travelers. Category 3 travelers must provide payment at check-in. Room incidentals are not reimbursable and are the responsibility of the traveler (all travelers will be asked to provide a credit card at check-in for incidentals, per a hotel’s policy).

Meals & Incidental Expenses (Category 2 Travelers)
If a trip is less than 24 hours, meals are not reimbursable, unless there is a need for an overnight stay. Most EBRC meetings include catered meals during the meeting; the meeting agenda will indicate when meals are provided. No reimbursement will be allowed when catered meals are provided. When meals are not provided, EBRC will reimburse a traveler’s meals, with receipts, up to the U.S. General Services Administration’s limits. EBRC cannot reimburse for alcohol purchases. If purchased alcohol is included in the submitted receipt documentation, it is the responsibility of the traveler to indicate the expense and deduct the amount from the total request.

Reporting Travel Expenses for Reimbursement (Category 2 Travelers; Category 1 Travelers upon request)
Save your receipts.Business-related expenses can be claimed for actual amounts spent, with submission of itemized receipts for all transportation and meals. A valid receipt contains payee’s name, amount, date, place, identification of what was purchased and proof of payment. EBRC cannot reimburse for alcohol purchases. If purchased alcohol is included in the submitted receipt documentation, it is the responsibility of the traveler to indicate the expense and deduct the amount from the total request. If you have lost a business receipt and have exhausted all efforts to obtain a copy from the merchant, provide an explanation with your reimbursement request including the details of the purchase and your declaration that the amount claimed is the amount actually paid by you and that you have not and will not seek reimbursement from any other source.

Exceptions
Requests for exceptions to this policy should be made as soon as possible. To request an exception, please contact us at helix@ebrc.org. This includes questions or deviations for complex travel situations.

Health and Safety
Vaccination against COVID-19, influenza, and other infectious diseases is highly recommended for in-person event participation. EBRC will employ masking and social distancing requirements per CDC and state and local guidelines to ensure the safety, health, and comfort of our participants.