Research and Equipment Applications

Anything that is not travel-related should be submitted here. Most commonly, this includes requests for student research assistants (RAs), equipment, and research support services. You can include equipment and student assistance requests in the same application if they are for the same project. Requests greater than $4000 must be accompanied by a letter of support from someone outside of USF and not involved in the research project.

Students as independent contractors

You can’t hire USF students, faculty, or staff as independent contractors. Use USFWorks to post a student position. Visit the Supervisor Instructions page for more information (login required).

Joint applications

FDF awards are made to individual faculty members. However, in cases of collaborative research projects, you should prepare a joint application that describes the overall project and includes a clear division of labor and costs for each member of the team. Each faculty member can then submit this same application, tailored to their own individual tasks, portion of the budget, and relation to their own research trajectory.

Ongoing projects

If you are applying for funding to continue a project previously funded by FDF, please be sure to check that box on the application indicating this and complete the progress report section of the application form. The brief report should indicate what work has been completed; approximately how much of the previous funding has been spent and on what; plans for spending any remaining funds in your account; and what work proposed in the previous FDF application remains to be completed.

Research and equipment application form

The research and equipment application form, found in the gnosis FDF application site, includes a 250- to 1000-word statement of objectives along with an itemized budget and budget rationale and with the other information below (depending on whether the application is for research assistance, equipment, or both). If you are applying for funding to continue a project previously funded by the FDF, please complete the progress report section of the form. Applications with inadequate statements, unjustified budget items, or inflated budgets are likely to be denied.

Research expenses FDF will cover

Hiring student research assistants

  • Applications should include a brief description of the research assistant’s specific duties and the time frame for their completion; a list of and explanation of RA duties and qualifications; and explanation of plans for posting and advertising the job; a sample job posting including the required Equal Opportunity Statement.
  • See the Student Employment Supervisors page for information on advertising student jobs. Although you can encourage particular students to apply, jobs must be publicly posted.
  • If you are specifically requesting a graduate student assistant, you must include a rationale as to why undergraduates would not be suitable.
  • The limit on the number of hours funded is 300 per faculty member per academic year. Any request for an exception must include a clear justification.
  • The pay rate is $15.59 per hour for undergraduates and $16.59 per hour for graduate students. Please use these amounts in your budget. The FDF gnosis form will automatically add 12% to this amount to account for benefits. Faculty are encouraged to consider work-study students.
  • Keep in mind the following university limits on student employment: Students cannot work more than 7.5 hours per day and cannot work 7 consecutive days. Domestic students are limited to 25 hours per week during the Fall and Spring semesters, and 35 hours per week during Intersession and Summer terms. International students are limited to 20 hours per week during the Fall and Spring semesters, and 35 hours per week during Intersession and Summer terms. Overtime pay is not allowed for any student in any position.
  • Faculty supervisors are expected to closely monitor student hours and task completion to assure that research funds are being well used to complete the work for which they were awarded, and to sign off on time sheets. Program Assistants should not be doing these tasks in place of faculty members.
  • USF Payroll is no longer auto-approving timesheets. This means that hourly employees and students will not be paid if their managers do not approve their hours at the end of each pay period. If you have hired a Research Assistant, you are their manager and are responsible for approving timesheets. Payroll recommends that all managers set a calendar reminder to run the USFWorks "team time review" on the 15th and last day of the month to ensure that their direct reports have submitted their time, and again run the report on the 16th and 1st of each month to approve time entered. To do this: On your USFWorks home page, click the Team Time worklet --> Actions --> Review Time. If a delay in payment to the next pay period causes hardship to the employee, a special check request should be submitted to Gale Bettencourt, Director of Payroll Services, for approval by Dom Daher. 

  • Applicants must check and report the amount of funding in their FDF accounts at the time of the application. See Post-Award FAQ for further information.


This can include scientific equipment, books, or other supplies.

Scientific equipment
Please include a description of the equipment needed and how it will be used, price quote documents for items above $50 (e.g., an invoice or screen shot of a price list), and an itemized budget with justifications for each budget expense.

FDF will support purchases of books for research use that are not accessible through the USF library system. Please include a specific list with the title and author, a description of how these will advance your research, and evidence that they are not otherwise accessible. To bring down costs, please consider purchasing used books whenever possible.

Paying research participants

FDF funds can be used to pay research participants, as long as the research falls within the CAS policy for compensating participants. This policy is in response to increased regulation as a result of the ACA and changes in federal tax law. It is critical that we be able to provide evidence sufficient to satisfy an auditor that allocated funds were spent in service of faculty research.

  • All research involving human subjects, regardless of whether compensation is involved, must be reviewed and approved by USF’s Institutional Review Board before the study begins. For each participant, the PI should obtain a signed informed consent form. This should also indicate payment received. If this has been waived by the IRB, a log of payments including date and amount will suffice. The PI is responsible for retaining these forms for seven years and producing them in the case where Accounting and Business Services needs to show proof of proper payment in an audit.
  • Applications for participant compensation must include a description of the study, the amount of proposed compensation per participant (up to a maximum of $50 per participant) and the total amount requested.
  • Cash is the preferred mechanism for compensation of research subjects. We discourage the use of gift cards, gifts, raffle items, and so on. Payments may be a maximum of $50 per participant.
  • For online studies, researchers should use PayPal (or an equivalent service) to provide compensation to subjects and generate a log that indicates payments made on a particular date to a specific username. Please note that USF does not maintain a corporate or institutional PayPal account; faculty should manage this on their own and seek reimbursement as needed.
  • Reimbursement can be handled by submitting, via Concur, a list containing, for each participant: a name or identifier, the date the payment was received, the amount paid, and the PI’s signature. The Gifts and Cash Incentives Distribution Log Form
  • In cases where cash flow is an issue, a cash advance can be used to provide funds in advance. Please contact the CAS Office of Operations for details.

Faculty wishing an exception to these rules may request this by contacting Dennis Miller in Accounting and Business Services (, x6371).

Other support

Applicants can request FDF funding for other costs associated with the completion of a scholarly project. Applicants should include a quote from the person or entity performing the service. In evaluating these sorts of requests for full or partial funding, the committee will look at whether this is an efficient use of FDF funds and whether there are less expensive ways to achieve the same results. (Please note: Do not pay people for these services yourself and ask for reimbursement; this is not possible. Instead, they should prepare an invoice and receive payment directly from the University.) These are typically supplementary services such as:

  • Indexing or copyediting services
  • Journal publication fees
  • Website design
  • Permissions fees or costs of graphics preparation
  • Translation services
  • Transcription services

Research expenses the FDF will not cover

  • The FDF will not support publication or other fees from predatory open-access journals. Please check one of these lists of potentially predatory journals before pursuing publication: Beall’s List of Predatory Journals, List of Predatory Journals, and List of Standalone Journals. If you are uncertain about this, please consult the Gleeson librarian in your discipline.
  • Book purchases for non-research use of that are accessible through the library system are not supported.
  • Computers. Information Technology Services (ITS) handles purchase and disbursement of all computers and similar devices.
  • Tablets (such as iPads) are not supported except under strict conditions where research cannot proceed without one. However, the Dean’s Office has a limited number available for loan; please contact your area Associate Dean for further information.
  • Items needed for the offering of a specific course are not supported. The committee feels strongly that the FDF’s purpose is supporting faculty scholarship. Expenses associated with a course should be borne by the department or program offering the course.
  • Student research that is not directly tied to the applicant’s scholarship or creative work is not supported. The FDF cannot be used as a mechanism to support program functioning (such as funding student thesis research that is not conducted as part of a faculty member’s scholarship), for instance, which should instead be supported by the relevant department or program.
  • Payments, stipends, honoraria, or other financial support for faculty member or colleagues are not supported. For example, you cannot use FDF to bring a colleague here to USF to visit, to take them out for dinner, or to compensate them for their time.
  • Promotional expenses such as gifts or payments to reviewers, book advertising, or book tours are not supported.
  • Open access fees are not currently supported by the FDF.
  • External cloud-based storage is not supported, as USF provides such services. Please contact Information Technology Services for information and assistance.

Supporting files

Your application should include the following items:

Research/equipment application form

Include your statement of objectives, research plan and timeline, itemized budget and budget rationale. For RA applications, this also includes a list of and explanation of RA duties and qualifications and the time frame for their completion; and explanation of plans for posting and advertising the job; a sample job posting including the required Equal Opportunity Statement.


Price quotes for equipment, books, and other support services.