Pay Research Subjects

August 2023 update to department responsibilities for paying research subjects.  Click here to review the department responsibilities when handling the Research Subject payments.

Research Subject Payment Options

Research projects involving human subjects often offer a small payment to the research subjects for purposes of recruitment or encouragement for participation in the project. Payments to research subjects can be made using one of the following methods:

US Bank VISA Rewards Card

The US Bank VISA Rewards card is an anonymous, one-time load VISA card that can be used anywhere VISA is accepted. 

Tango Email Gift Card

Tango card is an electronic code that is provided to the subject that can be used to purchase gift cards from online vendors that do not charge fees and the cards never expire.

Check - UW Revolving Fund Account (Discontinued - No new account openings due to Finance Transformation initiative)

Revolving fund accounts are used for paying research subjects for long-term studies

For short-term studies, you may want to consider using a field advance to pay research subjects.

Cash used for incentive payments can only be acquired through a Field Advance or a currency Department Revolving Fund.

Checks for Research Subject Compensation:

Checks are an available option for research subjects to receive compensation for their time and participation. To initiate these payments, they will need to be processed through the Miscellaneous Payment Request feature in Workday. When creating a payee, the most common Miscellaneous Payee Category used for research subjects will either be the selection of "Domestic Payee" or "Foreign National Payee."

Payments to Foreign Nationals:

Payments to foreign nationals are paid through a Miscellaneous Payment Request in Workday.

Research subject payments to foreign nationals are automatically subject to 30% tax withholding. These payments will be captured and reported on IRS form 1042-S by the AP Tax Desk. 

Payment requirements can be found on the UW Global Operations Support checklist page under the "Payments" section.  Additional information can be found through the UW Global Operations Support web pages.

Payments to Domestic Citizens (US Citizens/Resident Aliens):

Payment to US Citizens (checks or formerly known as central checks) are paid through a Miscellaneous Payment Request in Workday. Departments can now submit these requests themselves and will no longer send email requests to Revfund.

Please note that in the legacy system the SSN numbers of payee's were collected annually, but now will be required when the department submits the check payment request on behalf of the payee(s). 

Protecting Research Subject Participant Data In Workday

With the transition to Workday the process for paying research participants via check was centralized under the Workday Miscellaneous Payment business process. UW implemented the following safeguards to prevent potential privacy violations.

Limited Access: Access to research participant payment information is available through certain Workday reports. Only authorized personnel have access to reporting data in Workday. Access is restricted to individuals who need it to perform their job duties related to financial transacting on behalf of UW. The following security roles have access to data that may contain research participant names: Finance Analyst, Cost Center Analyst, Grant Analyst, Accountant, Miscellaneous Payee Data Entry Specialist.

Data Storage/ Migration: Research participant payment information is not migrated to the University’s enterprise data warehouse (EDW). Participant names are contained in the Workday system.

User Training: UW is working towards a central learning management tool. This will facilitate annual training on proper handling of sensitive data, security best practices, and procedures for reporting any potential breaches or security incidents.

Audit Trails: The audit trail mechanisms within Workday track and monitor access to reports. This data allows UW to review and analyze user activity logs to detect any unauthorized access or suspicious behavior.

Best Practice Recommendations
Use Non-Identifying Titles for Grants: When creating the “short title” for research projects or grants in Workday, avoid using titles that that include a study acronym that is searchable on the web or has the condition under study (e.g., GR12346 HIV Study). This prevents the research participant name from being associated with any information that would reveal something personal about them (e.g., they have HIV because they are in an HIV study).

Include Information in Consent Forms: If a particular study population have concerns that their financial information is accessible to others outside the study team, additional disclosure information can be provided to participants as part of the consent process. Sample language may be found in HSD’s Designing the Consent Process, under Description of payment that subjects may receive for participation.