Gemstone Honors Program
Greenhouse built by team

Team Funding

Basic Team Support | Team Order Requests | Reimbursements | Human Subject Payments | Approved Travel Procedures | Outside Grants | External Funding Opportunities

Basic Team Support

Once teams are formed, Gemstone will allocate $1800 in state funds to teams for the duration of their research for conferences/meetings and research-related materials. State funds cannot be used for personal clothing items (jewelry, scarfs, etc.), food for team meetings, parties, personal gifts, gift cards, etc. that are not related directly to the team's research project.

Teams will need to select the team member who will serve in the role of Financial Liaison for the lifetime of the team. The Financial Liaison will assume the responsibility of managing the team's budget. They must attend the financial liaison training with the Assistant Director for Operations, Dr. Vickie Hill, to learn of the policies, procedures and guidelines for state and outside funding.

If the current financial liaison no longer wants to assume the responsibility, studies abroad, or exits the Gemstone Honors Program, they must notify the Assistant Director for Operations of the change.

Reason for Policy

State funds, including sustainability grants and Launch funds cannot be used for personal purchases and gifts not related to the team’s research, therefore, the use of these funds must be directly related to the team's research and in the best interests of the University and the Gemstone Honors Program. Although, teams draw funding from a wide range of sources including taxpayers and benefactors, the Gemstone Honors Program and the University have an obligation to these constituencies to use their funds prudently in the mission and goals of the team’s research.

This policy provides guidance to teams and mentors when considering the use of Gemstone funds for gifts, social functions, material purchase, reimbursement, incentives, and travel for conferences/meetings and/or data collection; unless the terms of awarded funds clearly authorize a usage not consistent with this policy. Any unused portion of funds will remain within the Gemstone Honors Program.

Applies to all mentors and teams who are approved to the use of ALL State Funds.

Policy Statement


All State Funds (including, but not limited to, Gemstone, Sea Grant, Sustainability, Launch, and Library Funds) may not be used to purchase personal gifts for University employees or their families in recognition of holidays or personal events such as appreciations, graduations, birthdays, birth or adoption of a child, marriages or bereavement in congruence with the State of Maryland law.


State Funds may not be used for social functions or parties attended solely or primarily by mentors or team members such as holiday parties or summer outings. In limited circumstances, state funds may be used to cover out of pocket costs for food and beverage for research study participants, if prior approval was provided from the Assistant Director for Operations. Gemstone encourages our mentors and teams to use state funds to enhance their research.

Team Order Requests (Purchases)

All team orders should be submitted by the team’s Financial Liaison through the Online Team order form. Funding requests for materials and equipment for research purposes must be submitted through the Gemstone Purchase Form by the appointed team’s financial liaison to the Gemstone Assistant Director for Operations. An automated confirmation receipt will be received. Online Team Order Requests will be processed in the order received. The expected response time for a decision is at least 3 business days (the wait time may vary around University holidays and closures). If approved, Dr. Vickie Hill, Gemstone Assistant Director for Operations, will process the order for the items requested.

Shipment and Freight Costs, Dry Ice, and Tax Exemption

The University of Maryland is recognized for tax exemption, however, not all companies or hotels will not honor removing taxes from orders or hotel room reservations (while on travel). Therefore, the Financial Liaison should take into consideration when submitting team orders the shipping and handling, freight, and taxes in the final cost of orders processed.

If there are any problems with the team order, Dr. Vickie Hill will notify the team’s financial liaison via email about the issue. The Gemstone Suite does not have storage to hold orders for long periods of time, therefore, orders of large containers, perishable specimens, DNA samples, live/dead cells and tissues, use of dry ice, temperature-controlled items that require storage in the refrigerator upon delivery, and other related materials for research should be shipped to the team mentor’s laboratory on campus.

It is the responsibility of the financial liaison to inform the mentor of deliveries and provide an accurate shipment address for the mentor’s lab. It is not the responsibility of the Gemstone Assistant Director to contact the team’s mentor of shipments. If the team’s mentor does not have a laboratory on the University campus but the lab resides at another location affiliated with the University of Maryland College Park campus, items may be shipped to that location (accurate address is required). Orders cannot be shipped to a team member or mentor’s permanent home address.

Orders of reasonable size packaging may be shipped to the Gemstone Suite if the team’s mentor does not have a space on campus for a limited time. The financial liaison will be notified via email to pick up package at the Assistant Director of Operations office, 0100J Ellicott Hall.

Dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide) is considered a hazardous material for air travel and all deliveries, it is subject to regulations and labeling requirements not applicable to ground transport. The effectiveness of dry ice and gel packs vary, with three days considered the maximum time a product can be stored. Therefore, the financial liaison must indicate on the team order form and should take into consideration companies shipping policy when placing orders.

Package Pick Up & Notification Policy

Gemstone will hold packages for up to 5 business days from the time the email notification is sent to the team’s financial liaison that a package has arrived for the team. Please pick up items promptly to avoid team packages being returned to the sender at the team’s expense after 5 email notifications. Packages can be picked up MWF 11AM - 2 PM.

Out of Pocket Expense & Reimbursement

*Prior approval is required before spending out of pocket and expecting financial reimbursement.*

Spending Policies are designed to ensure expenditures of the donated funds, state funds, Launch, Sea Grant, fundraisers, and additional funding are consistent with the University and the Gemstone Honors Program mission and goals of team research. The team Financial Liaison should submit the Out of Pocket request through the Online Team Order form and provide the list of items to purchased and a brief explanation for reimbursement. Team Mentors may send an e-mail to to receive approval. A team member or mentor that receives prior approval should submit adequate documentation to Dr. Vickie Hill, Assistant Director for Operations, 0100J Ellicott Hall within 3 business days to be reimbursed. The following describes the supporting documentation requirements of the University and the Gemstone Honors Program:

Original Itemized Receipt is required for in-store or online purchases. Receipts must show proof of payment has been made. For example, the bill should show “Paid”, “$0 balance due” or some similar language. Exceptions to this rule are business meals and hotel expenses which traveler must have receipts regardless of amounts. Credit card statements, vendor statements, quotes, acknowledgements and copies of cancelled checks submitted without other supporting documentation are not considered adequate.

Receipts not submitted to Dr. Vickie Hill, Assistant Director for Operation within same fiscal year the purchase occurred will not be considered for reimbursement, with no exception to this policy.

Meals for research study focus group. The restrictions in this policy does not extend to business meals and meetings eligible for payment or reimbursement under the University’s Travel.

Students who are not campus employees will receive reimbursement as a credit to their student account. If the student has an outstanding balance due to the University, the reimbursement will be applied towards the outstanding debt and any remaining funds will be credited to the account. Students may then request the funds from the Student Financial Services and Cashiering Office in the Lee Building of the University of Maryland.

Current Student Employee and Mentor reimbursements will be added to the bi-weekly paycheck. The description of the reimbursement will appear on the University paystub.

Returnable Purchased Material: Books, laptops and computers, sensitive equipment, etc. that can be reused beyond the team’s research projects will be appropriately tagged as Gemstone property and must be returned to the Gemstone office after the research project is complete.

Human Subject Payment for Survey Incentives

Gift cards will no longer be offered as an incentive for research study participants.

Teams may offer human subject payment to participants in an online survey, cash or add funds to University Terrapin Express account (a pre-paid debit account that can be used at participating locations on campus). The team financial liaison must contact the Gemstone Assistant Director for Operations in advance to discuss options. Unless the survey is being conducted by Mechanical Turk, which would be paid with Gemstone’s P-card, the Assistant Director for Operations will submit a Special Use Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to Working Fund, a designated custodian who is an employee of the University of Maryland College Park. Along with the Special Use MOU, the approved IRB and budget must be submitted to the Working Fund, once request for funds is approved, a check for the specified amount will be issued to the custodian. It is the custodian responsibility to ensure the Human Subject Participant and Disbursement Log is completed and signed by participants who receive payment. Original signatures are required. Payment should not be mailed to participants.

Payments issued in the amount of $100.00 or more will require the Human Subject Participant to provide Social Security Numbers. The completed incentive form with original signatures will be submitted to Working Fund by the due date specified on the Special Use MOU. Regardless of selected option, all participants must fill out the Acknowledgement of Receipt form and the team’s financial liaison should submit all forms upon completion of research study.

Teams are required to use the Acknowledgement of Receipt form for cash incentive and raffles; however, the form is not required for bulk items purchased by the Assistant Director for Operations such as t-shirts, coffee mugs, mouse pads, pens, etc. The team financial liaison should work closely with the Gemstone Assistant Director for Operations to purchase bulk items and to ensure accurate purchase.

Approved Travel Procedures

For travel or conference attendance, the following procedures are to be followed by mentors and team members of the Gemstone Program before leaving, while traveling, and after travel. Reimbursements cannot be made unless the traveler has obtained prior approval from the Gemstone Assistant Director for Operations ( before the trip. Only those items approved and listed on the Travel form will be reimbursed.

Before Traveling

The team’s financial liaison is responsible for making travel arrangements for the team. The online Conference Proposal form must include all expenses and be submitted or initial approval. Once the online form is completed, all travelers must meet with the Gemstone Assistant Director for Operations to complete the UMD Travel Form and make travel arrangements.

  • If Gemstone approves the team for travel, it will be the responsibility of the team’s Financial Liaison to make hotel and flight, train or bus transportation arrangements with the Gemstone Assistant Director of Operations. This is not the responsibility of the Gemstone Assistant Director for Operations, but the Assistant Director of Operations will work with the team to pay for travel and lodging. Once arrangements have been made, each traveler must submit via e-mail the following travel forms:
    • Travel Authorization Request(TAR)-Local
    • Out-of-State Travel Request (OTR)
    • Gemstone Travel Policy
    • Travel Consent Form
    In addition, the hotel confirmation number and flight with the appropriate direct phone numbers to the Gemstone Assistant Director for Operations in order for payment to be made. Approval will be expedited through the finance office, and notification will be given to the traveler. Any other pre-approved travel costs will be reimbursed after the completion of the trip for which original receipts are submitted with the University's travel reimbursement form.
  • If a reservation needs to be changed, the traveler will be responsible for the additional cost and any changes fees.

Meal Rates

  • In accordance with Travel policy. Travelers will normally be reimbursed in accordance with the standard travel meal per diem schedule set forth.

During Travel

  • For those travel items approved for reimbursement, please retain and keep all receipts for hotel, airline ticket stubs, taxi/shuttle, registration fees, etc. Only the team mentor is allowed to rent a car when necessary.
  • Costs of alcoholic beverages will not be reimbursed.
  • Membership dues are the responsibility of the traveler.
  • Expense charges that occur during travel and are not pre-approved will be the responsibility of the traveler.
  • Damages to hotel rooms are the responsibility of the traveler.
  • Telephone calls are the responsibility of the traveler.

After Travel

  • E-mail the Gemstone Assistant Director for Operations ( to set up a day/time to personally submit the receipts for approved expenditures, and complete and sign the Expense Statement form within five (5) working days of the return date of travel.
  • If a traveler paid for another traveler's meals during trip, this should be identified on the Expense Statement form with the traveler's name, the meal purchased, and the day purchased.
  • Travelers will only be reimbursed for the maximum per diem allowed; even if the traveler paid for someone else.
  • Once the Travel Expense Statement has been approved for reimbursement the Gemstone Assistant Director for Operations will notify the traveler (via email) to come to Room 0100J Ellicott Hall to sign the form. Statements not signed in a timely manner will be voided.

The University of Maryland will reimburse for mileage for personal vehicles at the rate determined by the University. The rate is available at

Outside Grant Funds, Launch UMD, Sustainability, and Sea Grant

If a team needs more financial support for materials or attendance at conferences/meetings, the teams are encouraged to seek resources outside of the Gemstone for financial support. Teams that receive Grant Funds from outside of Gemstone and the University must have funds routed through the ORA Award Management by the team’s mentor who is the PI (Principal Investigator) for the team and will ensure the research project is completed on time and specific award terms are followed. They are responsible for the overall management of team’s research project. The Gemstone ORRA contact is Katie Kremmerer.

Launch UMD is a crowdfunding platform to help Maryland research teams to raise money to support the teams research ideas and their passion take flight. All teams must have their application approved by the Gemstone Associate Director before submission to the Launch UMD Office.

External Funding for Gemstone Team Research

Research is expensive. Sadly, ambitious research goals and aspirations of meaningful discovery sometimes must be cutback due to insufficient funding. Pursuit of external funding for research endeavors has become a primary component of any sustainable research enterprise.

Gemstone team research is no exception. Often, Gemstone team research goals are limited by the availability of funding. However, some Gemstone teams have been very successful in acquiring external funds to support their research endeavors. The link below will take you to a resource page containing information on past and current potential sources of funding for Gemstone research teams.

List of Possible Funding Opportunities for Gemstone Teams

Guidelines and Procedures

If Gemstone teams secure funds and grants for their team research, spending and reimbursement of these funds will be processed like any other team purchase or reimbursement. Companies should be make checks payable to the "University of Maryland College Park Foundation." Teams should work with the Assistant Director for Operations ( to access these funds.


Gemstone encourages teams to seek outside funding to support their research. Once outside funds have been approved and secured, please use the following online form to submit information about the funds to the Gemstone staff: