Gemstone Honors Program
Greenhouse built by team

Team Funding

Basic Team Support | Additional Team Support | Approved Travel Procedures | External Funding Opportunities

The Gemstone Program wants to provide the financial support teams need to adequately conduct research. Although financial assistance is limited, funds will be provided when they are available. The following describes the procedures for requesting and obtaining Basic Team Support, Additional Team Support (including expensive materials and conference/meeting expenses), and Approved Travel Procedures.

Basic Team Support

A sum of $600/year is provided to each team for basic support and for research-related travel, conferences, and materials. Team funds are not used for personal items, food for team meetings, parties, etc, that are not related directly to team research projects. Teams are encouraged to use these funds to enhance their research. Unused funds are not carried over from one year to the next.

The following procedures are to be followed by mentors and students of the Gemstone Program. PLEASE DO NOT SPEND MONEY EXPECTING REIMBURSEMENT WITHOUT PRIOR APPROVAL from the Gemstone's Assistant Director for Operations, Vickie Hill

Additional Resources

The list below indicates supplies and equipment that is available for teams to check out from the Gemstone office as needed.

  • Electrical equipment
  • Lascar Electronics (2)
  • Dazzle Video Capture
  • 2GB SD card
  • 32 GB memory card (3)
  • Flip Video Camera
  • Flip Camera HDMI cable
  • Soil pH meter
  • HDMI cable (2)
  • Garmin Forerunner 50
  • Digital Watch (3)
  • Stopwatch (3)
  • Streak 7 tablet
  • Acer Laptop


For necessary materials and supplies needed for research, please submit a Gemstone Purchase Form to the Gemstone Assistant Director for Operations. If approved, the Gemstone Assistant Director for Operations will complete the order and contact you when the order is complete. You will receive an email receipt and must follow up within 5 business days.

Package Pick Up & Notification Policy

Starting fall 2015, the new package pick up hours will be MWF 11AM - 2 PM. Gemstone will hold packages up to 5 business days from the time the email notification is sent to a team's Financial Liaison that a package has arrived. Packages should be picked up during the designated pick-up hours. Packages that are not picked up within 5 business days will be returned to the sender at the team's expense.


*Prior to the purchase, team members and the mentor must obtain approval to make the purchase.* If payment is made by a member of the team or mentor, that person can be reimbursed by the Program, only if the purchase has been pre-approved. The purchaser must submit the following supporting documentations:

  • Original itemized receipt
  • Explanation for reimbursement (be specific)
  • If this will be a meal for a research focus group (include attendees list)

A Miscellaneous Payment Request form must be completed with the Gemstone Assistant Director for Operations for reimbursement in Room 0100J Ellicott Hall. This form is not provided online.

Reimbursements to students are credited to their student accounts. However, if students have an outstanding balance due on their student accounts, the reimbursement will be applied towards the outstanding debt and any remaining funds will be credited to their accounts. Students may then request the funds from the Bursar Office in the Lee Building.

*Original itemized receipts not turned in to the Assistant Director for Operation's office within 30 days or before the end of the semester will not be considered for reimbursment. All receipts must be turned in the same semester that the expense was incurred (fiscal year). The fiscal year ends June 30. There are NO EXCEPTIONS to this policy.

Any books or equipment that can be reused beyond the team project will be appropriately labeled and must be returned to the Gemstone office after the project is complete.

Survey Incentives

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

Teams may offer research study participants cash or funds added to a Terrapin Express account, a pre-paid debit account that can be used at participating locations on campus. All participants must fill out the Acknowledgement of Receipt incentive form. The team financial liaison should contact the Gemstone Assistant Director for Operations for further details and procedures.

Teams should use the Acknowlegement of Receipt form for raffles; however, the form is not required for incentives such as t-shirts, coffee mugs, mouse pads, pens, etc. (these items must be in bulk). The team financial liaison should work with the Gemstone Assistant Director for Operations to purchase bulk items.

Acknowledgement Receipt Form (pdf)

Additional Team Support

If a team needs more financial support for materials or attendance at conferences/meetings, the team may submit a proposal along with mentor's signature to the Gemstone Assistant Director for Operations ( All proposals for these funds must be submitted as early as possible for best consideration. Click here to apply for Supplemental Funding for your team.

Decisions will be made on requests for financial assistance based on the following considerations:

  • The purpose and potential benefits of the financial support (included in the proposal).
  • Provision of funds to as many teams as possible.
  • Showing how the materials or conference/meeting for which funding is being requested will enhance the team's research.
  • Specifically for conferences/meetings:

    (1) A team that is giving a presentation at a conference or meeting will be given priority over a team that is merely attending a conference/meeting.

    (2)  The team must justify the number of members it is sending. In general, support for one or two students from several teams will be given priority over support for one entire team.

    (3) The team must also show how the conference/meeting fits with the team’s research and the progress the team has made to date.  One more tip for teams considering attending a conference:  It is best to plan ahead so that the team can get the most out of its travel. For example, the team may want to contact one or more of the experts before the conference and try to schedule individual meetings with them during the conference to discuss the team's research. 

Conference Proposal Form

The Conference Proposal Form is now available online. All proposals must be submitted online using the form.

In addition to submitting the conference proposal all travelers must complete the travel forms (TAR, OTR, Gemstone Travel Policy, and Travel Consent) located here. Submit all forms to the Assistant Director for Operations, 0100J Ellicott Hall.

Please refer to External Funding Opporutunties for information about requesting funds from resources outside the University of Maryland.

Approved Travel Procedures

For Travel or Conference Attendance, the following procedures are to be followed by mentors and students of the Gemstone Program before leaving, while traveling, and after travel. Reimbursement cannot be made unless the traveler has obtained approval from the Gemstone Assistant Director for Operations ( before the trip. In the following, only those items for which the team was approved will apply.

Before Traveling

  • A Travel Approval for expenses must be obtained and submitted to the Gemstone Assistant Director for Operations for pre-approval.
  • If Gemstone approves the team for travel, it will be the responsibility of the team to make hotel and flight, train or bus transportation arrangements. This is not the responsibility of the Gemstone Assistant Director for Operations. Once arrangements have been made, each traveler must submit via e-mail the confirmation numbers for hotel 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.

Meal Rates

  • In accordance with Travel policy. Travelers will normally be reimbursed in accordance with the standard travel meal per diem schedule set forth below.
  • Schedule of domestic (50 United States, including Alaska and Hawaii) reimbursable meal rates for University of Maryland travelers:
  Standard (including tax & tip)
Total (per diem) - including tax & tip

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 that to personally submit the receipts for approved expenditures, and complete and sign the Expense Statement form within five (5) working days of the 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

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: