Conference Travel & Research Visits
This information is relevant to students in the Data Science and Robotics & Autonomous Systems CDT programmes.
This guidance is based on the expense policies put forth by the University, School and UKRI to ensure spending of the CDT funds is reasonable and transparent. It is essential that you follow the procedures closely to avoid having to cover any expenses out of pocket.
If you need clarification on any procedures described below, please consult the CDT Coordinator before making any purchases.
A Funds Request Form (FRF) must be submitted PRIOR to making any travel arrangements. If you fail to obtain approval prior to the trip, your expenses will not be reimbursed.
Please note that the approval process may take up to 5 working days (or more in cases of staff absences), so it is advisable to submit your request as early as possible.
The form must include estimates of all costs for which you wish to be reimbursed. For guidance on what expenses you can and cannot claim, please read Reimbursement Restrictions below before filling out your request. If your trip expenses exceed the budget requested on the form, we cannot guarantee that the excess amount will be reimbursed. If you're not sure about the exact amounts it's better to quote higher estimates in the FRF.
2. Ask your supervisor to provide a brief explanation of the relevance/importance of this trip to your research project or training needs. The explanation can be pasted on the Funds Request Form or sent by your supervisor to the CDT Coordinator.
3. We will be in touch to let you know if your travel request has been approved, or to ask for more information. Do not make any trip-related purchases until you receive the confirmation of approval.
Once your risk assessment is approved, request University travel insurance via this form or send the approved risk assessment to the CDT Coordinator who can request the University travel insurance for you.
Travel insurance is arranged in accordance with the University's Travel Insurance Policy and does NOT cover any days of personal travel. Please arrange your own insurance to cover any days of personal travel that you add to your conference/research trips.
All travel has to be booked via the university provider, Diversity Travel. In exceptional circumstances it may be possible for you to make bookings directly and get reimbursed, but this needs to be expressly authorised.
To make a booking via Diversity Travel:
1. If you haven’t booked travel before, register as a new travel booker. (this only needs to be done once)
2. Create an online Traveller Profile via the provider website. See video guidance here.
3a. Send your preferred travel options to the CDT Coordinator who can request the reservation for you. OR
3b. Make a booking yourself using the self-service portal. See video guidance here.
UKRI terms and conditions require that all travel expenses should evidence value for money as the primary consideration; please bear that in mind for all your travel arrangements.
See also: Claimant's Checklist for Expense Claims
What can be claimed?
What cannot be claimed?
Travel and accommodation bookings
|All travel and accommodation must be booked through University's authorised supplier Diversity Travel. Contact the CDT Coordinator to arrange travel bookings. Any travel booked directly without prior approval will not be reimbursed.|
To claim back expenses you must complete sections 1 to 3 of the Student Expenses Claim form and send it to your relevant CDT coordinator from your University email address.
When filling out the form, please ensure:
- That all requested information is accurately provided.
- Give a clear indication in your email of what budget you have been given permission to claim against e.g. CDT BMAI budget.
- All required receipts and currency conversions (if applicable), which must be scanned and submitted as ONE (two at most) collated PDF document.
- Please do not submit an email request with many separate receipt attachments; the easier you make it for your Finance Administrator to review the submitted information, the quicker your request will be approved, processed and paid.
- Remember to retain original receipts if required by your funding body.
- Include FRF or any other evidence that you received prior approval from the CDT to spend the funds against the budget.
To get reimbursement for expenses paid in a foreign currency, you must include one of the following with your expense claim:
A copy of your credit card statement, showing the actual cost in GBP, if you paid by card. You may redact or black out all other transactions, but please ensure that the statement shows your name.
- Evidence of exchange rate applied to GBP exchanged for cash in a foreign currency, for the purpose of paying expenses during your trip (not a 'historic' exchange rate).
Evidence of the exchange rate
- For expenses incurred in advance of the trip (e.g. flights and accommodation booked in advance) print-out of exchange rate on the date of the expense.
- For expenses occurred during the trip, you can print out a single exchange rate from any date between your outward journey and return journey dates and use that rate to convert all of your foreign currency expenses incurred while away to GBP.
- We recommend looking up and printing out the exchange rates using the XE currency converter.
Long-Term Travel Policy
- While in Edinburgh, students are normally expected to pay for their subsistence, local travel (e.g. buses), and accommodation out of their own stipend. Similarly, for a trip away from Edinburgh of 10 days duration or more, the CDT can only cover subsistence and local transportation for the first few days at the start and end of the trip, i.e. during the periods when you are actually relocating and unable to prepare meals in the usual way. Accommodation costs for long trips will be reimbursed as follows, depending on the duration:
- 10 days-1 month: Accommodation costs will be reimbursed in full, as long as the most economical type of available accommodation is used.
- 1-6 months: Students should try to sublet or move out of their accommodation whenever possible, but where such subletting or moving out is not feasible (e.g. due to the lease contract, or because of the timing of the visit), the cost of long-term accommodation at the visit site will be reimbursed at 50%.
- 6 months or more: Only brief hotel/hostel stays at the beginning and end of travel will be reimbursed; long-term accommodation costs should be paid from the stipend just as in Edinburgh. You are expected to sublet or move out of your Edinburgh accommodation, and to arrange the timing of such visits to make this practical.
- It is a good idea to discuss accommodation options with your host very early, as some Universities have student housing that can be made available, or you may be able to schedule your arrival during a period when student accommodation is available at a low cost.
- Insurance should always be arranged for these visits through the University Travel Insurance policy and should be organised through your CDT Administrator