Frequently Asked Questions: Research Participant Incentive Payments

Research participant incentives are payments made to individuals who particpate as human subjects in research projects to motivate their participation, therefore providing a direct benefit to the project.

Research incentive payments can be made to CSUEB Students or Non-CSU Employees.   CSUEB Students may only receive direct credits to their student accounts.  Non-CSU Students/Non-CSU Employees may receive gift card payments.

CSU / CSUEB Employees may NOT receive incentive payments.

Incentives involving research on human subjects will require approval from the Insitutional Review Board.  Please reference the IRB Website for more information:  https://www.csueastbay.edu/orsp/compliance/irb/index.html
Research participant incentive payments are cash-equivelant, and are subject to financial aid requirements for students, and tax reportability regulations for all recipients.  In addition, the Institutional Review Board (IRB) must review and approval all projects which involve research on human subjects.
After reading the step by step guidance, please submit a request form.  You should do this several weeks in advance of when you need to pay recipients.  You will need to provide project information and attach your IRB approval.   Once approved, you may proceed with purchasing and distributing the incentives.   If you choose to contract with a company to distribute the incentives, you are still required to submit a request form so that ORSP is aware that incentives are being distributed and ensure that the IRB approval is in place.

Please read our step by step guidance on how to process research participant incentive payments:  https://www.csueastbay.edu/orsp/files/docs/policy/orsp-research-incentives-guidance.pdf

Once you submit a request and obtain approval, you may have your department or ORSP purchase these for you via their Department Procurement Card.  Incentives for CSUEB Students are processed via direct payments to student accounts only.  The process for paying student incentives is described in the guidance.

Any change in the number of participants and the amount per incentive you plan to distribute needs to be reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board before the change can take place.  Please submit a modification if you have changes to your approved protocol.  Please refer to the IRB page for modifications for further information:  https://www.csueastbay.edu/orsp/compliance/irb/modification.html

This also applies if you have changes to how incentives are offered (eg. entered into a drawing for 3 gift cards worth $100 each).   If data collection has begun, you cannot reduce the value of the incentive, nor the odds of receiving the incentive.  You cannot make any changes to your incentives (or any other aspect of your study) without submitting (and receiving approval of) a modification to your original IRB protocol. 

A reliance agreement (also called an IRB Authorization Agreement) is a document signed by two or more institutions engaged in human subjects research that permit one or more institutions to cede review to another IRB. The signed agreement permits a single IRB to review human subject research activities for more than one site.

A CSUEB researcher is not automatically approved to distribute incentives even if this reliance agreement is in place.  They must first submit a CSUEB IRB protocol that includes a description of the funded study;  describe the incentives (type, amount, distribution) in the potential benefits section of the IRB protocol, and include specific information about the reliance agreement that would be established. The research must secure approval from the IRB on this submitted protocol and approval on any subsequent modification.

The approved protocol and an approved research incentive request form are the first steps that need to be taken to pay out incentives.  For more information about the payment process, please consult the ORSP Guidance on Research Incentive Payments.