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Information for Visitors

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This information is maintained by Anna Kenway.

Categories of Visitors to eSI

Depending on the reason for your visit to our Institute, you will fall into one or other of the following categories. Each section lists what is re-imbursed - more detailed rules are in the general information section.

Invited Speaker

To take part in a workshop. You will have been invited by the organisers and the amount to be re-imbursed may have been agreed with them. This normally consists of:

  • Travel costs.
  • Claimable incidental (subsistence) expenses of up to £35 per day. (Requires receipts)
  • We book your accommodation and pay for it directly.

Short-stay Visitor

To visit the Insitute, either through engagement with a Theme or by applying to our Visitor Programme

  • Travel costs.
  • NEW A per diem of £25 per day for each day at the Institute (rounded up). (Does not require receipts) This is only available to visitors who are not members of staff of the University.
  • We book your accommodation and pay for it directly. If you are here for more than a month, we will put you in self-catering accommodation.

Long-stay Visitor

By application to our Visitor Programme but you could also be a Theme Leader

  • Depending on the nature of your visit we will have negotiated a buy-out or remuneration package - normally in consultation with your home institution.
  • Theme leaders at other institutions will also be able to claim the £25 per diem as part of their travel costs while at eSI.

General Information on Reimbursement of Expenses

Principles - IMPORTANT

Regulations covering the reimbursement of expenses are set by the University of Edinburgh and are designed to comply with UK Inland Revenue law.

As a general principle, the University will only reimburse reasonable expenses incurred by staff in the pursuit of bona fide University business, in accordance with the rules set down by the Inland Revenue.

The same principle applies to the reimbursement of visitor's expenses and we summarise the main points here. Note that:

  • We cannot reimburse expenses for accompanying spouses, partners, friends or other family.
  • Invited speakers are not normally expected to pay for registration to meetings.
  • The important word here is reasonable. Bearing in mind the recent MP's expenses claims scandal, could you convince a group of journalists or taxpayers that this was a proper use of public funds?

Incidental (Subsistence) Expenses

For visiting speakers (and others who may need to claim subsistence expenses e.g. theme leaders and long-stay visitors on travel to other institutes).

  • The normal maximum subsistence claimable is £35 a day - including all meals and other incidental costs. This is not an entitlement but must be justified by receipts for all items > £5.
    • Guideline amounts for meals are currently:
      • Breakfast £6.50 (only claimable if not included in accommodation charges)
      • Lunch £9.00
      • Dinner £14.00
    • We would not normally expect to cover alcohol where the person is dining alone. Nor can we cover any alcohol except in the context of a workshop or conference dinner.
    • Clearly, a business-related 'social' dinner - such as an organised workshop dinner - will exceed this amount, but this is allowable.
    • Where the meal receipt covers more than one person, others attending should be named, along with their institution.

Visitors will instead be refunded a £25 per diem for days spent at the Institute. This is new.

  • Days are rounded up and include any weekends contained within the visit period.
  • Do not include travel days.
  • Do not require any receipts.
  • You will still need to submit a signed expenses claim to allow us to calculate the amount formulaically.
  • This replaces the claimable subsistence above and is not an addition to it.
  • You cannot claim for meals (except the conference dinner) and the daily subsistence.


As we have negotiated special rates with our suppliers, we normally expect to directly book accommodation for people visiting or attending our events. If you are a visitor or invited speaker we pay for this directly.

  • Items on hotel bills which we will not reimburse include charges for cable TV and other items not deemed to be necessary for business.
Please contact Lee Callaghan with your requirements.
Invited Speakers
Even as an invited speaker you will need to register online for the appropriate meeting. When you register you will be able to request accommodation specifying the number of nights and any special requirements.

Approximate accommodation costs: (May 2007)

Jan-Jun Jul-Sep Oct-Dec
Bed & Breakfast - Per night £70 £90 £70
Self Catering - Per month £750 £850 £750

Note: It is normally impossible to rent a flat in August during the Edinburgh Festival.


  • Travel should normally be at standard class. More expensive options are a possibility where these are necessary but should be agreed with the organiser issuing the invitation.
  • We do not book travel - visitors and invited speakers should either do this through their home institution and then have them invoice us (make the invoice out to "University of Edinburgh"), or pay directly and submit an expenses claim form.

Expenses Claim Form

Click the link to download the Expenses Claim Form. Please read the relevant sections above that apply to you, before filling in the form.

  • YOU DO NOT NEED TO FILL IN THE CODING DETAILS on the front of the form. We will do that. Just fill in the item list on the back
  • Remember to sign and date the form and put the address where you want the cheque sent to. Note that we must have the original form - faxes, scans or emails are not as yet accepted by the Finance Department.
  • Include receipts for all items > £5.
  • State clearly the workshop you were speaking at, or the person you were visiting at eSI, along with the dates.
  • If you were a visitor state the date of arrival and departure at the Institute. Do not include days spent travelling.
    • NEW If you want to be reimbursed in a foreign currency - either by bank draft or bank transfer - please complete the new third page of the form in addition to the first two.
    • For GBP (UK sterling) ignore the last page. If you would like to be reimbursed by bank transfer, please provide us with the bank details (bank, sort code and accound code) in the address section. Otherwise simply complete the address section.
  • Return the form and receipts to:
    Accounts Office
    e-Science Institute
    15 South College Street
    Edinburgh EH8 9AA
  • Any queries regarding claims should be made to:
    +44 (0)131 651 4322


Because of the complexities involved, visitors are responsible for organising their own visas. We can help to the extent that we can:

  • Provide letters of invitation for invited speakers and visitors.
  • Apply for a work permit where that is appropriate.

Report Templates

Reports are only expected from visitors who have come to eSI via the Visitor Programme Reports should focus on the new research insights arising as a result of the visit/collaboration rather than be a mere list of activity.

Short Visit Reports

For visits lasting less than 2 months. Download here:

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