Over the summer I visited a research station at a different university to collect data for my PhD work. I received an invoice (nearly two months after the fact) for bench fees related to my stay in the amount of $100/day. I used a few square feet of floor space in one of the labs and some outdoor space as well, but brought all my own equipment and materials.
This is my first time visiting a different university, so this is new to me. The communication from the research station before my visit was exceptionally poor, not a single one of my emails (over the span of months) was replied to when I tried to communicate with my sponsor, but since they accepted my payment for lodging I showed up. I guess I should have assumed there would be fees on top of what I already paid associated with my stay, but as I mentioned I am new to this, and working in an interdisciplinary field so my advisor is not familiar with the customs of this other field.
My specific questions are:
1) What is a typical day rate for bench fees, considering the visiting student has provided all their own equipment and materials? (is there a typical rate?)
2) Is it normal to have no communication of any fees beforehand (or during the stay) only to be sent an invoice after the fact? Perhaps I am being unreasonable to expect that this be communicated up front.
My qualm is not with paying the fees, I understand that it costs money to run a research station, but since none of this was communicated ahead of time I did not budget it into my grant for this fieldwork. Also, $100/day seems excessive for floor space, but perhaps that is the going rate.