The offices of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement have defined a sponsored project to be any externally funded research or scholarly activity that has a defined scope of work or set of objectives which provides a basis for sponsor expectations. The following lists of characteristics are provided as a means of further clarifying how external funds from non-governmental entities will be classified and processed. The existence of one factor alone may not be determinative. Multiple factors should be considered in order to decide whether a sponsored project exists and therefore must be processed through the Office of Pre-Award Services (OPAS).

Sponsored Projects Requirements

The following are characteristics of a sponsored project:

  • Sponsor requires specific deliverables (e.g., final technical report, evaluation, technical assistance, and training).
  • Sponsor requires return of unexpended funds.
  • Award designates a sponsor employee (agent) as project technical monitor, as opposed to designating a contact person to improve communications.
  • Award contains intellectual property rights provisions.
  • Award restricts or monitors publications or use of results.
  • Award payments are contingent upon programmatic or fiscal reporting (e.g., milestones, invoices).
  • Award includes "boilerplate" terms and conditions imposed by the project sponsor.
  • Award requires protection of sponsor and confidential information.
  • Award is designated to a specific researcher for his/her research.
  • Award contains an itemized budget, which requires sponsor approval to modify.
  • Request for funding will be used to fulfill a matching or cost sharing commitment on another sponsored project or requires a matching, cost sharing or other financial commitment from the university.
  • Award includes a defined period of performance.
  • Project involves the use of human subjects, vertebrate animals, radioisotopes on humans, radioactive materials, recombinant DNA, human body substances, etiologic agents or proprietary materials.
  • Award is granted in response to a Request for Proposal (RFP). (Contact OPAM or Development to ascertain whether there is a prior decision indicating proper handling of a particular RFP).
  • Proposal/award is governed by sponsor guidelines (either explicit or implicit).
  • Federal award has also been granted to project.
  • The award was made in response to expectations of performance described by the requester in a proposal or other writing.

Not Considered Sponsored Projects

  • Activities supported by a donor that are generally not considered sponsored projects may include the following characteristics.
  • Award supports an unrestricted purpose or such activities as endowments (e.g., eminent scholars, endowed chairs, professorships), capital projects (e.g., construction or renovation, equipment), or general student support (e.g., scholarships, fellowships).
  • Award contains only minimal requirements, generally relating to required donor pledge payments and the university's commitment to effectuate the donor's intent.
  • Award requires only minimal reporting to the sponsor donor in the form of a general statement of how funds were used.
  • Awards are irrevocable