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Sponsored Programs Defined

A sponsored program is defined as any externally funded research or scholarly activity that has a defined scope of work and/or set of objectives, which provides a basis for sponsor expectations.

The sponsored project will require some use of university resources and the sponsor will receive some benefit (which could range from a single technical and financial report through extensive material benefits). For more information, please see Policy FI0205.

Sponsored Programs vs. Gifts

A sponsored program is a contractual agreement that:

  • Contains a specific statement of work with a detailed, line item budget
  • Addresses intellectual property rights OR
  • Includes other requirements such as deliverables, financial accounting reports, etc.

A gift is funds or property voluntarily given to the university without expectation of return or compensation on the part of the donor.

The Gift or Sponsored Program page can provide assistance determining the difference between a sponsored program and a gift.   For further accounting purposes related to gifts, please see Policy FI0315.

Sponsored Programs vs. University Contracts

There is often confusion as to which contracts should be reviewed and processed by OSP and which should go through the University Contract Administration office. Contract Routing provides some guidance to assist with that determination.

Sponsored awards are made to the University on behalf of the principal investigator (PI), who is primarily responsible for carrying out the requirements of the award. The PI may also be referred to as the project director. The few exceptions are certain awards that may be made to individuals, such as some faculty fellowships.