A grant is the least restrictive of contractual mechanisms and is used when the principal purpose of the award is to accomplish a specified public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by Federal statute. Typically issued by federal sponsors under a “financial assistance” program, awards support basic research to benefit the public good. State agencies, local governments, foundations, associations, corporations, and other private entities also use grants.
A cooperative agreement is a type of grant in which both parties may have responsibilities for portions of the statement of work. The federal sponsor chooses cooperative agreements as the instrument of award when conduct of the work involves substantial participation. The agreement will likely provide for combined efforts on site, joint ownership of the results, and co-authorship of publications. Both parties benefit, but the end results may still be intended for the public good.
Contracts are used when the principal purpose is procurement, i.e., acquisition of property or services for the direct benefit of the sponsor. Under this definition, a contract is issued to support a “procurement” activity, the results of which are needed for the sponsor’s use in its own work. Contracts entail specific deliverables, and terms and conditions are incorporated directly into the contract document. It is the most restrictive of the contractual mechanisms.
Research Gifts, University wide, are processed by OSPRA but administered financially through the University Foundation. OSPRA reviews the gift letter to ensure compliance with University policies and procedures and that no modifications have been made to the template approved by University Counsel. Guidance for determining if the award is a gift or grant can be found in the General Rules of the University and the Office of Business and Financial Services Policy.
Foundations are active in nearly all fields. However, funding is consistently concentrated in certain subject areas. As you can see, education and health top the list. Human services ranks third in grant dollars, but first in number of grants. This means that although there are many more grants awarded in a subject area, they many be smaller in terms of dollars.