There are three basic relationships that may exist between a sponsor and the recipient of sponsored research funds. These three types of awards are reflected in how the funds are allocated and controlled. Each award type carries with it a set of regulations as articulated in OMB Circular A-21, and reflected locally in the policies and procedures of the OSP.
A grant is an award of funds included in a written instrument executed by the head of the awarding agency or his/her duly authorized representative. Grant funded project activities support the aims and objectives of the sponsoring agency. Except in monitoring project progress and financial transactions, the sponsor is not involved in the management of the project. Generally, grants have the following characteristics:
A contract is "an agreement between two or more people to do something, especially one formally set forth in writing and enforceable by law." Awards made by contractual agreements are usually more complicated than awards made as grants. They commit the College to a specific and usually narrowly focused set of tasks. The sponsor is usually in partnership with the College and therefore takes a much more active role in the management of the project. The OSP is responsible for preparing and negotiating contracts with industry, agencies of state and federal government, local municipalities and non-profit organizations. Cooperative efforts are encouraged with private and public partners to support research and creative activities that are consonant with the College's research, teaching, and public service mission. Generally, contracts have the following characteristics:
Cooperative agreements create a partnership between the institution and the sponsor. The principal differences between a grant, contract or a cooperative agreement are in the ways the statement of work is defined. A grant or contact's statement of work has been articulated in the proposal. Alternatively, the statement of work may be defined with some degree of specificity in the contract instrument itself. A cooperative agreement, however, tends to describe a more open-ended statement of work; details are filled in during the term of the funded project by mutual agreement between the sponsor and the recipient. A cooperative agreement is necessary in instances where it is difficult, if not impossible, at the outset of a project to anticipate most contingencies and define the full parameters of the project.
Last Updated: 10/22/09