University Controller's Office
Grants & Contracts

Post Award Financial Administration Policies

Definition of Sponsored Agreements and Gifts

How to Distinguish Grants and Contracts from Gifts:

Grants and contracts (sponsored programs) may be distinguished from gifts as follows:

Sponsored programs are situations where the University agrees to specific conditions and/or to perform a defined scope of work as defined by the sponsor.  

  • An investigator-initiated project that specifies proposals for research, training, and/or service activities to an outside entity.  

  • The proposed project binds the University to a specific scope of work.

  • A formal agreement for a specified term is established and signed by an officer of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and the sponsoring agency.

  • The project involves disposition of property, whether tangible or intangible, that may result from the project (e.g. equipment, records, inventions, copyrights, or rights in data).

  • The sponsor requires invoices for cost reimbursement and/or a financial report is required.

Typically sponsored programs include the following conditions:

  • Submission of detailed report of performance and a fiscal report subject to audit,

  • Return of funds or goods not consumed,

  • Confidentiality of results, and

  • Delivery of anything of value to the sponsor.

Some Types of Sponsored Agreements

  • Clinical Trials - Agreements that provide for the testing of a drug or device on a human subject.

  • Contracts - Financial support for a specific task, with the project usually initiated by the sponsor.  Terms and conditions, specific to the award, generally must be negotiated prior to acceptance of the contract.

  • Cooperative Agreement - A financial assistance mechanism used when substantial sponsor involvement with VCU is anticipated during performance of the activities.

  • Grant - A financial assistance mechanism providing money, property, or both to VCU to carry out an approved project or activity.  A grant is used whenever the sponsor anticipates no substantial programmatic involvement with VCU during performance of the financially assisted activities.

  • Industry Sponsored Agreement - An agreement with VCU that involves interactions with the private sector.