What is a Sponsored Program?

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 expectation.

Sponsored programs activities may include research, instruction and training, public service, evaluative testing, and other scholarly and creative activities conducted under the direction of University faculty and staff. They can be supported by a number of different sponsors, such as federal agencies, state agencies, local government, private foundations, corporate or industry, or non-profit organizations. Sponsored Programs are issued via a variety of award instruments containing one or more of the following provisions:

  • Funds to be used only for activities approved in advance by the sponsor
  • Expenditures to be made according to a budget, which may be as simple as an allocation between direct costs and F&A (Facilities and Administration – also known as indirect costs) approved in advance by the sponsor
  • Requirement for audits by or on behalf of the funding source
  • An obligation to satisfy specific funding source requirements (e.g., terms and conditions setting forth a detailed scope of work to be accomplished rather than a general area of research or program endeavor)
  • Testing or evaluation of proprietary products
  • Specification of a time period during which activities are to be conducted and completed
  • Requirement for technical or financial reports, or for some other outcome or product of the activity, to be delivered to the sponsor during or at the completion of the activity
  • Terms for the disposition of rights in tangible or intangible property (data rights, copyrights, inventions) developed or obtained during the activity
  • Requirement for unexpended funds to be returned to the sponsor at the completion of the activity

What is NOT a Sponsored Program?

Some types of activities are not sponsored projects and do not required proposals to be submitted via RAPSS to Research and Sponsored Programs or Sponsored Research Agreements. Some examples include gifts, editor or scientific association publications. Please see the Gift vs Sponsored Program Checklist for help with identifying if an incoming agreement / funding is a gift or a sponsored program.

Gifts typically carry no reciprocal obligations between donor and recipient and are often unrelated (or only indirectly related) to the business interests or mission of the donor. A gift may be an unrestricted donation to the University, or a donation whose uses may be restricted for a general purpose (i.e. “restricted gift”). Within the restrictions set by the terms of a gift agreement, the specific ways in which funds are used and the methods of implementing the intent of the donor are left to the discretion of the University. When restricted or unrestricted gifts are received, the University has broad latitude in how to use the gift funds. The University (rather than the donor) chooses which institutional members may participate in the activities supported by the gift.

A gift typically has no time limit. The gift donor may require that funds be used to support the work of a specific scientist or staff member. However, this individual retains broad discretion as to how the funds are expended to meet the donor’s original intention or general aim for the gift. Although it is not unusual for a donor to expect a report on the general use of gifted funds (for example, a list of activities or projects that have been supported by a gift) or even a report on line-item expenses, a donor may not recoup gift funds.

Sponsored Program Agreement Types

There are three basic funding mechanisms used to support sponsored programs. Each particular type of funding mechanism carries with it different characteristics and objectives. The table below will provide detailed information on each type of funding mechanism.

Co-op Agreement
Description A grant is used to support a particular project conceived and proposed by the principal investigator, with minimal involvement and control by the sponsor. Grants generally contain fewer administrative requirements than other funding instruments such as contracts. A cooperative agreement is a type of federal award that provides assistance to a particular project with substantial federal involvement throughout the life of the project. A sponsor issues a contract to procure goods or services for their direct benefit. Goods or services to be procured are specifically defined in the request for proposals inviting bids or quotes. Many contracts provide for substantial sponsor involvement in the performance of the contracted activity. Contracts tend to be governed by fairly restrictive administrative requirements.
Basic Purpose Provide assistance with few restrictions Provide assistance with substantial involvement between parties Procure tangible goods or services
Solicitation Method Application kit or guidelines Request for proposals Request for bid or quote
Award Instrument Short, may refer to general conditions Describes involvement, party relationships Long, detailed specs, clauses, regulations and expected results, milestones
Sponsor Involvement Generally, none Substantial Involvement May be extensive
Rebudgeting Flexible Usually allowed Occasionally allowed within restrictions
Equipment Title Grantee Varies Contractor
Patent Rights Generally liberal May be involved Provision in contract
Publications Unrestricted May ask to be informed May require prior review/deletion of proprietary information
Technical Annual summary report Frequent reports Detailed, often monthly

Incoming (Scope of Work) Agreement

The tables below provides guidance on the type of sponsored program agreement needed and the central office that processes that agreement. A process flow detailing the same information can be found in the documents section of this page.

Scope of Work
Sponsor Type
Agreement Type
Non-Clinical Business/For-Profit Entity The Boeing Company Contract Sponsored Research Agreements (SRA)
Non-Clinical Federal (FDP) National Institutes of Health Sponsored Project (Grant) Research and Sponsored Programs (RSP)
  • State, Local Government
  • Foundations
  • Non-Profit Business Entity
State of NJ, City of Newark Sponsored Project (Grant or Contract) Sponsored Research Agreements (SRA)
Clinical (Includes Designated Health Services)* All Sponsor Types (primarily hospitals/clinics/non-profits) Northampton County Mental Health Professional Service Agreement Enterprise Risk Management
Clinical Business/For-Profit Entity Bristol Meyers Squibb Clinical Trial Agreement Sponsored Research Agreement (SRA)

Outgoing (Scope of Work) Agreement

Scope of Work
Sponsor Type
Agreement Type
Non-Clinical (Subrecipient does not have programmatic involvement) All Sponsor Types Outside professionals (e.g. consultants, technicians, etc.) Professional Service Provider Agreement or IT Professional Service Provider Agreement University Procurement Services
Non-Clinical (Subrecipient has programmatic involvement) Business/For-Profit Entity Lockheed Martin Subaward Agreement Sponsored Research Agreements (SRA)
Non-Clinical (Subrecipient has programmatic involvement)
  • Federal, State, Local Government
  • Foundations
  • Non-Profit Business Entity
National Institutes of Health Subaward Agreement Research and Sponsored Programs (RSP)
Clinical Business/For-Profit Entity Bristol Meyers Squibb Clinical Trial Agreement Sponsored Research Agreements (SRA)
Clinical (Establishment of a Clinical Affiliation Agreement) All Sponsor Types (primarily hospitals/clinics/non-profits) Saint Peter's Healthcare System Clinical Affiliation Agreement Enterprise Risk Management

*Please note that Scope of Work typically includes Designated Health Services such as:

  • Clinical lab services
  • PT/OT services
  • Radiology and imaging services
  • Radiation therapy services and supplies
  • DME and supplies
  • Parenteral and enteral nutrients, equipment and supplies
  • Prosthetics, orthotics and prosthetic devices
  • Home health services and supplies
  • Outpatient prescription drugs
  • Inpatient and outpatient hospital services