Is this a gift or sponsored research?


The correct classification, processing and monitoring of external funds (gifts, contracts and awards) are an essential part of the fiduciary management by the university. To facilitate coordination and ensure consistent treatment of funds, these policies and procedures should be used by all university employees seeking or receiving external funding support.

Gifts and sponsored awards to the University are made in a variety of forms, reflecting the diversity of sponsors as well as their purposes. This can make the proper classification a complex endeavor which requires informed judgment in cases where the nature of an award is not immediately clear. Each award must be considered in its totality since there is no single defining characteristic which can be used for all externally funded awards.

Sponsored Awards

Sponsored Awards are grants or contracts from an external entity such as a foundation, corporation or governmental agency for some activity with a negotiated scope and purpose undertaken by the university in expectation of a benefit to the sponsor or their mission.

Grants and contracts bind the university to a set of terms such as budgetary restrictions, have programmatic objectives to be achieved, define responsible parties, have a period of performance and detail ownership rights of intellectual property and data. Generally, grants are to carry out a public purpose of support and do not provide a direct benefit to the sponsor; they usually allow the recipient a greater degree of flexibility than other award mechanisms. In general, contracts are for the procurement of something for the direct benefit of the sponsor and often have more restrictions. Either type of award can be on a fixed price or cost reimbursable basis.

Facilities and administrative costs are charged according to the University federally negotiated rates unless the sponsor has a written and publicly published policy precluding such recovery. This documentation should be attached to the routing form and submitted for approval with the proposal.

Sponsored awards are administered by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) at the University of New Orleans. Electronic routing forms and the required supporting documentation should be submitted to ORSP for university approval prior to submitting a proposal to a sponsor.


A gift is the voluntary transfer of funds or property to the university as a charitable donation with no expectation or receipt of economic benefit or other tangible compensation other than recognition and disposition of the donation according to their expressed wishes. Gifts may be given for specific or general purposes.

Gifts to the university are processed by Business Affairs. Gifts can also be made to a UNO Foundation.

There are no contractual requirements; can restrict the funds usage to a particular purpose such as scholarship or research in a set area.

Donation is irrevocable.

No period of performance is specified.

Invoices, financial statement, progress reports or technical reports are not required

No use of university property is expected in exchange for the donation

Government support (federal, state, local or foreign) is not typically a gift.

Funds from an individual or corporation as a charitable donation will typically qualify as a gift; cash, checks, and stock certificates presented to the university with no legal agreement or service requirement would generally be processed as a gift.

How to Distinguish

Grant or contract instruments may include some or all of the requirements and conditions listed below. Gifts may be unrestricted or may include some of the requirements listed below. The language used by a donor or sponsor and the benefit they expect is generally the source for making a distinction between a sponsored award and a gift.


Sponsored Award


Managing office

Office of Research and Sponsored Programs

(504 )280-6836

Accounting Services
(a department under Business Affairs)


Public good or economic benefit to the sponsor

No expectation or receipt of economic benefit

Source of funding


Individual, Private,

Reporting & Publication


Not required


Progress/technical reports required

May request acknowledgement in publications


Final progress/technical reports required


Usually require acknowledgement in publications


Accounting & Financial Reports


Not required


Require separate account


Regular financial reports


Final financial reports


Line item budget and prior approval for budget adjustments




General or non-restrictive





Intellectual Property issues


Payment contingent based on reports/deliverables


Specific period of performance