How is Research Supported?
University Support and Gifts
The university contributes to the research effort in many ways. It provides space; it often pays faculty members for the effort they expend on research during the academic year; and it provides a preponderance of the funds for libraries and museums, various annual awards and funds for start-up. Many departments also have funds designated for research. Research is also supported by gifts (funds that donors give to investigators with few or no conditions). Gifts are processed by the University Foundation. An award is not a gift but a sponsored project if the proposal for the award or the award agreement includes any of the following:
- a line-item budget for the expenditure of funds;
- a detailed statement of the planned activity or scope of work;
- any commitment to provide “deliverables” (e.g., products, or periodic technical or progress reports);
- any fiduciary commitments (financial reports, audits and/or an obligation to return unexpended funds);
- any commitment to account for tangible or intangible property (equipment, data, technical reports, copyrightable or patentable materials).
In order to ensure compliance with federal and university guidelines, and adherence to any sponsor contractual obligations, all sponsored projects are administered through the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP), and all proposals for sponsored projects must be submitted through that office. In some cases, sponsors may request preliminary letters of intent prior to proposal submission. The term “proposal” is understood to include such letters, and these must also be submitted through OSP.
A gift may be made in the form of a contribution of money, a legally enforceable pledge or property. A gift may be based on a proposal or an application. The term “gift” also includes grants made with philanthropic intent. By accepting a gift, the university assumes no liability to provide a deliverable, only the obligation to use the gift for the purpose(s) stipulated by the donor. Overall, there will be no reporting requirements. However, periodic reporting and a final accounting could be required by the donor without jeopardizing the classification as a gift. Usually, there are no separate accountability requirements for multiple contributions, and the amounts received may be commingled with contributions received for similar purposes.
Inevitably, there will be situations when the classification of a grant or gift will be unclear. When such situations arise, personnel in the Office of Sponsored Programs, 111-111-6651, the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations, 111-111-7060 and the UI Foundation, 111-111-9100 will jointly decide the proper classification and administration of the award. Please see APM 45.03 for more information.