Award Types

There are five primary types of funding instruments: gifts, unrestricted grants, grants and cooperative agreements, contracts, and master agreements.

Gifts

Gifts to the University support a variety of faculty activities. Gift characteristics include:

  • A letter stating it is a gift.
  • A check in-advance.
  • No statement of work.
  • No formal financial or technical reports or deliverables are required.

Sometimes industrial sponsors or donors send the check directly to the faculty member. True gifts must be processed through the Engineering Development Office. Contact them at giving@engr.psu.edu or 814-865-0173.

Unrestricted Grants

Unrestricted grants to the faculty support a multitude of research activities. Unrestricted grant characteristics include:

  • A check in-advance.
  • No statement of work.
  • No restrictions on publications.
  • No restrictions on intellectual property.
  • Less than $50,000 per fiscal year.

Unrestricted grants for general research support and support-specific activities must be forwarded to the Engineering Finance Office for processing. To process an unrestricted grant, departments need to prepare the following package and forward all materials to Engineering Finance. This package includes:

  • The check
  • A budget or budget revision (BARA)
  • Departmental receipt (yellow copy)
  • A Penn State Report of Cash Receipts (ROCR)
  • Copies of supporting documentation (proposal, sponsor letter, thank you letters, etc.)
  • Questionnaire and AIAF

Grants and Cooperative Agreements

Grants and cooperative agreements are employed when the principal objective of the sponsor is the transfer rather than the acquisition of project results/outcomes to accomplish a public purpose.

Grant characteristics include:

  • Sponsor’s principal objective is the accomplishment of a public utilization.
  • Project usually has stated goals and objectives.
  • Substantial sponsor involvement is not expected.
  • Sponsor has expectations about how the funds will be spent.
  • Grant deliverables may include formal technical reports.
  • Financial reporting and/or accounting are required.

Cooperative agreement characteristics include:

  • Sponsor’s principal objective is the accomplishment of a public utilization.
  • Project usually has stated goals and objectives.
  • Substantial sponsor involvement is expected.
  • Sponsor has expectations about how the funds will be spent.
  • Grant deliverables may include formal technical reports.
  • Financial reporting and/or accounting are required.

Contracts

Contracts are used when the principal objective of the sponsor is the acquisition of property or services for the direct benefit of the sponsor. Contract characteristics include:

  • Specific deliverables are stipulated in negotiations.
  • Project performance is monitored by the sponsor.
  • Technical reports are required.
  • Detailed financial reports are required.

Master Agreements

Master agreements are emerging as a favored type of administrative structure and are most common with industry. These are umbrella agreements that support faculty activities through task orders.