UW Research


Contractual arrangement with specific deliverables and expected outcomes which benefit the sponsor. Examples: fixed price contract, cost reimbursable contract, clinical trial contract.

Federal Contracts:

A procurement mechanism used by the federal government.  In the case of sponsored programs it is to provide funding for research and development projects. Typically, a research topic and methods for conducting the research are specified in detail by the sponsor, often in the Request for Proposal (RFP) which announces the funding opportunity.

Federal Contracts are governed by a strict set of terms and conditions, including clauses from the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).

In general, there are greater performance expectations associated with contracts than there are for Federal Grants, including project milestones and detailed deliverables.

There is an expected outcome or product.

Requirements in federal contracts will impact your budget, plan ahead. For example, the Department of Defense requirement for Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC).

Non-Federal Contract:

An agreement with specific terms and conditions between two or more entities in which there are specific deliverables to perform which benefit the Sponsor in return for payments.

The existence of a contract requires the following elements:

  • an offer,
  • an acceptance of that offer which resulted in payment in some form (fixed price, milestones),
  • a time or event when performance must be made to meet commitments,
  • terms and conditions for performance, including fulfilling promises, deliverables.