UW Research

Sponsored Program or Service?

Is it a Sponsored Program or a Service?

UW departments participate in a wide range of activities. It is important to determine which University policies, procedures, and accounting requirements apply to these activities.

Information here was designed to help distinguish between:

Categorizing between sponsored programs or services is not always a bright line. Some of the factors listed below could be present in both a sponsored program and services agreement. Because of this, review and discussion by more than one UW office may be needed.

Other types of activity the UW may undertake are not covered in detail here, including licensing of UW technology or activity supported with gift funds.

Review guidance on distinguishing between a gift and a sponsored program.

Sponsored Programs

When one or more of the Sponsored Program Indicators apply to the UW activity, route an eGC1 to OSP for a full assessment and determination. Attach back-up documentation such as a detailed scope of work, budget detail, and any draft agreement you have received.

Sponsored Program Agreements are handled according to the Principles and Practices relevant to sponsored program activity, such as the right to publish, no warranties on research outcomes, and full cost recovery including payment of Facilities & Administrative costs.

Sponsored Program Indicators:

  • Funds the major functions of basic & organized research, instruction or other sponsored activity
  • Mutual exchange between a sponsor & the UW that supports and advances the UW’s mission and provides a benefit to the sponsor and the UW.
  • Activity results in generalizable knowledge intended to be shared broadly with the scientific community
  • The UW:
    • Has authority to make overall programmatic decisions, with performance measured against program objectives rather than customer specifications
    • Controls the method and results of the overall project
    • Is responsible for the overall project or program outcomes
  • Is contributing to the scientific development or execution of the project
  • Activity is carried out with the intent to further disseminate knowledge including potential publication (e.g. UW researcher(s) contribute as authors or co-authors)
  • Activity may result in a UW patentable innovation
  • Copyrightable material may be developed while carrying out the work and UW/author intends to retain ownership and control for future research or academic purposes
  • Equipment fabrication or development for a federal agency
  • Carrying out clinical responsibilities for the VA (while clinical activities at the VA are not truly a sponsored program, OSP handles these)

If the Sponsored Program Indicators do not apply, review the Service Indicators and Service Activity contacts.


A service is a unique, specific and limited function performed at the procurement of another and for the benefit of or on behalf of a specific party, usually the other contracting party (customer). The Revised Code of Washington defines this type of commercial activity as that which provides a product or service for a fee that could be obtained from a commercial source (RCW 28B.63.020). Review the UW Administrative Policy Statement (APS) 59.5 for the UW Policy on Sales of Goods and Services.

Service Indicators

  • Primary benefit is to the customer
  • The UW activity is ancillary to a program or project and the UW not responsible for meeting program objectives or overall program progress
  • Billing for activity is typically based on a fee schedule, pricing list, per diem, or per unit basis
  • Cost is expressed in an hourly or per unit basis
  • Request is for a bid or quote, not a proposal
  • When Federal, the government intends to own all rights in data
  • Agency refers to the winning bidder as “vendor” and not “contractor”, “awardee” or “grantee”
  • Activity is not carried out with the intent to further disseminate knowledge, including publication

The following activities are considered Service Activities. Review the Service Activity Contacts for information on who to contact.

  • Lab testing services
  • Clinical services, examples: Physical Therapy (PT)/Occupational Therapy (OT), radiology, imaging, radiation therapy, etc.
  • Non-lab testing services
  • Curation services
  • Hosting conference site (e.g. providing facilities, catering, printing, and other support)
  • Hosting a panel of experts or members of the community
  • Performing arts, art installation requiring entry fee, other art displays, performances, or activities in which entrants pay a fee
  • Consultant (such as supplying software, providing technical assistance, setting up equipment, etc.)
  • Field testing (such as acoustic testing, equipment testing, etc.)

Your school may have resources related to goods and services agreements and their pricing.

Service Activity Contacts