Home | Resources | Distinguishing Sponsored Projects from Fee for Service Agreements

Both sponsored projects and fee for service activities are external funding to the University in exchange for work by University employees. However, there are important differences between these types of activities. The following guidance is used to distinguish if work is a sponsored project or fee for service activity.

Contact [email protected] with any questions and/or for final decisions on the proper classification of a specific proposal/project/agreement.

Sponsored projects

Sponsored projects are scholarly activities integral to ASU’s teaching, research, and service mission and can be in the form of a grant, contract, or collaborative agreement. Sponsored projects usually require the intellectual contribution of at least one ASU employee, and they usually (but not always) allow for the University to own resulting intellectual property and for the publication of results without significant restrictions. Sponsored projects must be processed through the ORSPA.

Sponsored projects typically have some or all of the following characteristics:

  1. The activity requires an intellectual or scholarly contribution from ASU personnel, including research.
  2. The funds originate from a governmental source.
  3. A formal proposal or award document exists, often requiring the endorsement of an authorized official of ASU.
  4. The proposal or agreement includes an itemized budget and may place restrictions on how funds can be spent and/or re-budgeted.
  5. Cost-sharing may be involved or required in order to receive the funding.
  6. A specific commitment is made regarding the level of personnel effort.
  7. A fiscal report, activity report, and/or external audit is required during the course of the work or at the end of the project period.
  8. The proposed agreement with the sponsor provides for the disposition of tangible or intangible property.
  9. Unexpended funds must be returned to the sponsor at the end of the activity.
  10. The activity includes compliance terms and conditions.

Fee for service activity

Fee for service activity is routine work that involves standardized procedures or procedures supplied entirely by the outside party funding the work. The outcome of the work is not likely to result in the development of new knowledge or publishable information, and any data collected is to be provided without significant interpretive analysis. Fee for service activities do not include any research activities.

Fee for service activities typically have some or all of the following characteristics:

  1. The scope of work describes routine or repetitive services.
  2. The work will require little or no intellectual or scholarly contribution on the part of ASU employees.
  3. No new intellectual property is expected to be developed in performing the work.
  4. There is no scientific uncertainty regarding the University’s ability to perform the work and provide the stated deliverables.
  5. ASU employees will not engage in significant interpretive analysis of resulting data or provide conclusions. There is no expectation of publishing on the work or the data.