Types of Agreements

Jump to section:

Funded Sponsored Projects:
Sponsored Projects

Clinical Trial Agreements

Funded Non-Sponsored Projects :
Professional Sales and Services Agreements


Unfunded Projects:
Affiliation Agreements

Material Transfer Agreement /Biological Materials Transfer Agreement 
Confidentiality Agreement/Non-Disclosure Agreement
Collaboration Agreements

Funded Sponsored Projects

Sponsored Projects

Sponsored Projects are agreements for funds received from external parties such governmental agencies or private organization. A sponsored project involves programmatic decision making, analysis, and interpretation to carry out the objectives of the project. The project may be provided in the form of a contract or grant. The funds must be used for a specific purpose and will be deposited in a UArizona dedicated sponsored projects financial account. 

A project may be considered a "Sponsored Project" if it:

  • Requires separate accounting procedures, progress, technical, or final reports or other deliverables
  • Contains a requirement that unexpended funds must be returned to the sponsor at the end of the project
  • Involves the disposition of property, whether tangible or intangible, that may result from the project (equipment, inventions, copyrights, rights to data, etc.)
  • Contains budgeted Facilities & Administrative (indirect) costs
  • Involves protocol or compliance requirements and oversight
  • Contains intellectual property terms
  • May result in publication
  • Contains audit provisions
  • Requires a specific performance period or completion date


Types of Sponsored Agreements include:

Grant: A grant is an award of financial assistance for research, instruction, or other sponsored activity. Sponsors award grants on a competitive basis to recipients responding to a sponsor's program announcement. A grant award instrument is used when the principal objective is to accomplish a public purpose.  Grants are cost-reimbursement, which means the sponsor agrees to reimburse the University up to an agreed upon maximum. The scope of work and expected outcomes are less defined than a contract. Examples include:

  • Research Grants from federal agencies such as the NSF, NIH, or NASA
  • Sub-Federal Grant from another institution. Such as NSF providing funding to UCLA who in turn sends UArizona a Sub-Grant.
  • Public Service Grant
  • Instruction/Training Grants from the NIH or American Heart Association 

Cooperative Agreement: A cooperative agreement is similar to a grant in that the principal purpose of the transaction is to accomplish a public purpose. A cooperative agreement includes substantial involvement and collaboration between the sponsor and the University when carrying out the activity contemplated in the agreement. Examples include:

  • NIH Cooperative Agreement
  • USDA Cooperative Agreement

Contract: A contract is an award for a prescribed project with a designated period of time. It is for a specific amount with defined deliverables. There are two types of contracts: Cost-Reimbursement and Fixed Price.

  • With a cost-reimbursement contract, the sponsor agrees to reimburse the University for actual costs incurred. Financial reports are typically provided to the sponsor to obtain payment and close the contract. Unspent award funds cannot be retained by the University. They are refunded to the sponsor. 
  • With a fixed-price contract, the sponsor commits the University to a fixed sum to complete a specific scope of work, regardless of actual cost incurred. Financial reports are not provided to the sponsor since the contract value is a negotiated fixed fee. Refunds are not applicable since the fee is fixed. More on Fixed Price Closeout. 

Contracts require negotiation between the University and the sponsor and always require the signature of an officially designated University signatory. Please note the Principal Investigator and Department Business Officers may not sign contracts. RII Contracting or UAHS Contracting Services  conducts the negotiation on behalf of the University, often in consultation with other university departments, such as Tech Launch Arizona, Office of the General Counsel, and Risk Management

Examples of contracts include:

Clinical Trial Agreements (Sponsored Projects)

A Clinical Trial Agreement is a fixed price contract agreement that allows the University to administer a drug or device at no cost to the University, in order to follow a protocol provided by a sponsor. The sponsor can be either a for-profit entity, such as a pharmaceutical company, or a non-profit entity, such as the government. The University principal investigator records data from these studies, which is then provided to the sponsor. UAHS Contracting is the signature authority for these agreements where a UAHS unit is the study lead.

Occasionally, Clinical Trial agreements will not be fully executed but a sponsor is willing to fund start up costs. The Clinical Trial Abandoned Study Form can be prepared to request a sponsored account be established to receive the startup cost revenue. 

Prizes (Sponsored Projects)

Prizes are awarded as a result of a competition. Prizes require a proposal and will be placed in a sponsored projects financial account for management.

Contact Sponsored Projects Services (SPS) as soon as you plan to apply for a competition. SPS can assist with interpreting eligibility requirements, terms and conditions, and other issues that may impact receiving funds if the prize is awarded.

Prizes may be for research, instruction, or other sponsored activities. Prizes are not charitable contributions, so they cannot be considered gifts. Prizes are not payment for services, so they cannot be deposited in designated accounts.

Funded Non-Sponsored Projects

Professional Sales and Service Agreements 

Professional Sales and Service Agreements are for routine, regularly performed standardized work without significant interpretative analysis or creation of new knowledge. These may may be accepted under Sales and Service Agreements and deposited in a non sponsored account if payment is for standardized work provided by an established service center with published rates for services.

A product or service is considered "professional sales and service" if:

  • The product or service is associated with a core University mission
  • It is offered to multiple external clients on a recurring basis 
  • The product or service is a by-product of the operation of a sponsored or instructional program
  • Payment basis is per unit or per service
  • Satisfactory facilities for product or service do not exist elsewhere (single source)
  • It is non-competing/must not charge less than total cost.

Examples of Professional Sales and Service Agreements include: 

  • Sales and Service Agreement
  • Purchase Order
  • Auxiliary Enterprise Revenue
  • Service Centers
  • Recharge Centers

When working with outside entities, it is often expedient to provide a copy of a standard University of Arizona services agreement to avoid agreements that contain terms and conditions that the University cannot accept. Contact Contracting Services for assistance with these agreements.


Gifts are a voluntary transfer of items of value from a person or organization where no material amount of goods or services are expected. A gift will generally be motivated by charitable intent and is irrevocable. Gifts do not come with the expectation of deliverables, detailed financial reporting, and refund of unspent costs. Language indicating that may indicate a sponsored agreement is necessary. 

  • Gift of funds given with a charitable intent
  • Non-Named Fellowships or Scholarships
  • Donor-issued agreements

For more information on gifts, see the University of Arizona Financial Services Manual, Section 8.12, Gifts and the University of Arizona Foundation website.

Unfunded Agreements 

Affiliation Agreements

Affiliation agreements occur between the University and another entity or entities to accomplish a joint mission such as instruction or research training. Types of affiliation agreements include:

  • Clinical Training Affiliation Agreements
  • Organization Affiliation Agreements
  • Site Preceptor Agreements
  • International Memoranda of Agreement

Materials Transfer Agreement (MTA)/Biological Materials Transfer Agreement (BMTA)

A Material Transfer Agreement is a contract that governs the transfer of tangible research materials between two organizations. They specify the rights, obligations and restrictions of both the providing party and the receiving party with respect to issues such as ownership, publication, intellectual property and permitted use and liability. Three types of MTAs are most common at academic institutions: transfer between academic or research institutions, transfer from academia to industry, and transfer from industry to academia.  Each calls for different terms and conditions. At the University of Arizona, Contracting Services reviews and approves these agreements.

Confidentiality Agreement/Non-Disclosure Agreement

Confidentiality Agreements, Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs), Proprietary Information Agreements (PIAs) and Confidentiality Disclosure Agreement(s) are written agreements whereby the recipient of information agrees to keep confidential specifically identified information given by the provider for a specific period of time. Confidentiality agreements must indicate that confidential information be reduced to writing and marked as "Confidential." The agreement must specify a time limit, usually three years.  Contracting Services negotiates, reviews, and signs confidentiality agreements.

Collaboration Agreements

Collaboration agreements involving investigators employed by more than one organization may develop informally at the beginning stage of proposal preparation, or they may be formally required by a funding agency as part of a proposal. If the collaboration is with an employee of a commercial company, a collaboration agreement must be formalized with the University and intellectual property rights addressed. Collaboration agreements with a commercial company must be reviewed by Contracting Services. If the collaboration is between a University of Arizona investigator and a non-University of Arizona, non-company investigator, a letter of intent is considered a best practice. The letter of intent should include a statement agreeing to collaborate, the identification of the scientists responsible for the respective activities, and a sentence or two describing what each collaborator will contribute. This letter need be between the investigators only, unless the sponsor requires University signature, in which case Contracting Services must be involved.

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