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Sponsored Project Administration on behalf of the University of Vermont is the only office authorized to accept grants, contracts, cooperative agreements, and other related agreements, made in support of research or other sponsored projects.

Below are the procedures for both money and non-money awards.


Sponsored Agreement (money)

Award Document

  • When a sponsor decides to fund a proposal, an Award Notice is delivered to Sponsored Project Administration.
  • This award document is called many different things, Grant, Contract, Cooperative Agreement, Purchase Order, Subaward, but no matter the award type, it represents a binding agreement upon acceptance.
  • Until the award document is received by SPA, reviewed and accepted, the project is not officially awarded and performance of the work should not begin until awarded.

Deliver Awards to SPA

  • To begin the review, negotiation and acceptance process, all awards, grants, contracts, agreements or otherwise must be received in SPA.
  • Award notifications can be received in various ways from our sponsors. Typically SPA receives the award notification directly from the sponsor; however, if the award is received by the PI or Unit Administrator, the award must be forwarded to spa@uvm.edu.
  • SPA logs all awards received and each award is assigned to an SPA Award Acceptance Specialist who will coordinate and complete the acceptance process.

InfoEd Proposal on File

  • Every award must have an approved InfoEd proposal on file that has completed the InfoEd review process. Completion of this process provides SPA, the department, and college level approval to move forward with the award acceptance process.
  • If a proposal is not on file, SPA will notify the PI and/or Unit Administrator and request a proposal be submitted to SPA using InfoEd. Your assigned SPA Research Administrator can assist you with this process.
  • The award acceptance process cannot begin until the proposal has been submitted and approved by SPA.

Award Review

  • Upon assignment, the SPA Award Acceptance Specialist will alert the PI and Unit Administrator of the award and request certain elements be confirmed (i.e.: statement of work, budget, the period of performance, reporting requirements).
  • For an example of the alert see SPA to notify PIs of Award Notification.
  • After obtaining PI approval, SPA begins negotiation with the sponsor.

Award Negotiation

  • SPA follows national organizations (NCURA, FDP, COGR, AUTM) recognized university standards when reviewing and accepting awards in support of sponsored projects.
  • Areas of negotiation typically include the following.
    • Publication rights
    • Arbitration
    • Intellectual Property
    • Termination Conditions
    • Data Ownership and Use
    • Reporting Requirements
    • Confidentiality
    • Billing Frequency
    • Warranty and Guarantee
    • Pricing Conditions
    • Indemnification
    • Governing Law
  • If any of the terms and conditions of an award are considered unacceptable as determined by the PI or SPA or would place UVM in a non-compliance situation with federal, state, sponsor or UVM rules or regulations, SPA will commence negotiations with the sponsor and inform PI and Unit Administrator.
  • SPA will engage other UVM offices on topics of concern and request support in the negotiation process.
  • SPA leadership is available at any time to assist in the acceptance process.

Industry Intellectual Property Terms

  • At the time of award, SPA will request UVM Innovations review Intellectual Property terms of industry-sponsored research agreements.
  • Within 2-business days from the SPA request, UVM Innovations will provide a reply indicating the IP language is 1) acceptable as written or 2) requires negotiation.
  • Where IP terms require negotiation, UVM Innovation will take the lead and work directly with the sponsor in coordination with the PI.
  • UVM Innovations will provide SPA with the final IP language.
  • SPA will incorporate and finalize the agreement.

Award Acceptance

  • Upon completion of a mutually acceptable agreement with the sponsor and with PI concurrence, SPA on behalf of UVM accepts the awards, collects needed signatures, and completes the InfoEd record.
  • To expedite acceptance, UVM accepts electronic signatures for awards contract/subcontract documents.
  • Funds are not released into PeopleSoft until all pending compliance concerns are completed, and green light is given to move forward from the respective compliance office (i.e.: IRB, IACUC, FCOI, Export Control).

Award Set-up and Budget Release

  • Detailed information is compiled and organized by SPA in a checklist to facilitate the release of the budget into UVM's financial system (Peoplesoft).
  • When the award set-up process is complete, funds are available for spending and salaries can be distributed to the project (chartstring).
  • SPA notifies the  Principal Investigators and Unit Administrator with system generated emails when the award set up process is complete.
  • There will be three types of notifications:
    • New Award
    • Advance Account
    • Award Modification
  • Each notification will provide relevant information and attachments. For example,  the New Award set up notification, will have hyperlinks to the Manage Award webpage for reference and include as attachments the approved budget and the sponsor’s award notice of award.

Cost Reimbursement vs. Fixed Price

  • UVM accepts both cost reimbursement and fixed-price awards to conduct sponsored projects related to research, extension, and public service.
  • Both types of awards are subject to UVM’s normal sponsored project proposal and budgeting practices, as well as our normal award acceptance process.

Cost Reimbursement Highlights

  • Cost-reimbursement is an award mechanism where the sponsor is providing an amount not to exceed that may be used to pay for allowable costs that support the performance of the project. UVM normally receives payment only after expenditures are made, and invoiced the sponsor, and found to be appropriate.
  • Cost Reimbursement projects require detailed budgets, and justifications are delivered to the sponsor at the time of proposal submission. Detailed budgets and justifications indicate the intended use of the funds as this detail helps define appropriate and allowable expenditures.
  • Performance of the work continues until the award’s period of performance expires, or funds are exhausted. Annul, and final technical reports are the expected deliverables.

Fixed Price Award Highlights

  • Fixed-price agreement, also known as firm-fixed price or fee-for-service contract, is an award mechanism where the contractor pays a fixed price for agreed-upon work, regardless of the ultimate cost to complete the work.
  • The level of financial risk for UVM is higher than that of a cost reimbursement awards as UVM thru the PI, Department, and College must complete all work, even where the cost will be greater than agreed. PIs working with their departments are responsible for cost overruns or over-expenditures resulting from inaccurately priced projects or non-payment by the sponsor.
  • The expectation is that fixed-price awards will have expenses that closely match the payment received.
  • Fixed price projects should have very well developed a statement of works with payments tied to milestones or specific deliverables, avoiding all payment tied to completion of the entire project.
  • Under fixed-price contracting, UVM may retain any unexpended balance after contract work is completed and following SPA’s Residual Balance Procedures.


To view, a pdf of the procedure see Award Acceptance Procedure (PDF).

Contact SPA

If you have any questions about the process, please contact any member of our Award Acceptance Team.


Non-Sponsored Agreement (no money)


  • Researchers often collaborate and share research tools with other scientists or institutions without receiving funding.
  • For many of these collaborations, a written agreement is beneficial or necessary.
  • These agreements set out expectations, terms, and requirements that protect the interests of the investigators and the participating organizations.
  • Examples, include CDAs, DUAs, and Teaming Agreements.


Examples of Non-Sponsored Agreements that will be reviewed, negotiated and approved by SPA include:

  • Business Associate Agreement
  • Collaboration Agreement
  • Confidentiality Agreement (CDA)
  • Data Security Plan Agreement
  • Data Transfer and Use Agreement
  • Data Use Agreement (DUA)
  • Equipment Use Agreement
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
  • Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)
  • Proprietary Information Agreement
  • Research Related Agreements
  • Right of Entry Permit
  • Software Use Agreement
  • Teaming Agreement


What to Do and What will Happen

  • Investigators, staff, administrators should submit to SPA at (spa@uvm.edu) all Non-Sponsored Agreements related to research. Include all relevant documentation, emails and any additional instructions needed to process the agreement.
  • Upon receipt, SPA staff will create an InfoEd record for the agreement, using a new proposal type called "Non-Sponsored Agreement."
  • The agreement will be assigned to an SPA Award Acceptance Specialist for review and completion, similar to a sponsored agreement.
  • For those Non-Sponsored Agreements that appear to engage our principal investigator in an organized project and appear to require a time commitment or other resources of the department, SPA will request the Department Chair or designee approval before completing the agreement.
  • The final version of the agreement will be archived and retrievable using InfoEd.

Working with LCOM

Data Sharing Agreements with LCOM (new effective 2/26/18)

  • Data sharing Agreements initiated by an LCOM researcher will be routed from SPA to the LCOM’s Office of the Senior Associate Dean for Research for a review.
  • LCOM review is conducted by the LCOM Medicine Technology Services Team who will work with the researcher to assure an appropriate data management plan is in place.
  • LCOM Senior Associate Dean for Research will indicate to SPA when the agreement is ready for final legal review and SPA signature.


Other Offices – Other Agreements

UVM Innovations

Examples of Agreements that should be directed to UVM Innovations - Office of Technology Commercialization include:

  • Confidentiality Agreements related to licensing or commercial development
  • Material Transfer Agreements - (outgoing and incoming)
  • Co-development Agreements with industrial partners
  • Licensing Agreements for rights to UVM patents an/or copyrights
  • Other Agreements related to Technology Commercialization.

Office of General Counsel

Examples of Agreements that should be directed to Office of General Counsel include:

  • Agreements with Auxiliaries and Service Centers
  • Non-Procurement Contracts
  • Other Contracts, as needed


Examples of agreements that should be sent to Purchasing Services include:


Updated 5/2/19