600.00 Award Acceptance

600.00 Types of Awards

An award is most broadly defined as financial support for a specific research project, training program, equipment purchase or other activity. Federal agencies, and many private research sponsors, categorize awards in the four basic types described below.  The categories determine how the funds are allocated and controlled.  Each type of award carries with it a set of regulations and responsibilities to which PIs must adhere.  Post-award responsibilities are discussed in Section 700.00.


611.00 Grants are transfers of funds to support specific projects in which the sponsor has an interest but does not play an active role.  A grant is given without expectation of delivery of a specific product or service other than a final written report. Grants are written documents with general terms and conditions that usually stipulate a project period and minimal reporting requirements.  They normally fund basic research, fellowships, and training. 

612.00 Contracts are entered into to provide support for a specific, often narrowly focused, set of tasks for the direct benefit of the sponsor.  Contracts are written documents enforceable by law, typically with terms spelled out in greater detail than in a grant.  The University is generally given less latitude to modify aspects of the scope of work and the budget. Contracts normally fund applied research and service by the University.

613.00Subcontracts or subgrants are contracts or grants issued under a larger agreement where a portion of the scope of work is delegated to another organization. Subcontracts are typically subject to the terms and conditions of the prime award.

614.00 Cooperative Agreements create a collaborative relationship between MSU and the sponsoring agency, which is often substantially involved with the project. The University does not have much latitude to modify the scope of work and the reporting requirements are usually fairly strict. Cooperative agreements are normally awarded in support of basic research.

615.00 Testing Agreements are agreements to use MSU laboratories, equipment, and expertise to perform fee-based testing requested by a third party, using testing protocols specified by the third party, and performed primarily for the benefit of the third party.  Testing Agreements are not sponsored research and MSU has adopted a policy for when these agreements are appropriate as well as a form for the agreement.  Contact the TTO Office for assistance

620.00 Receipt of Award.  The Vice President for Research, Creativity and Technology Transfer, or his designee, has authority to accept an award for MSU.  MSU requires that all sponsored awards be processed by OSP; all award documentation must be sent to OSP to be reviewed and accepted on behalf of the University and any documents that are sent to the PI should be forwarded to OSP immediately upon receipt.

630.00 Negotiation/Acceptance.  OSP reviews all terms and conditions of an award and assures Legal Counsel and Technology Transfer review before acceptance to ensure that the sponsor's requirements are compatible with law and MSU’s policies and procedures.  Since a sponsored award binds both the sponsor and MSU to certain commitments, it is important that the terms are clearly understood and that all concerns are resolved before the award is accepted for the University.  

OSP has primary responsibility for and takes the lead in negotiating terms between MSU and the sponsor.  PIs are not expected or encouraged to negotiate with external sponsors, although they may be asked to participate in discussions with the agency concerning programmatic issues.  If a PI is contacted directly by a sponsor regarding the terms of an award under discussion, the sponsor should be referred to OSP.

640.00 Signature Authority.  Many awards require the signature of an authorized institutional official to formally accept the terms and conditions of the award.  OSP is responsible for obtaining the appropriate institutional signature.

Investigators are cautioned not to sign University agreements for sponsored support, patents or copyright licenses, biomaterials, equipment loans, confidential disclosure agreements, or materials transfer.  These agreements bind the University to certain obligations and, as such, can be signed only by those who have delegated signature authority. [Delegation of Authority Policy].

650.00 Account Set-up.  Once an award has been accepted for the University, a fund number is established to allow expenditures to be incurred.  An index/fund number is assigned by the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP).  This signifies that the fund is housed within the OSP area and is subject to restricted use. Once notified of the index/fund number, you may charge allowable project expenses against the account in accordance with the project start date, end date and the approved budget.

660.00 Pre-Award/Late Award Account Set-up.  Under certain conditions, a PI may request an account prior to the actual receipt of the award.  See Section 744.00 and MSU’s Cost Transfer Policy.