Cherry Blossoms

Types of Support from Organizations


A gift is the voluntary contribution of external support to the University of Washington, without any expectation of economic or other tangible benefit in return beyond what any member of the general public would receive. The contributor of a gift is referred to as the "donor" and the donor's intent must be philanthropic or charitable. The primary beneficiary of a gift is the general public and not the donor.

Sponsored Projects (Grants and Contracts)

A sponsored project is a mutual exchange involving the University and an external organization. Sponsored projects are not a purchase or sale of goods or services, nor are they "work for hire" arrangements. Sponsors may provide funding, equipment or other tangible items (such as goods or services) for research, training, education programs, analytical services, or other rights or goods.

The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) uses the term "sponsored project" to refer to grants and contracts. All sponsored projects require completion of an eGC1 in order to process the proposal and subsequent award.

GIM 34 describes the criteria used to classify an award as a sponsored project. OSP offers a glossary of terms related to sponsored projects.

The Difference Between a Grant and a Contract

In general, sponsored projects for the benefit of the sponsor are classified by OSP as contracts. With few exceptions, clinical trials are classified as contracts. Awards made under a master agreement between the University and a company are always classified as contracts.

Some indications that an award is a contract include, but aren't limited to:

  • The sponsor retains intellectual property.
  • The sponsor requests specific deliverables for exclusive use by the sponsor.
  • The sponsor restricts publication.

Because they are not considered philanthropic, contracts are not included in unit totals in the monthly Report of Contributions (ROC).

Who Determines if Funding is Processed as a Gift, a Grant, or a Contract?

GIM 34 affects how an award is processed and whether it is considered a gift, grant, or contract. The distinction may not be black and white. OSP, central Donor Relations, and central Corporate and Foundation Relations review award agreements and submitted proposals to determine classification. In cases where an award is determined to be a sponsored project, but an eGC1 was not completed prior to submission, the eGC1 must be completed before funding can be accepted.

Learn More

GIM 34: Classification of External Support
GIM 13: Facilities and Administrative Rates (for sponsored projects)
The Office of Sponsored Programs Glossary


When engaging sponsors for events, please refer to the University of Washington Sponsorship Policy (Executive Order No. 15).


This page last updated 10/29/2020.