Gifts vs Grants


GENERAL DEFINITION: “Sponsored programs” refers to scholarly, professional, and creative activities that personnel conduct with support from external funding instruments such as grants, contracts, cooperative agreements, or other agreements.

SPECIFIC DEFINITIONS: A. In addition to the general definition above, any one of the following conditions is sufficient to define a sponsored program:

Conditions Concerning the Nature of the Agreement/Activity

  1. A formal proposal exists requiring the endorsement of an authorized official.
  2. Progress, technical, final reports, and/or other exchanges are required. The proposed activity binds the university to a specific delivery of work including service to a sponsor.
  3. The activity has a specified performance period or completion date.
  4. The agreement for the activity contains compliance terms and conditions.
  5. The agreement for the activity contains provisions for confidentiality.
  6. The testing/evaluating of proprietary products is involved.

Conditions Concerning Financial/Institutional Involvement

  1. Initial pricing, expenditures, financial reporting, and/or performance may be subject to external audit.
  2. Billing, separate accounting procedures, and/or report of expenditures are required.
  3. Reimbursement/payment is contingent on completion of specified exchanges.
  4. Unexpended funds must be returned to the sponsor at the end of the activity.
  5. Cost sharing/cash matching is involved in the performance of the activity.
  6. The activity includes budgeted indirect costs.
  7. The activity involves disposition of property, whether tangible or intangible, that may result from the activity (e.g., equipment, inventions, copyrights, or rights in data).

A sponsored program is NOT:

  1. A voluntary donation — i.e., the donation transmittal information does not include any of the conditions defining a sponsored program.
  2. A voluntary donation of funds given irrevocably.
  3. A voluntary donation of personal property (e.g., cash, securities, books, equipment) provided by a donor without expectation of tangible or economic (except tax) benefit.
  4. The transfer of property with no implied responsibility on the part of the university or the foundation to provide the donor a product, service, technical or scientific report, intellectual property rights, or any other exchanges.
  5. Donations of real estate.
  6. Funds received directly by a faculty member (e.g., summer fellowships or travel grants).
  7. A project conducted as an external professional activity for pay.
  8. Honoraria — funds given directly to a faculty member by agreement not requiring administrative endorsement.
  9. Testing and service agreements processed through re-charge centers having an established fee for service.
  10. Teaching and professional services provided by university personnel to the public at large on a fee-for-service basis which do not meet any conditions for a sponsored program.
  11. Non-technical services to external organizations (e.g., lodging and food service to groups on campus; meeting facilities; sporting events).
  12. Fellowships and/or scholarships without a service component or other restrictions.


Georgia Southern University Research and Service Foundation

The Georgia Southern University Research and Service Foundation, Inc.(GSURSF), is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization that fosters and promotes the research, service, and educational missions of Georgia Southern University. The Foundation functions as a cooperative organization to the University and is subject to and complies with all policies of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia regarding cooperative organizations. The Foundation obtains grants and contractual obligations from individuals, government and public agencies, industry sponsors and private organizations to support research, instruction, and service activities at Georgia Southern University.

The GSURSF is the applicant institution for all proposals for external funding and projects selected for funding are awarded in the name of the Foundation. Through a memorandum of understanding with the University, the GSURSF assigns the awards to the University for performance, providing the various academic and support units of the University with the financial means needed to carry out research projects and various external educational and service programs.

GSURSF also manages intellectual property and performs technology transfer functions for the University, taking assignment of inventions; obtaining patent, trademark, and copyright or other intellectual property protection; working with faculty to patent discoveries that have commercial and economic potential; and licensing inventions to the private sector in return for sharing royalty income with the faculty inventors to further the research mission of the University.
From time to time, GSURSF also funds competitive internal grants to support promising research projects and occasionally provides ad hoc support to enhance the name recognition and reputation of the University.

Last updated: 5/26/2017

Office of Research Services and Sponsored Programs • PO Box 8005 • Statesboro, GA 30460 • (912) 478-6545 •