Sometimes UI researchers or departments are requested to perform work at a fixed fee for an external sponsor that may not be research but rather falls into the category of ‘fee for service’ work.  The information below should be used to carefully evaluate your statement of work for a potential project while also taking into consideration the source of the funding, compliance components or other UI and departmental requirements relating to the scope of work that may factor in whether or not the proposed work can be classified as fee for service or research.

The factors listed below are meant for fee for service work for incoming projects to the UI from an external sponsor, for more information on contracting with another entity or individual for outgoing projects and how that work may be considered fee for service, please review the documentation found here on determining the appropriate approach at the proposal stage of your project. 


Please note: University of Iowa facilities and administrative fees still apply to fee for service work, please see the ‘F&A Costs Overview webpage regarding the appropriate rate for your project and sponsor.  


A fee for service or vendor agreement is typically an agreement between two parties where one party provides a routine service for the other party. The following are characteristic indicators of a fee for service agreement:

  • The project does not involve the use of human subjects (i.e., does not require IRB approval)
  • The nature of the work is routine, service-oriented rather than traditional research
  • Work involves an application of established/known methods and techniques that are routinely performed
  • Work results in a product that meets predefined specifications
  • Work may involve particular expertise, equipment, instrumentation, and technical context, but does not involve the creation or testing of a theory
  • Work does not require and is not defined by adding to the body of knowledge in a discipline
  • Where work involves data generation, data is so specifically related to a sponsor’s product or process as to have little value to anyone other than the sponsor or the sponsor’s competitors
  • The work is performed for a fixed fee according to a published rate schedule routinely charged for the same or similar services to all potential customers
  • The prime objective of the work is a technical or immediately usable deliverable in a form that is ready to be applied and used for a particular purpose
  • The compound, product or method being tested was developed by a party other than a UI employee
  • The compound, product or method being tested is owned by a party other than the UI or a UI employee
  • If owned by the UI or a UI employee, the compound, product or method being tested is generally available to the public
  • No UI employee is expected to be an author on a publication or shall contribute to a publication for the overall project.
  • No UI intellectual property or new knowledge is likely as a result of the work
  • The project does not involve federal funding, or if it does involve federal funding the UI is clearly identified as a contractor or vendor
  • No known conflicts exist regarding the use of other funds, materials, protocols, or other background UI intellectual property in performing the work
  • No UI student is participating in the work as part of his/her thesis or dissertation research
  • No UI matching or cost sharing is involved


Still have questions on whether your project should be classified as fee for service work or need assistance determining the appropriate facilities and administrative fee to include?  Contact DSP.