If you have a question about whether the funding you will receive is a gift (donation) or a sponsored activity, the criteria below will help you distinguish between the two types of funding.

The University of Iowa (UI) and the UI Center for Advancement (UICA) work to create, extend, and steward relationships with organizations and individuals while optimizing support for the University. Support comes in various forms. The guidelines below define the types of external support and give the appropriate administrative procedures for accepting funds.

What is Sponsored Project or Activity?

Is Routing Required?

What is a Gift?

Contacts based on type of funding

A sponsored project or activity is an award or funds from a contract, grant, or cooperative agreement for use in furthering UI's research and educational mission or operations. The Ul Division of Sponsored Programs (DSP) handles funds supporting any program meeting the definition of a Sponsored Project/Activity, requiring compliance oversight, financial project accounting, scientific reporting, or other institutional responsibilities as described below.

Governmental External Support. A project or activity receiving either direct or indirect external support from any governmental entity shall be considered a sponsored project/activity.

Non-Governmental External Support. A project or activity receiving external support from a non-governmental entity shall be considered a sponsored project if the project is subject to any of the following conditions at the time the support is committed or paid:

1. The external funding will support a project or activity involving one or more of the following:

  • Human subjects or vertebrate animals
  • Radioactive materials
  • Recombinant DNA
  • Human body substances
  • Infectious/select agents or toxins
  • Third-party proprietary materials
  • Export controlled items or information


2. The University will be obligated to any of the following conditions related to the proposed external support:

  • Providing specific goods, services, or other deliverables
  • Providing research-related patient care services or the routine cost of care delivered as part of research studies
  • Developing, co-developing, testing, or assessing a sponsor’s product or services
  • Sharing performance milestones (e.g., progress reports)
  • Providing research results
  • Sharing data, samples, or materials
  • Providing intellectual property options or rights (e.g., licenses)
  • Requests for indemnification, insurance, or warranty terms
  • Sharing results for review or comment prior to publication
  • Compliance with cost/accounting standards or audit requirements
  • Expenditure restrictions
  • Funding is based on meeting performance requirements, project objectives, or outcomes 

Is Routing Required?

If the funding meets any of the defined criteria for a sponsored project or activity, then it must be routed through DSP. Routing instructions can be found here.

What is a Gift?

A gift is a contribution received for either restricted or unrestricted use. UICA seeks and receives gifts, and is acknowledged as UI's preferred channel for private contributions. Gifts commonly meet the following criteria:

  • The external support is irrevocable, provided the gift is used in accordance with any valid restrictions accepted by UICA.
  • No goods, services, deliverables, testing, data, materials, or intellectual property rights are offered or exchanged in consideration of receipt of the external support.
  • The gift stewardship may involve reporting to the donor regarding the use of the funding, taking the form of acknowledgement letters and more general annual reports, but does not require progress or expenditure reports.

Contacts based on type of funding

For gifts, contact the UI Center for Advancement.

For sponsored projects or activities, contact the Division of Sponsored Programs: 319-335-2123 or dsp@uiowa.edu.

For additional questions on this topic or for help determining whether the funding is for a gift or a sponsored activity, contact DSP: 319-335-2123 or dsp@uiowa.edu.