External Relations

Corporate and Private Foundation Award Support

Whether an award will be administered as a gift or sponsored research project depends on the nature of the project and the terms and conditions of the award. This information is intended to offer guidelines for defining and identifying the organizations responsible for the acceptance of gifts and sponsored project funding to further USF's research and educational mission and operations. Please review the chart below and contact the appropriate department to help you.


Defining Major Types of External Support

This information is from USF's Guidelines for Gifts and Sponsored Research Funding. View the full document here. 

Developed through a cooperative effort involving the Division of Sponsored Research and the USF Foundation, these guidelines are intended to define and distinguish the two major types of external support for research conducted at USF, gifts accepted through the USF Foundation and sponsored project funding accepted through the Division of Sponsored Research. While closely related, for purposes of determining the appropriate entity of acceptance, the following definitions should be utilized to distinguish between gifts and sponsored project funding.

Gifts are made for a restricted or unrestricted use, as specified by the donor at the time of the gifting. Provided the funds are used in the way specified by the donor, the support is irrevocable and requires no deliverables or substantial benefits in return. Provided the funds are used in the way specified by the donor, the support is irrevocable and requires no deliverables or substantial benefits in return.

Sponsored Project Funding is also awarded for a restricted or unrestricted use, as specified by the sponsor at the time of awards. This type of funding, though, may carry a variety of contingencies, requiring detailed reporting to ensure the funds are spent as specified; scientific reporting to confirm adequate progress has been made; documentation to ensure compliance with federal guidelines for protecting human and animals subjects; environmental safety, and ethical standards; agreements for addressing intellectual property concerns; and/or other types of institutional monitoring and administrative oversight.

In both cases, gifts or sponsored research, the proposal may be written after receiving an RFP (Request for Proposals) from a corporation or foundation.  If the proposal would qualify under gift, faculty should work with their College Development officer to process accurately. If it is a research project, please contact the Sponsored Research office. Both the Office of Sponsored Research and USF Foundation are here to help with the application.

In some cases, it may be difficult to distinguish between a gift and sponsored project funding based on definitions alone. If the characteristics of the funding fall within both categories, the following factors should be taken into consideration for determining whether it is a gift or a grant. The presence of any single factor does not represent the condition of gift or grant. To determine if a transaction is a gift or a grant, all of these factors should be considered simultaneously. In cases where there is a question as to whether an activity for which external funding is sought constitutes a grant or a gift, please contact the College Development Officer or the Office of Sponsored Research.

Indicators of Gifts or Sponsored Project Funding for Research
Gifts Sponsored Research
Funding is not received from a governmental agency (with exception of State Matching Gift Program). Funding may be received from governmental agencies but also may be received from non-governmental sponsors.
The gift or grant is given for basic research studies or activities that are intended to give a direct benefit primarily to the general public or to that part of the public served by the grantee organization, rather than for benefits that accrue primarily to the granter. The gift or grant is for a specified statement of work, e.g., specified protocol, experiments, testing of hypotheses, particular line of inquiry or for a specified research project, specific instruction or other sponsored activities.
Few, if any, deliverables (other than reports as noted below, and use of funds as requested and awarded). Deliverables defined by agreement, e.g., reports, research results, intellectual property rights, equipment, etc., and funds may be withheld pending delivery.
No significant restrictions on publication rights. Permission to use logo may be required or agreement may be silent on attribution. The Organization may require something similar to "Research made possible by a grant from ... " language. The Sponsor places restrictions on the publication of data from studies supported by the grant including restriction of publication or requirement for prior review or approval by the granter.
Often require only general stewardship and communication as a courtesy to donor, e.g., progress reports, reports of expended funds and balance. May require detailed financial and other reports, e.g., scientific reports, invention reports, financial reports on sponsor-specific format.
No requirement for return of unexpended funds except in cases of funds not used for the intended purpose. Budgets and project period may lead to unexpended funds that must be returned if there is no approval to carry forward or extend project.
No requirement for approval of changes to proposed budgets unless a change of circumstances arises that may cause the University and/or the Foundation to revisit the purpose of the gift with the donor.

Certain changes may require prior written approval by sponsor:

  • Significant changes to budget
  • Changes to individual responsible for completing work
Donor relinquishes intellectual property and data rights to University. Donor may request progress reports as noted above. Sponsor may require access to, or ownership of, data or primary records.


Contact us

For awards that are gifts or philanthropic in nature, please contact Tracee Norris at norrist@usf.edu or by phone at 813-974-0363.

For awards related to sponsored research, please contact Grace Wang at wang1@usf.edu.