Research Topic

Technical Testing Services Agreements (TTAs) and Facility Use Agreements (FUAs)



Technical testing is a specific service by which the University uses unique University equipment or facilities to test provided materials/items and deliver results without interpretation or analysis.

Examples of Technical Testing: Genomic DNA sequencing, biological sample testing, mass spectrometry

Facility Use Agreements set forth the terms under which the University will provide permission for a third party to use specific University facilities, equipment and resources for a research and development purposes.

Examples of Facility Use: Use of research lab, use of specialized equipment or computers or rental of facility for event purposes.

Sponsored projects consist of externally funded projects including research, teaching, training, and services that carry out a public purpose or provide a direct benefit to the Sponsor. These projects are based on the technical expertise of the principal investigator and will have a scope of work, specified objectives, timeframe, financial accountability, anticipated deliverables and disposition of intellectual property and publication.

Examples of Sponsored Projects: Research, seed field trials, studies involving animals or humans, software development, surveys, data analysis, outreach activities


Effective October 1, 2021, all Technical Testing Agreements (TTAs) and Facility Use Agreements (FUAs) will be considered fee-for-service agreements and will be accounted for as revenue-generating activities within self-supporting funds (not grant funds) in accordance with Section 22 of the Business and Financial Policies and Procedures. All contracts for new TTAs and FUAs will be managed by the Purchasing and Contract Management Office. The management of all accounting and billing activities will now be the responsibility of the unit/department providing the TTA and/or FUA services.

Active TTAs and FUAs executed prior to 10/1/2021 will be managed by Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA) through their scheduled agreement expiration date.

More Information

Distinguishing Between Technical Testing and Sponsored Service Activities

This table provides typical characteristics usually associated with technical testing and sponsored service activities and can be used as guidance to help determine the appropriate activity type.  For questions, contact SPA.

Attribute Technical Testing Activity Sponsored Service Activity
Fund Management Fee-for-Service activity and accounted for in self-supporting funds managed by the unit. Sponsored activity and accounted for in grant funds managed by SPA.

Costs to perform the work is standard. The budget consists mostly of published service center rate(s) or other standardized costs that could be converted to service center rate(s). The rate(s) are routinely charged for the same or similar tests to all potential customers. See Service Center Guidance and University Service Rate database for more detail. 


No University matching or cost share is involved.

Costs to perform the service is specific to work being performed and typically would not include service center rate(s), but rather an associated detailed budget outlining all direct and indirect expenses.  The indirect rate should reflect the Other Sponsored Activity rate.


No University matching or cost share is involved.
Type of Activity

Only established, pre-existing testing methods and techniques are used. The testing methods and techniques are routine and/or repetitive in nature, can be specified in advance by the University and can be duplicated for other customers.

Unique services which require a high level of expertise from a skilled specialist. Sponsored service activities typically do not involve any type of routine or duplicative services.

Results The testing results provided to the customer do not include any interpretation or analysis of the test results.

Sponsored Service results will vary based on the service provided and may include interpretation or analysis of the results via a report or providing generated data or a specified deliverable. Where work involves data analysis that is specifically related to a Sponsor’s product/material/process as to have little value to anyone other than the Sponsor.

Compliance Testing may have compliance requirements that need to follow University policies, but typically would not involve human subject or animal use that would require IRB and/or IACUC approval.

Sponsored service activities frequently have compliance requirements and protocols associated with them, since they may involve highly regulated areas such as testing on human subjects or animals.

Intellectual Property

Performance of the testing does not entail original, creative research or testing a theory and does not result in the creation of new intellectual property and typically does not result in improvements to existing methodologies or processes.

Sponsored service activities may result in improvements to existing university methodologies or processes, but typically do not result in the creation of new intellectual property by the institution with respect to items provided by sponsor.

Use of Confidential or Proprietary Information/Items

The item being tested was developed by a party other than the University and owned by a party other than the University.

Sponsors may wish to be more involved in directing performance of the services. Sponsor may provide protocols, materials, data technologies, etc. to the University in connection with the sponsored service activity.

Involvement of Students University students may participate in the testing as a learning experience, but not as part of his/her thesis or dissertation.  No publications result from the testing. Sponsored service activities may have students participating in the activity and their thesis may be tied in some way to the work, however those are generally secondary aspects. Publications would be in collaboration with the Sponsor.
Contracting Office For Technical Testing Agreements, work with Purchasing and Contracts Management office.  For Sponsored Service Agreements, work with Sponsored Programs Administration.

Note: These technical testing characteristics are further explained within Article II, Section 8 of the The General Rules Concerning University Organization and Procedure.


Information related to revenue generating activities can be found in OBFS Business and Financial Policies and Procedures, Section 22.1 Contracts for Revenue Generating Activities



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