Research Topic

Types of Agreements


Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA) negotiates a variety of agreements related to externally sponsored activities taking place at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

These agreements can range from a simple grant to a more complex contract with restrictive terms and conditions, as well as many non-funded agreements related to other research-related activities. Sponsors can also range from federal or state agencies to foundations, private industry or international entities.

Below is a list of the most common agreements executed at SPA. However, due to the many unique collaborations of university personnel, there are many hybrid types of agreements that may have a combination of terms. 

Types of Agreements

 Funded Agreements

 Sponsored Research (SRA)

An agreement with another entity that provides funding for a research project being conducted under the direction of a university Principal Investigator

 Federal Funds: Grants, Cooperative Agreements and Contracts

Grant – A mechanism to provide funds to support a public purpose; the Principal Investigator develops the statement of work; it usually includes annual reporting requirements and there is no involvement of the Federal Agency

Cooperative Agreements – A mechanism to provide funds to support a public purpose, with substantial involvement of the Federal Agency

Contract – A procurement mechanism to purchase specific goods and services. The scope of work is usually defined by the Federal Agency; the payment is based on deliverables and milestones; usually there are frequent reporting requirements to monitor the work; subject to the FAR clauses (Federal Acquisition Regulation)

 Non-funded Agreements

 Non-disclosure (NDA or CDA)

Agreement used to protect the disclosure of information that a party deems confidential or proprietary. The disclosure can be unilateral (only one of the parties disclose the information to the other) or reciprocal (the agreement protects the disclosure of information by both parties)

 Material Transfer (MTA) *for incoming materials

Agreement that governs the transfer of tangible materials (e.g. biological materials, chemicals, seeds) between a provider and a recipient

 Data Use (DUA)

Agreement used to exchange datasets considered proprietary by a party and how any data from the dataset may be used

 Software License

Agreement used to define the terms and conditions for the use of proprietary software being provided to the university

 Visiting Scientist

Agreement used when university faculty are hosting a visitor from another institution or company to perform research in a university facility

 Master Agreements

Agreement that establishes the general terms and conditions that will govern future transactions or future agreements. Master Agreements can be campus wide, department specific or Principal Investigator specific

 Allocation of Rights / Intellectual Property Agreements

Agreement used when the university is participating in a sponsored project with another entity that establishes the allocation of intellectual property rights between the parties. This agreement is usually done at proposal stage or prior to receiving an award

 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

Non-binding agreement outlining the terms and details of an understanding between two or more parties. It does not need to have legally enforceable promises

 Funds Out


Agreement issued by the university to a collaborating entity (subrecipient). These subrecipients will perform a portion of the research required under a prime award to the university


Agreement issued by the university to another entity that is performing research related activities, but the funds are coming from departmental funds, gift funds, or a direct appropriation and are not managed by SPA


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