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Western Kentucky University

Sponsored Programs - Contracts & Agreements


Is it a Sponsored Project, Fee for Service, or Research Agreement?

In certain cases, it may be difficult to determine when external funds received by WKU should be administered as a sponsored project, a fee for service activity, or a contract, without a review of WKU policies and procedures. In these cases, the intended use of the funds, the source of the project specifications, the nature of the proposed work, and the need/requirement for a legal binding agreement are all critical components in determining whether they should be managed as sponsored projects, fees for service, or gifts.Unresolved issues and any questions should be referred to the WKU Director of Office of Sponsored Programs (270-745-4652).


Sponsored Project

Generally, whenever WKU agrees (orally or in writing) to provide any goods or services using university facilities or the official time and services of WKU faculty and/or staff, the funds received are to be treated as sponsored project awards to WKU. Sponsored projects occur when WKU or an employee of WKU submits a bid, offer, proposal, or responds (orally or in writing) to a request, announcement, call for proposals, that results in the issuance of an award involving WKU and another party. These awards could be in the form of grants, contracts, cooperative agreements, or a variety of other agreement formats. All proposals for external sponsored project support, regardless of funding source, must be processed through OSP.

To learn more about sponsored projects, please email or read more about Pre-Award activities.


Fee For Service

Prior to the sale of any product or service, the responsible unit must establish a schedule of charges that includes applicable facilities and administrative costs (when products or services are offered to external users). All fees collected are to be deposited in a restricted fees fund and shall be used solely for the specific purpose or purposes for which collected. The presence of the following factors generally distinguishes the resulting activity from a sponsored project and classifies the activity as a fee for service.

  1. The activity does not require the execution of a grant, contract, agreement, Memorandum of Agreement or Understanding, term sheet, or other such legal instrument that binds the parties to terms stated therein.
  2. The approved activity involves the standard routine analysis, evaluation, classification, diagnostic, or interpretation of a client's data, samples, mechanisms, procedures, or products, as detailed and approved in the schedule of charges and no applied or basic research by the University will be involved in the preparation of or in the conduct of the proposed activity.

Fee for service activities, including the establishment of a budget, should be coordinated with WKU Office of Sponsored Programs.  For questions or assistance related to Fee for Service Agreements, please contact Office of Sponsored Programs at (270) 745-4652 or by email to

Fee for Service Agreement Template (Please contact the Office of Sponsored Programs for assistance to revise this form.)
Fee for Service Budget Template


Research Agreements

A Research Agreement is a contract between WKU and a non-federal sponsor for the purposes of funding and conducting research at WKU.  A Research Agreement may be supported by funding from for-profit (e.g. private industry) or non-profit (state or federal government, foundations, etc) sponsors

Research Agreement Template


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 Last Modified 8/28/15