Types of Sponsored Agreements


Grants constitute the majority of awards received by UMCP and are less restrictive than contracts or cooperative agreements. Sponsors often do not require the University to countersign grants because the terms and conditions are agreed upon by submitting an authorized signed proposal.  Federal grants are governed by the administrative terms and conditions found in the grants administration manuals or handbooks of the sponsoring agency, e.g. the NSF Grant Policy Manual or the NIH Grants Policy Statement.  These types of documents set forth the sponsor’s general terms and conditions of award and are derived from OMB Uniform Guidance. Refer to program announcements and award terms and conditions to determine award type.

The University is under no obligation to continue the proposed work once funds have been depleted.



Contracts are more restrictive. In general, contracts are signed by the sponsor and UMCP before they become binding and they may require defined deliverables, on specified schedules.

In general, UMCP receives two types of contracts as defined below:

  • Fixed-Price: Contracts are made at a set amount, regardless of the actual costs to complete the scope of work. UMCP is paid this set amount. If the Principal investigator (PI) completes the work for less, then UMCP retains the residual balance. If the costs to complete work exceed the set amount, then UMCP must do so at its own expense, and the PI's department or college is responsible for paying the difference. If a fixed-price contract is accepted, it is critical that the deliverables be based on reports of project progress, rather than in terms of anticipated results.
  • Cost Reimbursement: This type of contract specifically defines the maximum amount of funds authorized for the project. If actual project costs are less, UMCP will only be reimbursed its actual costs. If project costs exceed the proposed estimate, UMCP must report only on the costs incurred, not to exceed the amount authorized. However, UMCP may still be obligated to complete the proposed work. 

Cooperative Agreements

Cooperative Agreements are awarded when federal sponsors want to retain more active involvement in the conduct of the project. This active oversight may be evidenced by a high level of agency program officials advising on the direction of the project, more frequent reporting, or anticipated deliverables.


An award provided by UMCP to a subrecipient for the subrecipient to carry out part of a Federal award received by UMCP. It does not include payments to a contractor or payments to an individual that is a beneficiary of a federal program. A subaward/subagreement may be provided through any form of legal agreement including an agreement that UM.



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    Division of Research
    University of Maryland
    College Park, MD 20742-1541

    Email: vpr@.umd.edu


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