Effective Date: Formalized January 1, 2008
A question that often arises from faculty and staff in academic departments is how to distinguish between gifts and sponsored projects. While making this distinction may at times require a legal or similar assessment, it is generally the case that a determination can readily be made based on a number of attributes that are specific to each of these sources of funds. This Policy sets forth the attributes that differentiate gifts from sponsored projects.
It should be noted that while this Policy is now being formally published in the Administrative Policy Library, the underlying provisions of the policy are not new, and have been effect for many years.
Reason(s) for the Policy
To assist faculty, staff and others in distinguishing between gifts and sponsored projects.
Primary Guidance to Which This Policy Responds
Responsible University Office & Officer
Associate Vice President, Research Administration
Who is Governed by This Policy
Principal Investigators and other Faculty members
Departmental Administrators and other departmental staff
Who Should Know This Policy
Exclusions & Special Situations
In carrying out its various missions, the University derives its revenues from a variety of sources, including tuition, gifts, clinical activities and grants and contracts. A question that arises regularly is how to differentiate a gift from a sponsored project.
In some cases, making this determination may require a legal assessment. In most cases, the distinction can be made by considering the attributes associated with each of these types of funding.
Sponsored projects include research, instruction and training, public service, fellowships, and other scholarly and creative activities conducted under the direction of Columbia faculty and staff, and funded by an outside source in accordance with award instruments containing one or more of the following provisions:
Gifts are voluntary, irrevocable, gratuitous transfers of money or other property to support Columbia programs or activities. Gifts can be unrestricted or restricted.
Generally, funds from private, nongovernmental sources are to be administered as gifts when the funding source neither expects nor requires consideration in return for the transfer of funds to Columbia.
If the proposal is for a sponsored project, it must be processed through Research Administration (or in certain cases, the Clinical Trials Office or Columbia Technology Ventures). Where assistance is required in making a determination as to whether a particular source of funds is a gift or a sponsored project, Research Administration or the office of University Development and Alumni Relations (UDAR) should be contacted.