Thursday, July 24, 2014

You Say Grant – I Say Contract: Who Is Right?

Actually it could be both of you! It’s all about the terminology!

Grants and contracts are very different types of federal awarding instruments and therefore the management of these awards is different as well. Here are some of their unique characteristics:


  • Awarded for the good of the public – this assistance oriented 
  • Subject to the terms and conditions of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circulars
  • The deliverable is scientific advancement and knowledge reflected in a technical/progress report
  • Somewhat flexible budgetary terms along with some delegated authorities to the recipient 
  • May have the ability to extend the award time if goals are not fully reached 
  •  Equipment ownership – normally resides with the institution 


  • Awarded for the good of the buyer – this is procurement and we are the seller of the service/good 
  • Subject to the terms of the Federal Acquisition Regulations (the FAR) 
  • The deliverable is specific such a piece of equipment or software, components or robots, etc.
  • Very rigid budgetary oversight 
  • No extension of additional time – any change requires formal modification of the agreement
  • Equipment ownership – may vest with the sponsor 

Both types of awarding instruments are accepted at UVa!