The Office of Research Services (ORS) is responsible for reviewing, negotiating and accepting all sponsored project awards for the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois on behalf of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) including its Chicago, Peoria and Rockford campuses.  Awards are reviewed to ensure compliance with Federal and State laws, sponsor guidelines and the General Rules Concerning University Organization and Procedure.  The sponsored project award document is an official binding agreement that sets forth the rights and obligations of the parties and governs the conduct of the sponsored project.  A sponsored project award is the mechanism used by the sponsor to provide funding of a proposal andappear in many forms but are most commonly in the form of a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement.

Awards can be bilateral (both parties must sign – see negotiating contracts section) or unilateral (no University signature is required). Both types of awards undergo the award review process. Unilateral awards (primarily federal grants) generally contain standard terms and conditions that do not require negotiation; however, the Sponsor will sometimes include special restrictions or requirements that are specific to the project being awarded.

Cooperative Agreement

A federal award similar to a grant and subject to grant regulations , but in which the sponsor's staff may be actively involved in proposal preparation, and anticipates having substantial involvement in research and financial activities once the award has been made.


A written agreement with specific obligations for both the sponsor and recipient. Each contract document contains a statement of work or services to be performed (statement of work) and represents a legal obligation by the contractor. Since a contract is a purchase or procurement, there will always be a deliverable. Contracts received by the institution are more detailed than grants or cooperative agreements in the technical requirements and sometimes in the accountability for the use of funds.


A type of financial assistance awarded to an organization for the conduct of research or other program as specified in an approved proposal. A federal grant, as opposed to a federal cooperative agreement, is used whenever the awarding office anticipates no substantial programmatic involvement with the recipient during the performance of the activities. The PI of a research grant has significantly greater flexibility in making changes to the research plan than the PI of a research contract. As with any agreement, a grant has terms and conditions which must be followed.