See Contracts, Gifts and Grants from the Vice Chancellor for Research Office for additional guidance.

UC Berkeley Notice

Date: April 27, 2022

Sender: Office of the Vice Chancellor, Research
To: Faculty; Staff
Subject: New UC Policy on Classification of Gifts and Sponsored Awards

Dear Colleagues,

The UC Office of the President recently released a new Classification of Gifts and Sponsored Awards Policy.

The policy became effective March 10, 2022 after several rounds of comments and proposed changes received from across the system. Thank you to all of our UC Berkeley colleagues who provided feedback. Though key concepts remain the same, the proposed policy provides greater clarity for properly classifying private support in contemporary circumstances. Both the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and University Development and Alumni Relations were involved in the development of the proposed policy.

In some cases, the distinction between a gift and a sponsored award (grant or contract) is ambiguous and requires consideration of many factors. No single indicator, by itself, distinguishes a gift from a sponsored project (“grant” or “award”). The new policy provides the following guidance:

  • Support must always be classified as a Sponsored Award when the following characteristics (Determinative Indicators) exist:
    • Support is from the United States federal government;
    • Testing or evaluating of proprietary materials (including software) provided by, or on behalf of the Funder, is involved; or
    • University intellectual property rights are given to the Funder.

  • In the absence of a Determinative Indicator, the classification is based on a review and analysis of the General Indicators.
    • General Indicators for Sponsored Awards - In general, Sponsored Awards may have the following characteristics:
      • The funded activity is directed to satisfying specific Funder requirements (e.g., terms and conditions originating from the Funder).
      • The Funder requires specific reporting, such as a detailed technical report of research results or a line-item report of expenditures.
    • General Indicators for Gifts - In general, Gifts may have the following characteristics:
      • Support is motivated by charitable intent.
      • The Funder provides support to the University without expectation of direct economic or other substantial return benefit.
      • Support is for an endowment or a capital project.
      • Support is awarded irrevocably. While the area of work to be supported may be specified by the Funder, the University retains control of usage of the funds.

The accurate classification of funding is important to develop positive relationships with external funders, avoid delays, and violate policies and regulations.  At UC Berkeley, University Development and Alumni Relations (UDAR), through its Fund Management team, and the Vice Chancellor for Research Office, through its Sponsored Projects Office (SPO) and Industry Alliances Office (IAO), collaborate to classify support based on the funder's intent and requirements and compliance with University policies and Federal and State mandated regulations. The final gift vs. grant vs. contract determination is made by UDAR, SPO and IAO. Additional background is available here. We strongly recommend getting in touch early in order to avoid misunderstandings and delays.

For more information about the new  UCOP policy, please contact the Director of Development Policy and Advancement Relations and/or the Executive Director for Research Policy Analysis & Coordination at UCOP.


Nancy Lubich McKinney
Associate Vice Chancellor, Advancement Operations
University Development and Alumni Relations

Kairi Williams
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research Administration & Compliance
Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research

source: 4/272022 CALmessages: New UC Policy on Classification of Gifts and Sponsored Awards