Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible for a billing agreement to be issued from a non-sponsored source of funds, such as a gift account (a “non-sponsored billing agreement”)? If so, who is the appropriate contact?

It is possible for a billing agreement to be issued from a non-sponsored source of funds under similar circumstances as sponsored billing agreements but with variations in the process based on the specific circumstances.  Contact the SPA SRA assigned to your department for more information on non-sponsored billing agreements.

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Does the inclusion (or exclusion) of overhead factor into determining whether these funds represent a gift or a sponsored award?

Whether external funds allow for or prohibit overhead does not affect the determination of whether those funds represent a gift or a sponsored award. All sponsored awards that prohibit overhead (and all gifts whose terms prohibit payment of the gift assessment) must meet the approval of the cognizant School before the University can accept them.

Moreover, the classification of funds as gifts or sponsored awards is dependent on the terms and conditions accompanying the funding. The amount of overhead or the amount to be set aside for gift assessment does not have any bearing on...

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How can a sponsor of research be thought to receive a benefit from a sponsored award it provides? What is a “benefit received” by the funder?

In most cases, a gift, although related to the personal interests of a donor (for example, an interest in an area of scientific research or of humanities education), does not directly benefit the donor, except insofar as it promotes the donor’s personal philanthropic interests. There is, in general, a more attenuated relationship between a donor and Harvard’s use of a gift, than between a sponsor and Harvard’s discharge of its duties under a sponsored award. A sponsor’s interest is fundamentally tied to the purpose and goals of a sponsored award, and a sponsored award is typically intended to... Read more about How can a sponsor of research be thought to receive a benefit from a sponsored award it provides? What is a “benefit received” by the funder?

How can it be a gift if reporting is required?

Reporting is an important aspect of all award types. Donors are entitled to know that their donation was spent for the intended purpose. The more detailed the reporting is, both in terms of specificity and frequency, the more likely the award is not a gift, and is instead a sponsored award. However, it is important to remember that reporting requirements alone are not determinative of the classification of external funds as a gift or sponsored award.

How do I apply for an export license?

If it is determined that your activity requires an export license, yourExport Control Administrator will work with you to submit a license request to the appropriate regulatory body on your behalf. It is important to note that obtaining an export license from the Commerce Department usually takes 30 days; a license from the State Department can take several months; and a license from the Treasury Department can take 3-6 months.  Although there is no guarantee that a license will be granted, all three regulatory licenses have granted licenses... Read more about How do I apply for an export license?
See also: Export Controls