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Distinguishing Gifts, Research Grants And Research Contracts

Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.

It may seem like good advice, but when it comes to university research, it is wise to double check that your gift horse isn't a contract horse. To that end MILO offers these guidelines distinguishing gifts, research grants and research contracts. As well, it should be noted that, at McMaster, research contracts are administered by MILO, while research grants are administered by the Health Research Services (Faculty of Health Sciences) or the The Research Office for Administration, Development and Support - ROADS (all other faculties).

A Gift

A gift or donation is a transfer of property (cash or in-kind) made without expectation of return and which does not carry obligations as to the transfer of results. Its beneficiary is an institution (university or hospital) or one of its units (faculty, department, etc.) which usually initiates the program or project supported by the gift.

Research Grants

A research grant is financial support for an individual, or individuals, or a group or a research centre or institute conducting research in a particular subject area or field, without any formal detailed stipulations as to the direction of such research.

The research funded by a grant can be initiated by the individual or individuals, group, research centre, or institute conducting it or by the grantor.

The following characteristics are normally also present:

  • no direct or indirect remuneration to the principal investigator or co-investigators
  • objectives are defined in a general fashion
  • no limitations or restrictions on publication
  • no specific transfer of results to the grantor; however, a final report stating the results of the search is usually submitted to the grantor
  • payment to the university is generally made in advance of expenditures
  • considerable student involvement
  • focus on basic knowledge
  • up front payment schedule with report at end

Research Contracts

A research contract is an agreement between legal entities, to provide financial support for an investigator or investigators to conduct research in a particular subject area or field under specific stipulations and conditions.

The research funded by a contract can be initiated by the individual or individuals, group, research centre, or institute conducting it or by the contracting organization.

Some of the following characteristics are normally also present:

  • scope and nature of research is specifically outlined
  • set time period for activity
  • deliverables defined
  • intellectual property terms
  • provides for confidentiality of information supplied and created
  • prior review of material for publication to check for confidentiality or patent issues
  • little or no student involvement
  • focus on applied knowledge
  • budget approvals and payment schedules
  • acceptance and termination clauses
  • faculty supervision payments
  • other conditions

Which Research Office?

 

The Health Research Services (Faculty of Health Sciences) and the The Research Office for Administration, Development and Support - ROADS (all other faculties) administer grants

  • Non-industry grant applications and agreements 
  • CFI, ORF-RE, ORF-RI, ERA applications and agreements including any associated industrial grants and agreements
  • Networks applications only (agreements are endorsed by McMaster Industry Liaison Office)

MILO administers research contracts

  • Contracts
  • Industrial grants and agreements (other than those associated with CFI, ORF-RE, ORF-RI and ERA)
  • Networks agreements only (applications are endorsed by HRS/ROADS)