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Contract Routing

The information below is intended to provide guidance to departments on the Knoxville campus regarding where contracts should be routed.

If you have any questions, please contact


A contract is any agreement between the university and another party that creates an obligation, right, or liability. An agreement may be a binding contract even though one party provides something of value to the other party at no charge. The use of the word “contract” includes the original contract and its amendments.

A sponsored program is any externally-funded research or scholarly activity that has a defined scope of work and/or set of objectives, which provides a basis for sponsor expectations. The sponsored program will require some use of university resources and the sponsor will receive some benefit (the benefit may range from a single technical and/or financial report through extensive material benefits).

Contract Submission

Contracts may be submitted to either the Division of Research Administration or the Knoxville Contracts office. To determine which office should handle the review, consider the following question:

Will the agreement potentially result in a sponsored program (see definition above)?

  • Yes: Send to the Division of Research Administration.
  • No: Send to the Knoxville contract office.

Below are examples of types of contracts that should be sent to either DRA or the Knoxville Contracts Office. It is by no means an exhaustive list, so if you have questions please contact our office (

Division of Research Administration

Submit via email to

  • Sponsored Programs Contracts and Agreements
  • Grants
  • Material Transfer Agreements (MTA) for incoming material
    • Material Transfer Agreements for outgoing material should be sent to the UT Research Foundation at
  • Subawards (including subcontracts)
  • Joint Faculty Agreements (JFAs) not including dual services contracts with State of Tennessee or Tennessee Board of Regents institutions

Knoxville Contracts Office

Visit for instructions on submission

  • Contracts requiring the university to pay funds to another party (the only exception is sponsored programs subawards)
  • Software licensing agreements (including no-cost and payable software licenses)
  • Click through software terms and conditions
  • Contracts where UT is receiving money due to ad sales and rental of UT facilities to a third party.
  • Dual service agreements with the State of Tennessee or Tennessee Board of Regents

Other Types of Contracts

  • Memorandum of Understanding/Memorandum of Agreement
  • Confidentiality Agreements/Non-Disclosure Agreements
  • Affiliation Agreements: Contract between the university and a facility where university departments want to send university students for course-related and/or required off-campus fieldwork (internship or externship)

Contracts with Foreign Entities

All contracts with foreign entities are first routed to the Division of Research Administration or the Knoxville Contract Office, following the guidance above.

Intellectual Property

Contracts involving the sale, licensing, or other use of university-owned trademarks (e.g. Power T) should first be sent to the Knoxville Contract Office.

Sponsored programs contracts that contain intellectual property language are sent to DRA who will work with the UT Research Foundation as needed.

For more information, see Fiscal Policies FI0205, FI0230, FI0320, and FI0420.