Equipment Acquisitions - Determining Ownership

Ownership:

  • Tells who has the legal or rightful title to the property.
  • Allows the owner to make decisions regarding the property.  
  • Is especially important during the acquisition and disposition phases as well as the beginning and end of the lifecycle of an asset.
  • Is established based on the funding source and the grant or contract language.

There are three types of ownership:

  • Federal - Equipment purchased with funds provided by a federal grant and/or contract where the federal agency retains title to the property.
    • Equipment is purchased and/or furnished by the government for its intended research.
    • University is accountable to the federal agency for the item.
    • At the end of the research project, the University may be required to return the item or the federal agency may donate it to the University for continued research.
    • See the Post Award Fiscal Compliance page, 'Title to Equipment Purchased on Federal Awards' for more information.
  • Agency -  Equipment purchased with funds provided by private donors through a grant or contract where the private agency retains title to the property.
    • Equipment is purchased and/or furnished by the private agency for its intended research.
    • University is accountable to the private agency for the item.
    • At the end of the research project, the University may be required to return the item or the private agency  may donate it to the University for continued research.
  • State - Equipment purchased, gifted, or transferred-in on a state or gift budget is University titled, and falls under State property regulations along with any federal or private grant/contract where title is not retained by the agency at the time of acquisition.

Please note: Equipment purchased on grants does not belong to the Principle Investigator (unless specifically stated in the award). Ownership lies with the University or the funding agency.

See 'Title to Equipment Purchased on Federal Awards' for more detail.

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