Fee for Service

The Fee-For-Service Team at the University of Pittsburgh is responsible for the review and processing of select fee-for-service agreements. Fee-for-service work is client-initiated and can be provided to external for-profit as well as not-for-profit clients for the benefit of the private and public sectors. Services, use of equipment or labs, products, and evaluation/assessment/training, are the major categories of fee-for-service work.

The University maintains a Financial Guideline that details the guiding principles and scope of this fee-for-service work. The table below outlines key differences between a traditional sponsored program and a fee-for-service agreement:

Fee-for-Service Agreement Traditional Sponsored Program Agreement 
Work (service) done by University in response to a scope of work initiated by the external client Funding provided by external funding agency (sponsor) to conduct investigator-initiated project typically in response to a funding announcement opportunity
Fixed price based on established cost model built on fair and reasonable pricing  Can be cost reimbursement or fixed price based on actual costs to perform project
University has no expectation to collaborate with external client or co-author any publications from service May involve substantive collaboration with co-investigators at different performance sites with expectations of co-authorship
Indirect costs (F&A) incorporated into prices provided to clients Indirect costs listed as separate budget line item
Uses University-approved contract template with no negotiation expected Typically uses the sponsor’s contract template and may involve substantial negotiation


Faculty who have been contacted by a potential client to do fee-for-service work should contact the Office of Sponsored Programs Fee-For-Service Team. The Senior Financial Specialist will review the potential arrangement and will assist with an appropriate pricing structure for the proposed work if the work is deemed to be fee-for-service. Once a contract is ready to be put in place with a finalized budget and scope of work (see example SOW template), the department should enter the details in PERIS™ MyFunding by following the Fee-For-Service Quick Guide.

For more information, see the list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).