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Office of Sponsored Programs

Catalyst Award

Clemson University encourages faculty to develop collaborations with key stakeholders who have an interest in supporting a line of research. Stakeholders frequently wish to provide start-up or maintenance support to advance a line of inquiry, but require no set deliverables nor consider the funding as philanthropic support. The Catalyst Award Program (formerly Small Restricted Receipts) provides a mechanism to capture and grow these relationships.


The Division of Research reserves the right to determine if private funds ($20,000 or less, per transaction) received by an individual Principal Investigator designated to support an area of research should be categorized as a sponsored project or gift and managed accordingly, or if the funds meet the criteria for the Catalyst Award Program. When funds are received from a non-governmental entity or individual with no additional contractual documentation, the Principal Investigator must follow the instructions in the attached procedure. Funding from governmental sources will be reviewed for eligibility on a case-by-case basis to ensure that there are no flow-down terms and conditions from other jurisdictional entities. The following restrictions apply.


  • (a) The total value of each individual award may not exceed $20,000. Incrementally funded awards from the same funding source must not exceed $20,000 per fiscal year (July 1 – June 30).
  • (b) Funding that requires an official University agreement, intellectual property rights, or specified deliverables or outcomes, including official reports from Principal Investigator or University, are not eligible for consideration as Catalyst Awards and will be directed to the Office of Sponsored Programs for processing.
  • (c) Funding designated as “gifts” are not eligible as Catalyst Awards and will be directed to the Clemson University Foundation for processing.
  • (d) Purchase Orders will not be processed as Catalyst Awards.
  • (e) Funding must not be used to support a current sponsored project between the University and the Funder.
  • (f) Spending must be consistent with state procurement regulations.

Forms and Procedures

  1. Complete Catalyst Award Form on Division of Research website (see below) and send via email to the Business Affairs Office. Attach a copy of the check, deposit slip, the completed Catalyst Award Acknowledgement Form signed by the Funder and any additional related correspondence. The approved budget amendment will be returned to the college staff for the PI's Catalyst Award account. 
  2. The Division of Research Business Affairs Office will review the request. For existing project accounts, spending authority and budget line items will be adjusted accordingly for approved requests. A copy of the approved budget amendment will be returned to the Principal Investigator and college staff member assigned to process Catalyst Awards. Approval is contingent upon fulfillment of all required compliance protocol (human subjects, animal care and use, biosafety, conflict of interest, etc.) requirements.
  3. For new Catalyst Awards, the college/department must request a new project account number by submitting an email to Accounting Services (
  4. In the event that a Catalyst Award request is denied, the Business Affairs Office will notify the Principal Investigator and college staff member, with instructions on the appropriate processing of the funds.
  5. Questions about the Catalyst Award Program may be directed to the Division of Research Business Affairs Office at 864-656-2324.

Form Routing

The Catalyst Award From can be completed and routed through Adobe Acrobat.