External Transfer is the transfer of equipment ownership to another non-profit research institution.  This usually occurs when a Principal Investigator leaves the University of Washington to take a positon at a new non-profit University.  This process can be very time consuming: all equipment with a value of $5,000 and above needs to be reviewed by the Equipment Inventory Office.  We need to ensure that all items are eligible to be transferred; this depends on many different criteria.  Items that were purchased with state funds can only be sold to the new University or non-profit organization; it may take time to get fair market value.

It is best to start the external transfer out as far in advance as possible to ensure a smooth transition for the transferring principal investigator, the University of Washington, and the new University or non-profit organization. 

The following steps will help in achieving this goal:

  • Contacting the Equipment inventory office as far ahead of the external transfer as possible.
  • Providing a complete listing of all equipment with a cost of 5,000.00 and above for a review to our office.
  • A contact at the new university or non-profit organization who can accept the equipment transfer other than the Principal Investigator that is transferring. This should include both Name, Address and email address.
  • Alerting us to any special circumstance surrounding the external transfer.


Equipment Inventory Office (EIO) reviews the funding sources and verifies the title. EIO may direct the department to contact sponsors for approval if the award is not being relinquished and moved to the new institution.

If Open Award Funds, department requests written verification (email is sufficient) from the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) & Grant and Contract Accounting (GCA) that the open award will leave the UW and sends to EIO upon receipt.

If the award is:

  • Leaving, EIO receives written verification and approves the item(s) to leave the UW. 

    Note: After EIO approves, the department cannot deny the transfer.  However, the researcher can choose to leave the item(s) behind.

  • Not leaving, EIO notifies the department that the item(s) cannot leave the UW.

If Closed Award Funds, EIO verifies the item(s) will be used to continue research and approves item(s) to leave the UW. 

Note: Special language will be included in the paperwork to notify the recipient that 1)  the Federal Government could come back for the item(s) at some point in time and 2) the sponsoring agency is also being notified of the transaction.

Note: After EIO approves,  the department can deny the transfer if they have use for the equipment somewhere within the department.

If State Funds, EIO notifies the department that the item(s) cannot leave the University for free.

Note: If EIO denies the item(s) for free transfer, the department cannot later approve.

If no need for the equipment somewhere else in the department, the department can choose to:

  • Sell or give the item(s) internally to another UW department.
  • Send the item(s) to Surplus Property for regular surplus disposal. 

    Note: The departing researcher still has the option to purchase the item(s) through Surplus Property.  Surplus can work directly with the purchaser (new institution). 

    Note: Unless being purchased to continue the same research, computing equipment will wiped prior to sale.

If Federal or Agency Titled, department requests written sponsor approval (email is sufficient) from the sponsor (specific to the award and/or budget number) and sends to EIO upon receipt. (See this page for more information on disposal of Federal or Agency titled equipment.)

If sponsor:

  • Approves, EIO obtains written sponsor approval from the department and approves the item(s) to leave the UW. 

    Note: After EIO approves, the department cannot deny the transfer.  However, the researcher can choose to leave the item(s) behind.

  • Does not approve, EIO notifies the department that the item(s) cannot leave the UW.  When equipment is no longer needed, it should be returned to the Federal government or agency or the department can work with EIO to request disposition instructions.  Disposition instructions could relieve the University of further federal accountability by giving the title to the University (at which point it falls under state policies and procedures), request the University sell the equipment and return the proceeds to the agency (less $5000 or 10% of the proceeds, whichever is less, for selling and handling expenses), transfer the equipment usage to another award by the same sponsoring agency and leave title with the federal government.

Finalizing Transfer

At the end of the review process:

  • EIO sends necessary paperwork to department.  If item(s) are eligible for transfer, paperwork will include an Equipment Transfer Form.  This form is filled out by EIO, but needs signatures from the department.
  • Department:
    • Routes External Transfer Form for necessary signatures and returnes to EIO when complete. 

      Note: If possible, please return completed forms within 2 weeks of receipt.

    • Negotiates with the receiving institution about transporting the equipment.
    • Transports the equipment according to the agreement with the other institution.
    • Maintains copy of Transfer Paperwork (prepared by the Equipment Inventory Office ) for 3 years.
  • EIO:
    • Processes the completed form and removes the equipment from the department's inventory. 
    • Maintains copy of Transfer Paperwork for 6 years.


Equipment Transfer Request Form