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Compliance protocols MUST be approved and linked in SeRA to a SPO project record prior to award acceptance. 

See ORA's Award Acceptance Resources for additional information.

4.2 Disposition and Outgoing Transfers

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Policy Contact

Scott O. Ray, CPPM
Assistant Director
Property Management Office

Disposition is the process by which property owned by or otherwise accountable to Stanford is permanently removed from active University records. When assets become excess to the needs of the University, or the sponsored project under which they were acquired, they must be declared excess and the disposition process initiated. Timeliness in beginning the disposition process is a key to maximizing return on investment while minimizing unnecessary costs associated with the retention and management of the asset. It also mitigates the risk of potential misuse, unauthorized disposition, or theft.

1. Key Policy Statements

  • Department personnel are responsible to inform the Department Property Administrator (DPA) when items are no longer needed or require disposal. The DPA is then responsible to generate an excess request in a timely manner, and ensure items are protected and secured while disposition is pending.
  • For items in operable condition, an attempt should be made to re-utilize within the University. See the Stanford University Reuse Website for details on reutilization for Stanford department use only.
  • Non-Stanford owned equipment requires Sponsor approval prior to disposal.
  • Prior to declaration of excess, departments are responsible for the removal of proprietary or sensitive data from all data-holding devices or equipment.
  • Excess items must be processed for disposal via the Property Management Office (PMO) procedures.
  • Sales must be processed through Surplus Property Sales (SPS).

2. Monitoring and Notification

All property must be appropriately monitored once the disposition process begins, whether or not it has been recorded in the property management database. Sponsor-owned or Sponsor-funded equipment may require special handling during its disposition cycle. Refer to Chapter 3.7 - Agreements Management.

Department personnel must inform their Department Property Administrator (DPA) when assets are no longer needed. The DPA is responsible for preparing the excess items for disposal and initiating the excess request.  PMO approves and coordinates the physical collection and final disposition of all excess property from Stanford departments.

3. Identifying Excess Equipment

Schools and departments are responsible for implementing established policies and procedures to ensure excess items are identified and disposition is initiated by the DPA in a timely manner. The department must ensure the safe keeping and protection of assets that are pending disposal and provide access for the collection of the excess items.

4. Disposal Process

A. Administrative Deactivation of Asset Records

If physical collection of the item for scrap or sale is not needed, contact your PPM to initiate retirement of the asset record. Refer to the section on disposal methods later in this chapter for additional details.

B. Physical Removal of Assets

For assets being physically disposed, the DPA must initiate an excess request.

The Surplus Property Sales (SPS) department collects the majority of excess equipment and materials at no charge to departments, usually within 10 business days of the request being generated. Large or heavy items or other circumstances may require additional labor assistance, in which case the department may be required to pay for these services. Contact SPS for guidance in such cases.

SPS will evaluate the condition and salability of the items and make a decision regarding the final disposition method (e.g. sale, recycle, or scrap).

Refer to the SPARC User Guides for additional information and instructions.

5. Stanford Bar-Coded Equipment

Property identified with Stanford University Identification barcode tags must be processed through the appropriate channels for disposition. This helps ensure accurate accountable records, financial reporting, physical inventory, and compliance with sponsor or other requirements.

To initiate the disposal process, a DPA must create an excess request. Prior to final disposition, recorded assets will undergo review by PMO to identify and evaluate any issues related to ownership or sponsor required actions. PMO will also ensure that recorded assets are properly retired from the system.

Certain characteristics of assets require additional review prior to disposal. Some of these attributes include:

  • Ownership (sponsor-owned, loans/leases, fellowship)
  • Computers and other equipment with proprietary data
  • Hazardous materials or conditions (electronics, refrigeration, contamination)
  • Vehicles
  • Offsite disposal

Additional details may be found in Chapter 4.4.

6. Outgoing Transfers

Equipment may need to be transferred to other institutions for a variety of reasons. Generally, it is associated with an outgoing faculty member (principal investigator) transferring to another university or nonprofit research institution. 


University funded equipment may be eligible for sale to another institution, with approval from both the Department Chair and appropriate representative of the Dean’s Office (See property manual section 4.3 Surplus Property Sales for additional information regarding selling equipment). 


Equipment funded by currently active sponsor awards, where the award is also being transferred to the new recipient institution are eligible for a no-cost transfer.  Equipment funded by university accounts, or equipment funded by closed awards are generally retained by the university and ineligible for transfer.

Equipment funded by closed sponsor awards is in most cases ineligible for sale, and the university’s default position is to retain our equipment infrastructure unless there is a compelling justification for transferring the equipment at no cost.  Every attempt should be made to find ongoing research on campus that can benefit from the equipment in question. 

Priority, in order, is to activities under the same federal funding agency in the original department or school, research activities under other federal agencies in that department/school, research under the same federal agency in other schools, research activities under other federal agencies in other schools, and finally non-sponsored university research across the campus at large.


In some cases, an active award is transferred and there is equipment partially funded by the award.  In these cases, the other funding sources may be active sponsor awards, closed sponsor awards, or university funds.  In all cases, the funding source losing the equipment must be made ‘whole’.  That is, fully reimbursed for the total portion of the acquisition cost in which the funds participated.  For active sponsor accounts and university funds, the same award or funding source should be credited.  For closed sponsor awards, the credit should be to a department account that supports research activities (not a general operating account).


All outgoing transfers require written approval from the Department Chair, the appropriate Dean’s Office representative or designee, and the Property Management Office (PMO). Once approvals are obtained, the PMO will prepare, sign, and distribute the transfer letter as appropriate.

Please contact PMO early in the process to ensure ample review can be performed regarding potential conflicts involving ownership, use restrictions, or other issues. The designated Property Program Manager will be happy to assist with additional guidance and information as needed.

7. Non-Tagged Equipment

For the disposal of unrecorded (non-bar coded) items an excess request must be generated in SPARC. Information must include the location of the item to be collected, contact information, and any specific instruction needed.  Please refer to the SPARC User Guide for additional information and instructions on disposal requirements and generating excess requests for unrecorded assets.

8. Disposals Requiring Labor Assistance

Refrigeration units (e.g. freezers, chillers etc.), furniture and extremely large or heavy items may require additional labor assistance, in which case the department may be required to pay for these services. The type of equipment and the disposal delivery destination – either Peninsula Sanitary Service Inc. (PSSI) or SPS – dictate the types of Buildings & Grounds Maintenance (BGM) department work request needed.

9. Furniture Disposals and Reuse Program

Furniture no longer needed by a department should be evaluated for potential inclusion in the Furniture Reutilization Program.  Furniture in good condition is generally eligible to be moved to a storage facility where it is made available for free to departments that can use it. The only costs are those for the moving of the furniture.

For additional information, see Chapter 4.1 – Reutilization.

10. Methods of Disposition

An excess request in SPARC is required for assets being physically collected and disposed. These requests are generated by the DPA or their authorized delegate.  All other disposal methods require that an excess request be generated in Sunflower by the Property Programs Manager (PPM) or their delegate.  Each method has unique information requirements. Accuracy and completeness is important to ensure proper handling and reconciliation.

Below are specific definitions and procedures to follow for the disposition of property:


  • Asset has been sold by Surplus Property Sales and is no longer on campus.

Return to Manufacturer

  • Asset is being returned to the vendor or manufacturer for full credit against the PO (less restocking fees, if any).

Lease/Loan return

  • Asset being returned to the lender which were either leased or part of a loan


  • Asset is being used as a trade-in for credit against a new purchase. A new PO is generated.

Transfer to Outside Institution

  • Asset is being transferred at no cost to another University or Non-Profit Research Institution.

Return to Employee

  • Asset is owned by a University staff member, is recorded in SFA, and the employee is now leaving the University. Generally used only for Fellowships. Computers MUST be clear of all Stanford proprietary data!

Ship to Sponsor

  • Asset was furnished by sponsor (government or other), and is being returned to the sponsor agency at the close of the period of the agreement/award. Or asset is a deliverable on a contract and is being shipped to the sponsor.

Duplicate Record

  • Asset has been inadvertently recorded in SFA twice, and one record must be removed from the system


  • Asset has been reported stolen, and a police report has been filed.


  • Record created in error or asset is not capital and the department does not want to maintain a record for it.


  • Asset is being taken apart for parts to be used in other equipment/projects.