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Understanding OTAs (Opportunity Kick-off) 

February 21, 2023

Research Development Opportunity Kick-off events are introductions to specific funding opportunities that provide an overview of requirements, advice and lessons learned from experienced faculty, and a chance to network with other ASU faculty.

Topic: Understanding OTAs (Opportunity Kick-off) 

There are a variety of award mechanisms that the federal government uses to distribute funding for research. Many faculty are familiar with grants. Some faculty may know about cooperative agreements. Less may understand how contracts work. Even fewer faculty know about OTAs. 

Other Transactions Authority (OTA) allows for Federal Government agencies to enter into Other Transactions (OTs), a special type of legal instrument other than a contract, grant, or cooperative agreement. Federal OTAs offer greater flexibility for national/federal agencies to develop programs that meet the rapidly advancing needs of research in a highly dynamic environment, at the edge of technical leaps. OTA’s may appeal to non-traditional university faculty and their partners that typically do not apply for grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts. 

Historically, OTAs have been familiar to those working with the Department of Defense. Recently, other agencies have used the mechanism to distribute large awards quickly. For example, much of the pandemic response from the National Institutes of Health was done through OTAs. This uptick in OTA releases requires that faculty (and those who support them) become more familiar with the mechanism. This kick-off will outline the benefits and rewards of leading or contributing to an OTA. 


  • Alex Thome,  

  • David Winkel, Associate Director, Project Management Office 

  • Ding Ding Zheng, coordinator, Research Development 

  • Quyen Wickham, proposal manager senior, Research Development 

Date: February 21, 2023
Time: 9:00am AZ
Location: online only