For something to be potentially liable for VAT it has to be a supply of goods or services. The word supply is defined as providing something (goods or services) in return for payment. If there is a supply of goods or services it would normally be liable to VAT but there are exemptions and reliefs available.
These links give examples of which VAT rate should be applied to some of the more common transactions the University enters into. This list is not exhaustive. The flow chart at Appendix B may also assist in the choice of VAT rate.
Please also remember that Financial Regulation 25.1 also specifies that
'Apart from core teaching, research and the organisation of conferences, when a new income-generating or trading activity is set up (whether in the UK or abroad), the Head of Department must consult the Taxation Section beforehand to consider the VAT implications and whether the activity constitutes trading which might be subject to Corporation Tax.'