See the Glossary for more terms.
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This is Part 4 of the Grants Policy and Management Training for Foreign Investigators.
Subawards and other collaborations can play an important role in a research project. This part describes the role of the grantee and subaward organization.
It shows how to design an effective subaward agreement, manage a subaward and make changes to an existing subaward.
Subaward agreements are between you—the grantee—and the subawardee. They do not involve NIAID.
At any point during your award, you may need to involve collaborators. One way to do that is to create a subaward (also called a consortium agreement) for researchers, institutions, or organizations that you want to play an active role in your research project.
Subawards allow another organization to perform some activities for your grant under your supervision. They enable collaborations between a grantee and another organization—the subawardee.
This agreement is between you—the grantee—and the subawardee. It does not involve NIAID. You are responsible for the actions of the subawardee.
Think about this arrangement as a bicycle wheel formed from a hub with spokes. NIAID—the pedal—gives money and authority directly to you through your institution—the wheel's center.
You work directly with the subawardees—the spokes—and are accountable for their performance, expenditures, and activities. The research forms the rim, which completes the wheel and propels everybody forward.
In managing their subawards, grantees are fully responsible for the following:
As the grantee, you (not the subawardee) are accountable to NIAID for the performance of the research project, spending of grant funds by all parties, reporting requirements, negotiating animals in research and human subjects assurances, and all other obligations for the grant.
With prior approval from NIAID, you can add a subaward to your project at any time. See Creating a Subaward and a Subaward Agreement and Reporting a Subaward on Your Progress Report below.
Subawardees should make major contributions to the project. Use a subaward when you need another institution for the design, conduct, or outcome of your project.
For help filling in smaller gaps hire a consultant instead. Consultants usually provide advice or services—for example, supplying software, making technical comments, or setting up equipment—and sometimes participate significantly in the research. They work for a fee; for information on paying consultants, see Consultants under What Are Allowable Costs? in Part 6. Receiving and Spending Money.
Ask your institution's business office or speak to your program officer when deciding whether to use a subaward or consultant.
If you decide on a consultant, you need a letter describing the consultant's willingness to participate in your project and his or her role.
If you decide on a subaward, continue reading.
For each subaward, your institution outlines the details of the arrangement in a written formal agreement. You need to have an agreement in place before you can pay a subawardee with NIAID funds.
To create a subaward, prepare a written agreement with each subaward partner to describe how everyone will meet the scientific, administrative, financial, and reporting requirements of the grant. Your goal should be a smooth, orderly collaboration.
Address the following in your agreement:
Include the following items:
See examples at the Federal Demonstration Partnership's Subaward Agreement Forms.
Foreign subcontracts under NIH grants must adhere to the public policy requirements in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. In addition, they must have assurances filed with NIH that cover the activities that relate to the project. These requirements must be part of the formal written subcontract agreement with the grantee and include:
Each subaward should have its own budget. Your institution distributes funds directly to subawardees according to the terms and conditions of award.
As you manage your grant, make sure you maintain a detailed budget for all grant years of your subawards.
Keep the following points in mind:
As you work with your subaward sites, be sure your Federal Financial Reports include the actual costs, in U.S. dollars, for each subaward.
See What Are Allowable Costs? and Unallowable Costs in Part 6. Receiving and Spending Money.
You will need to arrange for an annual audit if your institution spends $750,000 or more a year of HHS award money, whether it is the grantee or on a subaward. See Meeting Your Audit Requirements in Part 8. Other Reporting Requirements.
Make sure everyone involved knows that an agreement can change and how to change it if needed.
Changes to a subaward follow the same rules as changes to your grant. Review Part 3. Actions You Can Take as the Project Leader to see what changes you can make on your own and what changes require our approval.
If your request needs our approval, ask your business office to email the following information to your grants management specialist at least 30 days before the requested change:
We will review your request and respond within 30 days. To help us get you the quickest response, send in this information when we request it:
When preparing a progress report, follow the instructions in Part 7. Annual Progress Report.
Last Updated April 22, 2015
Last Reviewed August 13, 2014