Subawards (Consortium Agreements) for Grants SOP

This standard operating procedure (SOP) includes the following sections: Purpose, Procedure, Contacts, and Links.

Some links will work for NIAID staff only.


To enable grantees to collaborate with other organizations on grant-supported research.


Grantees must establish a subaward, or consortium agreement, with any outside organization that performs any of their grant-supported research activities. Normal grant purchases and fee-for-service arrangements are not considered subawards.

When using subawards, each subaward must have a formal written agreement for meeting the scientific, administrative, financial, and reporting requirements of a grant. In every agreement, the grantee must have a substantive role in the project.

NIH holds grantees accountable for their subawardees' research, spending, and reporting actions, which must conform to all terms and conditions of a grant award. Subaward organizations may receive funds only from the grantee. Subawardees cannot use funds from the grantee to form their own subaward agreements with other organizations—no third party or third tier subawards are allowed.

Principal Investigators

  • Ensure that subaward organizations file all required human subjects and research animal assurances, certifications, and approvals with NIH. See the following pages for more information:
  • Document all consortium agreements and commitments of resources as part of your application. This will assure peer reviewers you are ready to conduct the proposed research. Read Team Roles and Agreements.
  • Include the following:
    • Letters from each of your subawardees describing their willingness to participate and their role in your project. We recommend that you send your subawardees a sample letter that they can sign and return.
    • Biosketches of any key personnel from your subawardee in the Research and Related Senior/Key Person Profile section.
  • Include subaward information in your application's budget.
    • Complete the R&R Subaward Budget Attachment(s) Form or, if you are applying with a modular budget, the PHS 398 Modular Budget Form. You'll need to provide a Unique Entity ID (UEI) number for each subaward in your budget section.
    • When applying with a modular budget, list the subaward organizations and the total costs for each organization for each year. Round to the nearest $1,000.
      • For a nonmodular budget, complete budget pages for each proposed subaward organization and submit a list of performance sites.
      • Check the funding opportunity announcement for instructions, such as whether to calculate subaward facilities and administrative (F&A) costs as direct costs on your grant.
      • When submitting subaward budgets that are not active for all periods of a prime grant, list the subaward as performing 0.01 calendar months of effort with requested salary and fringe benefits of $0 for years in which the subaward is inactive.
  • Approve subawardee actions that are consistent with the terms and conditions of the grant only.
  • Get prior approval from NIAID before adding a foreign subaward or a subaward that would change the scope of your research. See the Prior Approvals for Post-Award Grant Actions SOP.
  • Since NIAID will not work with the subawardee directly, you or your business official should be prepared to handle the following management responsibilities:
    • Find a budget solution if the subawardee wants more money to carry out its part of the project.
    • Answer questions from the subawardee about human subjects or animal research.
    • Report possible financial conflicts of interest to NIH. For example, report a conflict between the subawardee and a fee-for-service provider on the subaward.
    • Request prior approval from NIAID for any purchases the subawardee may incur that would indicate a change of scope. See the Prior Approvals for Post-Award Grant Actions SOP.
    • Resolve performance issues with the subawardee.

Authorized Organizational Representatives

Program Officers

  • Review any actions that might suggest a change in scope, for example, a new subaward or change in an existing subaward.
  • Send your approval or disapproval of those actions, in writing, to the grants management specialist.
  • Do not contact a subawardee organization to discuss anything related to the parent grant. If you are contacted, refer subawardees to the grantee institution.

Grants Management Specialists

  • Evaluate grantee's subaward budget/cost arrangements in submitted grant application and Research Performance Progress Report budgets.
  • Work with program officers to evaluate all requests for subaward arrangements that require prior approval, e.g. adding a foreign consortium.
  • Confirm that a program officer has approved any subaward action that would cause a change in scope. Notify the grantee of approvals and disapprovals in writing.
  • See the GMP Consortia and Subcontracts SOP for more staff responsibilities.


Grantees with questions should contact the grants management specialist or program officer listed in the eRA Commons. For more information, see Contacting Program Officers and Grants Management Specialists.

Use the contacts listed above for questions about your specific situation. If you have a general question or a suggestion to improve this page, email the Office of Knowledge and Educational Resources at


NIH Grants Policy Statement (link is external)— See Section 15, Consortium Agreements

Build Your Team

Research Using Human Subjects

Animals in Research for Grants SOP

Foreign Grants Management

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