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A subaward is an award issued under a larger sponsored research award for the procurement of specific services or program-related tasks. Issuance of a subaward under a federal prime award is subject to compliance with federal law. All subawards are subject to the terms and conditions of the larger sponsored research award and the normal purchasing requirements of Drexel University.

There are two basic types of subaward arrangements

  • When Drexel University is the recipient of a subaward
  • When Drexel University is the grantor of a subaward

When Drexel University is the recipient

This agreement ties Drexel University to a larger proposal submitted by another institution or group of institutions. The prime award is made to another institution or group of institutions, then a portion of it distributed to Drexel University to complete specific tasks as part of the larger proposal. When Drexel University is part of a larger project, the management of funds is treated as a 'stand alone' project, for financial management purposes. While the Principal Investigator and Office of Research may have specific technical and financial reports to submit to the larger project, internally the project is viewed financially as an independent project. Facilities and Administration Cost rates are calculated on the percentage negotiated between Drexel University and the Federal government, not the hosting institution's rate.

When Drexel University is the grantor

Work to be completed under the auspices of a Drexel University sponsored research award is contracted out to a third party. Drexel University awards a portion of a sponsored research award to a third party. Usually, this third party is brought into the project because resources or skills for completing specific tasks are not readily available at the University. The intended use of the third party will be articulated in the approved proposal. Attempts to add new subawards to an existing project must have prior approval by the sponsor. All questions concerning subawards should be referred to staff in the Office of Research. Once the proposal is awarded, staff in the Office of Research will prepare a subaward agreement, reflecting the specifics of the proposal (budget, work plan, etc.), the appropriate sponsor's terms and conditions and the policies and procedures of Drexel University. Because subaward agreements are written to assign a portion of the programmatic effort to another organization, they are responsible for managing the technical and administrative aspects of its scope or work and making progress reports to the Drexel University Principal Investigator or Project Director, and financial reports to Research Accounting Services.

After an award has been made to Drexel University, it may become necessary to issue a subaward not outlined in the originally funded proposal. The Principal Investigator must prepare in writing a letter to the sponsor that addresses the reasons for selecting a particular subaward to complete the work. This letter must be signed by staff in the Office of Research, before being forwarded by the Principal Investigator to the sponsor.

Each Notice of Award should be reviewed for subawards by the Principal Investigator and the Department Administrator. If there is a subaward present in the sponsor's notice of award, the Principal Investigator and Department Administrator are responsible for working with the Pre-Award Program Administrator to set up a Subaward Agreement.

Quick Reference

  • Department Administrator reviews proposal for new/existing Subawards
  • If Subaward is not originally requested in budget/proposal – prior approval(agency specific)
  • Setup: Notice of Award reviewed by department, work with Pre Award Program Administrator to set up Subaward Agreement
  • Send Pre-Award Program Administrator a statement of work, budget, even if this is in proposal
  • Carryover budget needs separate budget
  • Subaward mailed
  • Payment: Sub-Recipient should invoice (at least) monthly
  • Research Accountant Services will set up a purchase order when a subaward is established
  • Research Accountant Services sends original Subaward invoice to department for Principal Investigator to review for appropriate costs, work progress and signature
  • Return invoice signed and dated, Research Accountant Services then approves invoice and sends original to Accounts Payable for processing with the purchase order number

Learn More about Subrecipient Monitoring