Many applications submitted to federal agencies rely on collaborations with investigators from outside organizations. An agreement to collaborate, also known as a subaward agreement, must to be established at the time of proposal submission.
Subawards are complex, legal documents that require careful consideration during proposal development, award setup, and award closeout. Learn more below, or reach out to your Sponsored Programs Research Administrator with any questions.Your Outgoing Subaward Status
- Subaward: An award provided by a passthrough entity (such as BU) to a subrecipient for the subrecipient to carry out part of a Federal award received by the pass-through entity.
- Pass-Through Entity (PTE): A non-Federal entity (such as BU) that provides a subaward to a subrecipient to carry out part of a Federal program.
- Subrecipient: A non-Federal entity that receives a subaward from a pass-through entity to carry out part of a Federal program.
Subaward vs. Vendor Contract
Challenges to Anticipate
- Documentation requirements: Subaward actions can’t be processed until the subaward team has all proper proposal/budget documentation:
- Budget Justification
- Scope of Work
- Letter of Intent (LOI)
Please send these to your pre-award RAResearch Administrator
A Sponsored Programs team member w....
Common challenges: Obtaining documents from subrecipient, obtaining budgets throughout the life of the award when there are changes.
Step 1: Making initial decisions about subawards for a proposal (Department)
Collection and review of the following documentation is required:
- Project info: Funding announcement, project title, subaward project period
- Budget: Direct costs/year, effort requirement, project-specific expenses
- Documents: Letter of intent, scope of work, budget & justification, biosketches, facilities and resources, letter of support, any funding announcement-specific requirements (e.g., IP letter)
- Application info: Performance site location, key personnel information, human subjects/vertebrate animals/select agents (if applicable)
Step 2: Creating and completing the subaward agreement (Sponsored Programs Pre-Award)
- BU proposal submitted with all required subaward documentation
- Award received by Sponsored Programs and set up in Kuali/SAPBoston University’s financial system (the amount budgeted at this stage for a subaward directly ties to the max amount we can obligate to a subrecipient without another account update)
- Subaward action kicked off by set-up team, routed to subaward RA
- Subaward RA actions
- Locates subaward proposal documents
- Obtains PI concurrence for subaward action
- Performs subrecipient risk analysis (for new and some current subrecipients)
- Obtains funds commitment from SP Post-Award
- Creates subaward/modification
- Sends subaward/modification to subrecipient
- Subrecipient reviews, negotiates, signs, and return to subaward team
- Executed subaward uploaded into Kuali, distributed to BU PI, Department Administrator
- FFATA report submitted if required
The first point of contact for subaward questions should be your usual pre-award Sponsored Programs Research Administrator, who will answer your question or direct you to the correct person.
Step 3: Invoicing and monitoring the subrecipient (SP Post-Award)
- Subrecipient invoices sent directly to PAFO (email@example.com). Receive an invoice directly from a subrecipient? Send it to Craig Gerome (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- SP-Post emails invoice to PI, DA, and SP-Post RA
- PI completes initial review of invoice, raises any issues with DA and SP-Post RA
- Sufficient technical progress has been made to justify payment
- A brief review of the invoice, with special attention to salary and wage costs invoiced
- A review of travel expenses to verify need for the travel during the billing period
- A review of material and supply charges for reasonableness
- Department Administrator checks invoice for:
- Dates: Within project period, no overlap with previous invoice
- Sufficient funds: To cover amount of invoice
- Cumulative amount: Matches total of new invoice plus previous amount billed
- Signed certification
- PI must approve the invoice: Signature on invoice or via email
- DA completes and submits the online Subrecipient Invoice Disbursement Form with invoice & PI approval
- SP-Post RA receives form, invoice, and PI approval via Workflow. Once approved, it’s routed to Accounts Payable for final processing.
FAQs from Department Administrators
What's the status of my outgoing subaward?
Why does it take so long for a subaward to be issued?
- Subaward actions don’t enter the queue until the BU account is set up
- Subaward RA has to obtain documents and attestations from the subrecipient – often requiring a great deal of follow-up
- Subs under uncommon or non-fed prime sponsors require custom agreements
- Last minute edit requests are often more laborious than they sound and may require account updates or greatly altered agreement language
How do I get my subaward processed faster?
- Be on the lookout for a confirmation email from a Subaward RA and respond right away. We send one email for every action.
- Forward any updated subaward budgets/documents to your SP RA as soon as you get them
- If you’ve been working with a contact not listed in the subaward proposal, send those contact details to your SP RA
How can I help foreign/small entity subrecipients avoid hold ups?
- If they do not already have one, the subaward recipient needs to establish a UEI at SAM.gov
- Make sure SP has the appropriate subaward administrative contact person
- Take extra care in reviewing statements of work and budgets for subawards.
- If subaward cannot work on a cost reimbursement basis and will need advance payments, ask your SP RA how to kick off that process ASAP
What do I do if my subaward requires an advance payment?
Do BMC collaborations require subcontracts?
• Different DUNS/UEI numbers
• Different EIN/Tax IDs
• Different negotiated F&A and Fringe rates
• Different Annual Audits
• Different Proposal and Accounting Systems
Faculty who are paid via Boston University are assigned a “home” institution that dictates where they are expected to submit their proposal through when they are a named investigator. To find this information, use the home institution lookup.
To help answer any questions you may have we created scenarios that provide guidance on how they should be handled. If there are additional questions, please contact your BU or BMC Pre Award RA so we may help make the determination and add to this guidance.
- Reach out to your SP Pre-Award Research Administrator with any sub-agreement questions.
- Reach out to your SP Post-Award Research Administrator to confirm final balance with sub-recipient.
- Don’t worry – if your set-up budget contained subaward funds, the action has been kicked off.
- Subaward actions go on hold until the sub team has all proper proposal/budget documentation, so send those documents to your SP Pre- RA ASAP if they weren’t part of the original proposal.
- We need a corresponding budget for every subaward action that includes not-originally-proposed funding, even if it’s just a $100 supplement.
- All carryforward approvals need a corresponding budget.
- Expect your sub to be executed about 60 business days after you get an AN.
- Department should ensure invoices are sent directly to email@example.com
- Outgoing Subawards Training: Deck, Recording
- Procedures for the Administration and Monitoring of Subrecipient Agreements