Subawards on your Proposal

Subawards on your Proposal

A subaward is the funding mechanism used when a project requires the participation of a separate, external entity (also known as a “subrecipient” or “subawardee”).

Funding would flow from the prime funding agency, through Northeastern (otherwise known as the “pass-through” entity), and onto the subrecipient. However, it’s important to distinguish the difference between a subrecipient versus a contractor or vendor:

Subrecipient Contractor/Vendor
Has programmatic, substantive role in project Has not participated significantly in the design of the work
Named on publication as co-author or publishes their own work Would not be named on publication or seek to publish on own
Participates in design / conduct of the program Not directly responsible for determining research or project results
Some independent decision making C Little or no independent decision making

More guidance on determining a subrecipient versus a contractor/vendor can be found on the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) Subaward Forms website under “Guidance.”

When considering the inclusion of a subrecipient within your proposal, it’s also important to consider the sponsoring agency’s guidelines, as the documentation requirements can vary. However, at minimum, NU-RES will always require the following elements from participating institutions proposing to be a subrecipient on any Northeastern award:

Letter of Intent or Commitment This formalizes the subrecipient’s intent to participate on Northeastern’s project as a subawardee, and it must be signed by said subawardee’s authorized official (although there are rare exceptions, the authorized official is not the same as the subrecipient’s principal investigator). Northeastern’s templated letters (included in the top right of this page) can be used as examples should the subrecipient not have a template of its own.

Statement of Work – This document describes the work to be performed by the subrecipient’s personnel. In addition to being programmatically significant, it’s important that the work is clearly defined and milestones or deliverables are listed as appropriate.

Detailed Budget – This should be line itemized, and broken out by year. Pay attention to funding agency guidelines, as there may be specific budget templates required of subrecipients.

Budget Justification – A budget justification or budget narrative must be provided in addition to the line item budget. This document provides a written justification of each cost included in the subrecipient’s budget. Again, pay attention to funding agency guidelines as the required level of detail can vary greatly.