Subawards allow another organization to perform some activities for your grant under the PI’s supervision. They enable collaborations between the grantee—and the subawardee. A grantee must still play a substantive role in the research. The work cannot simply be passed on to a subawardee. Grantees must establish a subaward with any outside organizations that perform grant-supported research activities. Since subawards are legal agreements, the awardee institution and subawardee institution must both sign a consortium agreement or similar document. Funds from the grantee organization must flow directly from the grantee to the subawardee, meaning a subawardee cannot create its own subaward with a third party—a "third tier" subaward—using funds from the grantee. Include the details of the work in your application because the initial peer review committee needs to evaluate it (unlike a purchase contract).
The grantee (not the subawardee) is accountable to NINDS for the performance of the research project, spending of grant funds by all parties, reporting requirements, negotiating animal and human subjects assurances, and other obligations for the grant. Subaward arrangements do not involve NINDS. NINDS does not participate in establishing the terms of the subaward, nor is NINDS responsible for enforcing adherence to those terms. Do not rely on NINDS Program Directors and Grants Management Specialists to communicate with subawardees directly. NINDS staff are responsible for communicating through the primary grantee only.
Prior approval is required from NINDS to establish a new subaward after a grant has been awarded if either of the following is true:
- The subawardee is a foreign organization.
- The terms of the subaward would constitute a change in scope
The grantee and the subawardee are responsible for solving disagreements. The signed agreement is paramount—it should be the source for resolving conflicts. When writing a subaward agreement, be sure to define the scope of work clearly and include a mechanism for settling disputes.
The grantee institution and the subawardee institution may need a formal agreement of the terms of the collaboration. Such agreements typically include a breakdown of costs, such as personnel and supplies, as well as facilities and administrative (F&A) costs. In the Consortium/Contractual Arrangements attachment to the PHS 398 Research Plan form, briefly describe the arrangement. State the roles of the people and organizations involved with enough detail for reviewers to be able to judge whether there is sufficient expertise to conduct the project.
Do not include the text of the formal agreement itself in the application, letters of support or Just-In-Time documentation. NIH does not request, use, or need a copy of it. As part of your Just-In-Time documentation, NINDS will request a copy of the F&A rate agreement that the consortium/subaward organization established with DHHS. Please visit Just-In-Time Process to learn more about responding to pre-award requests.
Subawardee Biographical Sketches and Letters of Support
Biographical sketches are required if personnel on a subaward are key personnel or other signification contributor. Attach them to the Research and Related Senior/Key Person Profile form. If you decide to work with consultants or collaborators, it is often beneficial to include a letter of support. Please see the Additional Application Elements for more information.
Provide each subaward's Unique Entity ID (UEI) number, and make sure information in the subaward budget form matches that in the Research Strategy. The budget periods of the subaward, whether active or not, must always align with the budget periods of the prime grant. For the consortium justification in a modular application, use the PHS 398 Modular Budget form. For nonmodular, use the R&R Subaward Budget in the Research and Related Budget Component. Follow the SF 424 Application Instructions. For more information please see Creating A Budget.
Want to contact NINDS staff?Please visit our Find Your NINDS Program Director page to learn more about contacting Program Directors, Grants Management Specialists, Scientific Review Officers, and Health Program Specialists.