What is a subaward?

Collaboration with a colleague at another institution requires a contractual arrangement in order to transfer the funds necessary to perform a portion of a project. A subaward (also referred to as a subcontract or subagreement) is the commonly used contractual method when working with other academic institutions. The terms and conditions of the original award will flow-down to the subawardee.

Subawards are not the mechanism to provide funding for a non-UW individual providing consultant services (this is often handled via an Academic Support Services Agreement [ASSA]) nor should a subward be used for purchasing goods or services.  For information on the differences between a subaward, consultant, and vendor, see RSP’s website.

Outgoing Subawards

Below is a brief overview of the process for establishing a subaward.  For additional information, see RSP’s Outgoing Subagreements page or contact the CALS Research Administrator for your department.

Proposal Stage

  1. Establish a single due date for all subaward sites.
    Recommended date is 2 weeks before proposal deadline.
  2. Obtain subcontract proposal documents from each cooperating institution.
    Documents should be specific to each institution’s portion of work on the project.
    • Letter of Intent signed by an institutional official
    • Scope of work statement, specific to the subawardee
    • Yearly and cumulative budgets in the format required by the sponsor
    • Budget narrative in the sponsor required format
    • Additional documents may be needed for a specific RFA. These documents may include biosketches, current/pending support forms or conflict of interest reports.
  3. Include subaward budget total in the appropriate line items in UW budget.

Award Stage

  1. After award set-up at UW, an automated email is sent to the campus contact listed in the RAMP record with a reminder that an outgoing subaward is required.
    New subawardee requests are prepared by CALS Research Division. Modifications after the new subcontracts are established and are processed by CALS Business Services.
  2. CALS Research Division prepares and submits a new subaward request in the campus Subaward Portal.
    Status of subawards can be tracked in the Subaward Portal.
  3. RSP prepares the subaward and submits the paperwork to the subawardee.
  4. Subawardee signs and and returns the contract to RSP.
  5. RSP submits a requisition to Purchasing.  PI/Department notified via email from SFS.
    A copy of the subaward is available in WISER, on the Documents tab.

Incoming Subawards

When UW-Madison will be the subawardee, a proposal should be submitted via RAMP following the same process as any other proposal.  The budget and proposal documents must be reviewed and approved by CALS and RSP prior to submission.

At time of award, the lead institution will coordinate and issue the subaward to UW-Madison.

Additional UW–Madison Campus Resources

Outgoing SubawardsInformation on RSP website regarding subaward processing.
Sub-Award PortalCampus web-based tool used for requesting a new or modified subaward and monitoring the status of subagreements.
Service Contracting WizardThis campus tool will help with determining the appropriate type of contractual arrangement for an external partner.
Subaward vs Vendor ChecklistThis checklist can help you decide whether a collaborating organization should be treated as a subawardee or as a vendor.
Subaward PolicyCampus policy on subawards, including requirements for inclusion of a subaward in proposal.