Research Topic



SPA is responsible for processing subaward agreements and amendments that are issued by the university to collaborating entities (subrecipients). These subrecipients will perform a portion of the research required under a prime award to the university. Follow the link below for complete policies and procedures.

OBFS Section 16—Sponsored Projects Subawards


Policy Statement

The University of Illinois System may issue a subaward to a subrecipient for the purpose of performing a portion of the scope of work under an award for a sponsored project. In issuing a subaward, the system assumes responsibility for the oversight of programmatic and financial activities of the subrecipient throughout the life of the subaward, including but not limited to the determination of subrecipient versus contractor, assessing subrecipient's capacity to perform, and subrecipient's compliance with award terms. The principal investigator shall be responsible for confirming the subrecipient performs the awarded scope of work and all costs are reasonable and in accordance with the terms of the award.

Reason for the Policy

As a recipient of an award, the system must comply with the requirements outlined in Uniform Guidance that require the system to manage and monitor each subaward to reasonably ensure that costs are allowable, awards are used for authorized purposes, and performance goals are achieved. Subawards must also be administered in compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and the provisions of the grant or contract agreement.

Applicability of the Policy

This policy applies to all sponsored projects and programs.


Subaward Documentation for Proposals

Scope of Work (SOW)

The details of how the project will be performed by the subrecipient. It should include a statement of the problem or issue to be investigated and the methods to conduct the investigation, as well as specific tasks to be performed (if required by prime award). The SOW should also note any required deliverables and/or milestones for the project.

Budget and Budget Justification

A budget supporting the costs of subrecipient’s project and appropriate justification should be included with the SOW. The budget should align with the proposed work and support the scope of the project. Administrative approval from the subrecipient organization is needed for the budget and its justification.

Letter of Intent (LOI)

A letter from the subrecipient institution's authorized official that approves their participation in the proposal submission.  It should include the amount budgeted, period of performance, project details, indirect cost rate,  and organizational information. This letter might also include cost share detail, or compliance related assurances associated with the project and/or specific sponsor (sponsor specific FCOI)


Subaward Monitoring

Once the subaward has been executed, the PI is responsible for monitoring the subawardee. Some of the major responsibilities are listed below.


 PI and Unit Business Manager Monitoring Responsibilities

  • Verify that work performed by the subrecipient is conducted in a timely manner and is acceptable.
  • Review and compare subrecipient invoices to established budgets to ensure cost are allowable.
  • Certify/approve all subrecipient invoices and submit for payment.
  • Maintain regular contact with the subrecipient regarding the technical aspects of the project.
  • Ensure that all deliverables (e.g., technical, equipment, and invention reports) required under the subaward are being provided and reviewed.
  • Participate in audits, site visits or other monitoring activities if necessary to review fiscal and programmatic records and observe programmatic activities.
  • Facilitate closeout (i.e., final technical/programmatic reports and final invoice). PIs should not approve final payments until all reports have been received.
  • Maintain documentation to support monitoring activities.

Job Aids

  Quick Tips

  • To save time in the subaward issuance process, begin gathering as much information as early as possible
  • Prior to submitting a new subaward request to SPA, confirm that the subawardee was included in the original submission to the sponsor. If not, work with SPA Award Management to get the approval before requesting subaward issuance
  • When submitting a new subaward request to SPA, ensure that the SOW, budget, and budget justification are included
  • Setting up a timeline for subaward management can help prevent stoppages in project workflow
  • If a subrecipient is not performing work as expected, inform SPA Award Management as soon as possible


  Need help completing the Subaward eForm?

  Job aid for new subawards
  Job aid for subaward modifications


  Subaward or Vendor?

Subawardee Vendor
Performs part of the “scope” of the research project and has its performance measured against such Provides goods and services to many different purchasers
Uses the funds to carry out a portion of the scope of work of the university’s research project Provides goods and services that are ancillary to the operation of the research project
Selected for intellectual merits or related research Operates in a competitive market
Responsible for compliance and flow down reporting requirements of the prime award Not subject to compliance issues (monitoring) or reporting requirements of the prime award
Has input into the decision making process regarding the direction of the research project Responds to specifications
Authors or co-authors publications Not applicable
May present papers/results of research at conferences Not applicable
May seek patent protection for inventions Not applicable
Retains title to intellectual property rights Work for hire—rights belong to buyer

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