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A subaward is an award issued under a larger sponsored research award for the procurement of specific services or program-related tasks. Issuance of a subaward under a federal prime award is subject to compliance with federal law. All subawards are subject to the terms and conditions of the larger sponsored research award and the normal purchasing requirements of Dartmouth College.

There are two basic types of subaward arrangements:

  • When Dartmouth College is the recipient of a subaward
  • When Dartmouth College is the grantor of a subaward

When Dartmouth College is the recipient: This agreement ties Dartmouth College or the DHMC to a larger proposal submitted by another institution or group of institutions. The prime award is made to another institution or group of institutions, then a portion of it distributed to Dartmouth College to complete specific tasks as part of the larger proposal. When Dartmouth College or DHMC is part of a larger project, the management of funds is treated as a 'stand alone' project, for financial management purposes. While the Principal Investigator and OSP may have specific technical and financial reports to submit to the larger project, internally the project is viewed financially as an independent project. Facilities and Administration Cost rates are calculated on the percentage negotiated between Dartmouth College and the Federal government, not the hosting institution's rate.

When Dartmouth College is the grantor: Work to be completed under the auspices of a Dartmouth College or DHMC sponsored research award is contracted out to a third party. Dartmouth College awards a portion of a sponsored research award to a third party. Usually, this third party is brought into the project because resources or skills for completing specific tasks are not readily available at the College or DHMC. The intended use of the third party will be articulated in the approved proposal. Attempts to add new subawards to an existing project must have prior approval by the sponsor. All questions concerning subawards should be referred to staff in the OSP. Once the proposal is awarded, staff in the OSP will prepare a subaward agreement, reflecting the specifics of the proposal (budget, workplan, etc.), the appropriate sponsor's terms and conditions and the policies and procedures of Dartmouth College. Because subaward agreements are written to assign a portion of the programmatic effort to another organization, they are responsible for managing the technical and administrative aspects of its scope or work and making progress reports to the Dartmouth College Principal Investigator or Project Director, and financial reports to OSP.

After an award has been made to Dartmouth College, it may become necessary to issue a subaward not outlined in the originally funded proposal. The Principal Investigator must prepare in writing a letter to the sponsor that addresses the reasons for selecting a particular subaward to complete the work. This letter must be signed by staff in the OSP, before being forwarded by the Principal Investigator to the sponsor.

Each Notice of Award should be reviewed for subawards by the Principal Investigator and the Department Grant Administrator. If there is a subaward present in the sponsor's notice of award, the Principal Investigator and Department Grant Manager are responsible for working with the Subaward Coorindator to set up a Subaward Agreement.

Quick Reference


  • Department Grant Administrator reviews proposal for new/existing Subawards
  • If Subaward is not originally requested in budget/proposal – prior approval is needed from the sponsor (agency specific)
  • Once the Notice of Award has been received by the Department Grant Manager, they should start the process for setting up a new or modifying an existing Subaward Agreement
  • Department Grant Manager and the OSP Subaward Coordinator work in collaboration to identify pertinent information needed to issue the subaward
  • Subaward emailed or mailed to Subrecipient, Department Grant Manager and OSP Sponsored Research Manager for their records
  • Sub-Recipient should invoice (at least) monthly, here is the process flow for Subaward Invoices:
    • Subrecipient sends invoice to OSP
    • OSP reviews invoice, if everything looks correct, OSP approves the invoice
    • OSP sends approved invoice to Department Grant Manager to have the Principal Investigator review and approve the invoice for appropriate costs
    • After PI approves the invoice, Department Grant Manager should keep a copy for their records and then send the fully approved invoice to their Finance Center for processing

Revised March 2015


Last Updated: 3/22/15