Subaward vs. Vendor Criteria

A Subaward is an award issued under a larger sponsored projects 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 projects award and the normal purchasing requirements of Dartmouth College.

Subaward Types

When Dartmouth College is the Recipient

This agreement ties Dartmouth College 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 is distributed to Dartmouth College to complete specific tasks as part of the larger proposal. When Dartmouth College 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.

After an award has been made to Dartmouth College, it may become necessary to issue a Subaward that was not stated in the originally funded proposal. The Principal Investigator must prepare a letter to the sponsor that addresses the reasons for selecting a particular Subaward to complete the work. The letter must be signed by both the Principal Investigator and an authorized official in OSP before submitting to the sponsor for their approval.

When Dartmouth College is the Grantor

Work to be completed under the auspices of a Dartmouth College sponsored projects award is contracted out to a third party. Dartmouth College awards a portion of a sponsored projects 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. The intended use of the third party will be articulated in the approved proposal. All questions concerning Subawards should be referred to the Subaward Coordinator or Sponsored Research Manager. Once the proposal is awarded, Department Grant Managers, Sponsored Research Managers and the Subaward Coordinator will coordinate preparing a Subaward agreement. The Subaward agreement will reflect the specifics of the proposal (budget, work plan, etc.), the appropriate sponsor's terms and conditions and the policies and procedures of Dartmouth College. Since 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 their agreement.


The classifications are based upon regulatory requirements as described in the Uniform Guidance CFR 200.330.  OSP recognizes that there are situations that are gray and we encourage you to work with OSP staff to make determinations.   


  • For the purpose of carrying out a portion of an award, one entity is designated as the primary performance site/grantee.  If another entity carries out a substantive portion of the work in their own space, formal subcontracting arrangements should be established to protect both institutions and ensure agreement with sponsor's assurances and certifications and all institutional, federal and sponsors' regulations.
  • The entity receiving the Subaward: Determines who is eligible to receive what assistance. Has its performance measured in relation to whether objectives of a Sponsored Program are met.
  • Has responsibility for programmatic decision-making. Is responsible for adherence to applicable Sponsored Program requirements specified in the Sponsor's award.
  • Uses the Sponsored Program funds to carry out a program for a public purpose specified in authorizing statute or specified in the Sponsored Program's terms and conditions, as opposed to providing goods and services for the benefit of the Pass-through Entity.
  • A principal investigator has been identified at the subrecipient site and functions as a "Co Investigator" or key personnel. Participates in a creative way in designing and/or conducting the research.
  • Publications may be created or co-authored at the subrecipient site.
    Substantive, programmatic work or an important or significant portion of the research program or project is carried out at the subrecipient site. There is the expectation that the subrecipient entity will retain ownership rights in potentially patentable or copyrightable technology or products that it produces in the course of fulfilling its scope of work.
  • The subrecipient entity provides cost sharing or matching funds which are not reimbursed by DC or the prime sponsor.
  • The entity regards itself, and/or is regarded by Dartmouth College "DC", as "engaged in research" involving human subjects under the Common Rule and therefore requires approval for its interactions with human subjects.

Purchased Service/Consulting Services/Procurement Contract 

  • The entity receiving the procurement contract or providing the purchased service:
      • Goods and services provided are within normal business operations. Provides similar goods and services to many different purchasers. Normally operates in a competitive environment.
    • Provides goods or services that are ancillary to the operation of the Sponsored Program.
    • Is not subject to compliance requirements of the Sponsored Program as a result of the agreement, though similar requirements may apply for other reasons.
  • Use of shared service/resource cores would indicate a purchased service or procurement relationship. Non-faculty scientific resources, such as analyst or technical laboratory services (assays, lab testing, etc).
  • Contractor/vendor has not significantly participated in the design of the research itself, but is implementing the research plan of the principle investigator/prime awardee.
  • Contractor/vendor is not directly responsible to the sponsor for the research or research results. Contractor/vendor does not expect to have its employees or executives credited as co-authors on papers that emerge from the research.
  • The expectation is that the work will not result in patentable or copyrightable technology or products that would be owned by the contractor/vendor. The contractor/vendor markets its services to a range of customers, including those in non-academic fields.
  • Little or no independent decision-making is involved in the design and conduct of the research work being completed by the contractor/vendor .
  • The agreement only specifies the type of goods/services provided and the associated costs. In the case of an individual vendor of consulting services, the person has no employment relationship with DC


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