Subaward Process

At times, some work conducted under a sponsored project needs to be performed by an outside party under a subaward, sometimes referred to as a subcontract. The Office of Research and Technology Management has a process for subawards at Case Western Reserve University.


An incoming subaward is necessary when a CWRU faculty member is added to another institution’s grant submission. If the project is funded, we will receive a subaward from that institution. This is processed in the same manner as any other incoming award.

An outgoing subaward is needed when a project that CWRU submits to a funding agency includes a member of an outside institution. If the project is funded, CWRU will send the other institution a subaward.

The following terms may be used interchangeably: Subaward, subcontract, and subagreement. 

During proposal development, it should be determined if a subaward may be necessary to complete some aspect of the project.  



The subrecipient is responsible for programmatic decision-making, maintaining research compliance and performing a substantive portion of the project. 

Use of a subrecipient is expected under the following circumstances:

  • Where subrecipient’s actions are vital to the overall outcome of the research goals.
  • Where the subrecipient retains some level of programmatic control and discretion over the project;
  • Where there is an expectation that the subrecipient will retain ownership rights in potentially patentable or copyrightable technology or products that are developed in the course of fulfilling their statement of work;
  • Where publications are expected and may be created or co-authored by the subrecipient;
  • Where the subrecipient is providing cost-sharing or fund-matching that is not expected to be reimbursed

Outgoing Subaward Requirements

  • Must have a detailed statement of work specific to each institution; and
  • Must have a budget that specified salary, fringe, supplies and other direct costs, as well as Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs consistent with Subrecipient’s In-Direct Costs (IDC) (or the de minimis 10% rate if no IDC policy exists); 
  • Please note: Terms and conditions from a PRIME AWARD are imposed on the subrecipient to the same degree that they are imposed on CWRU as the prime.

Independent Contractor/Vendor/Consultant

An Independent Contractor/Vendor/Consultant (IC) has the responsibility for providing goods or services to CWRU in support of a scope of work.

Use of an IC is expected under the following circumstances:

  • Where the IC is providing CWRU with specific goods or services, as specified in the agreement; 
  • Where the IC does not maintain any programmatic control or discretion over the project;
  • Where the IC is not a publisher or co-publisher and no new intellectual property will be created by the IC.

CWRU Procurement and Distribution Services (PDS) is the procurement, accounts payable and logistical arm of the university community. Learn more about PDS services.