Subrecipients, subawards, vendors and consultants

If another organization, a subrecipient, will be paid by Duke University to conduct part of the proposed project, subawards or subcontracts are the most appropriate mechanisms for the transfer of funds if the following criteria apply:

  1. the funds are to be paid to another university or business rather than to an individual (consultant).
  2. the subrecipient will contribute to the scholarly or scientific design, conduct, and reporting of the project as described in a statement of work.
  3. the subrecipient's portion of the project requires judgment, unique expertise, and original thought.
  4. the subrecipient does not provide identical services to others as their primary business. Examples of identical services include the fabrication or repair of equipment, data processing, and routine analytical and testing services.

Subrecipient vs. Vendor/consultant



  • Performance is measured against the objectives of the sponsored project
  • Responsible for programmatic decision making
  • Responsible for adherence to applicable federal compliance requirements
  • Utilizes funds to carry out a program of the organization – not to provide goods or services for the program
  • Cannot be an individual
  • Provide goods and services within normal business operations
  • Provides similar goods and services to many different purchasers
  • Operates in a competitive environment
  • Provides goods and services ancillary to the operation of the federal program
  • Not subject to monitoring or reporting requirements of the prime award
  • Universities may create “service centers” to offer such services as survey support, dissemination and data collection for a standard fee.
  • Can be an entity or individual
How to pay a subrecipient How to pay a vendor/consultant
  • Subcontract
  • Subaward
  • The Duke University Research Support Services Agreement (RSSA) should be utilized to procure outside services on sponsored codes (20X, 30X-35X, 38X, 293, 393 and A03).
  • This agreement should be used only when a determination is made that the entity is a vendor using the Checklist to Determine Subrecipient or Contractor Classification