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Establish and maintain outgoing subaward agreements

Need assistance with outgoing subaward agreements?

When a portion of the scope of work on a sponsored grant or contract is allocated to another organization (the subrecipient) to complete, a subaward agreement needs to be established and managed throughout the award period. 

For information about consultants, Research Support Services Agreements (RSSAs), and payment mechanisms for other external services, access the Procure good and services page.

Establishing new subaward agreements

Upon receiving and reviewing the notice of award (NOA), subaward agreements should be established for all subrecipients that were included in the approved proposal and budget.

Various central offices will be involved in the review and execution of the subaward agreement request. Investigators and grant managers should note that it takes time for the agreement to be reviewed and generated, processed by the subrecipient, and then returned to Duke as an executed agreement.

Once the subaward agreement is fully executed, the categorized budget and master data details will be entered into SAP. The grant manager should review the agreement set up, confirm plan details in SAP (values, G/Ls, etc.), and identify any special restrictions or conditions. Communication with the subrecipient grant manager is recommended to confirm the details of the agreement and to establish a partnership for ongoing management of the subaward.

Please note: If a subrecipient is needed that was not included in the approved proposal and budget (either at the establishment of the award or at a later date after the award has been established), the grant manager will need to rebudget during the process of requesting the subaward agreement. The Awarded budgets and rebudgets/CAS page contains information and guidance on rebudgeting. Sponsor approval for the new subrecipient may also be required.

Managing and maintaining subaward agreements

Throughout the award period, the grant manager has ongoing responsibilities to manage and maintain the subaward agreement. These include:

Routine review and analysis of subaward spending

  • The grant manager should routinely review subaward spending to ensure allowable, allocable, and reasonable (AAR) compliance & remove unallowable items. This involves evaluating allowability of spending but also balancing the responsibility of monitoring and risk. It is important to note that spending on the subaward should abide by all sponsor terms and conditions. Receipt of routine invoices should also be monitored and addressed, as applicable. If needed, partner with the central office sub team to request additional details about subaward spending.
  • Agreements issued under federal funding sources are subject to GAP 200.280 Subrecipient Monitoring.
  • Projections and burn rates should also be monitored throughout the award period, taking into account all spending from Duke and any subawards. Utilize the Projections Tool in SAP, and access the Generate reports and submit sponsor invoices page for further guidance. 

Consult with the principal investigator to discuss subrecipient performance and deliverables

  • Regular communication between grant managers and principal investigators is needed to mitigate or address any concerns with the subrecipient. Adjustments may be needed based on unsatisfactory subrecipient performance or unmet deliverables.
  • Other topics of discussion between the grant manager and the principal investigator should include:
    • Confirming subaward expenses are in line with programmatic progress
    • Resolving any issues or concerns prior to approving the invoice payments, as payment indicates approval of spending and technical work.
Modifying subaward agreements

If a subaward agreement needs to be modified at any point during the project period, a modification request must be submitted to the appropriate central office.

  • For awards or contracts in Campus Schools/Provost Area, contact
  • For federal or foundation awards and contracts in the School of Medicine or School of Nursing, utilize the “Submit a request” function in myRESEARCHhome
  • For industry contracts in the School of Medicine or School of Nursing, contact the Office of Research Contracts agreement manager involved in the original contract initiation.
Closing out subaward agreements

As the end of the award period approaches, the grant manager should communicate with the subrecipient grant administrator to ensure the final invoice is received prior to the due date. Final invoice due dates are firm and late invoices may be at risk for not being paid. Duke's standard practice is a 60 day submission deadline for the final invoice after the end date but may be adjusted if this could impact other deadlines. Refer to Subrecipient final invoice guidance for additional information.

Other financial reports may be needed from the subrecipient. Review the subaward agreement and terms and conditions from the sponsor to determine what reports are needed.

Information about additional closeout activities can be found on the Prepare for award end page and the Award closeout page.