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Award Management

Subcontracting on Sponsored Awards

Sometimes part of the research work under a grant or contract needs to be performed by an outside entity, e.g., another institution, generally under a subaward/subcontract agreement. If the potential subcontractor’s information was included in the approved grant or contract agreement, putting the subcontract in place is a straightforward process if the steps below are followed. If, however, the need for a subcontract is identified postaward, the principal investigator must work with their sponsored program officer to obtain sponsor approval for an unbudgeted subcontract (if required) and with the Grants Shared Services Center (GSSC) to ensure that all appropriate procurement requirements are followed in selecting the subcontractor. Principal investigators (PIs) should plan for the process of establishing an unbudgeted subcontract to take some time. PIs should also be aware that the subcontractor cannot legally begin work until a signed subcontract agreement is in place.

Subcontracting Process

Establishing a Subcontract

A user with the Subaward Supplier Contract Initiator role requests a subaward supplier contract in Workday. It is important to know the subcontractor’s administrative contact in addition to the program contact before beginning the request.

Statement of Work

A clear and concise statement of work must be attached to the request for subaward supplier contract.

The statement of work, which should be more detailed than that included in the proposal, documents all essential and technical requirements for the work to be performed, including performance and timeliness standards. This document must include a detailed budget, and some or all of the following items as appropriate:

  • objective or purpose of the agreement (including a brief description of the task to be performed and the expected results)
  • period of performance
  • detailed work requirements (including both technical and performance specifications)
  • performance, quality and timeliness requirements for each specific task
  • workload requirements (a description of levels or size of contractual effort)
  • personnel requirements (minimum qualifications or skill levels expected in the contractor’s staffing)
  • government-furnished equipment and other resources to be furnished to the subcontractor by Ohio State
  • reporting requirements (list of reports to be submitted by the contractor to show progress)

If necessary, include quotes from alternative vendors or a sole source justification form.

Preparing the Subcontract Agreement

After submission of a subaward supplier contract, the request workflows to the PI to approve, and then to a sponsored program officer in the Office of Sponsored Programs.

The sponsored program officer prepares a subcontract agreement with appropriate terms and conditions and sends it to the subcontractor for review and signature. Upon returning the signed agreement, the subcontractor is authorized to commence work and to begin billing Ohio State for project related costs.

Payments to Subcontractors

The subcontractor requests payment according to the terms specified in the subcontract agreement, generally by submitting to Ohio State Accounts Payable (AP) an itemized invoice referencing the Ohio State supplier contract number. AP checks that funds are available and forwards the invoice to the PI for review and approval.

The PI is responsible for:

  • monitoring the technical performance of the subcontractor 
  • verifying that the payment requested is allowable, appropriately documented, and reasonable for the work performed 
  • ensuing that any required cost sharing is properly documented 
  • approving the invoices for payment. 

Based on the terms of the subcontract, upon PI approval the invoice will either be scheduled for payment, or workflow to Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) for additional review before payment is scheduled.

On-going Maintenance

If any dispute over performance of the agreed statement of work arises during the progress of the project, the investigator should promptly notify their sponsored program officer for assistance in resolving the concerns.

In addition, sponsored program officers complete contract amendments or terminations if informed of any of the following situations:

  • the subcontractor needs additional time or funds
  • work is completed prior to the agreed completion date and the subcontract needs to be terminated
  • the scope of work needs modification
  • the subcontractor principal investigator has changed
  • the subcontractor is unable to complete the statement of work, or the subcontract should be terminated for any reason