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Proposing a Subaward

Proposing a Project with Subawards

Once the potential subrecipient is identified to support the objectives of a proposed sponsored research project, and it is determined that a subaward is the appropriate mechanism, the PI assisted by the department administrator obtains the subrecipient proposal elements from their subrecipient.

The proposal should be compiled in the format required by the sponsor and Stanford, then forwarded to the institutional official for review.  The proposal must include the following elements for each named subrecipient to be endorsed by institutional official.

  • The subrecipient's statement of work (SOW), including a clear description of the work to be performed, proposed timelines, and deliverables.  The SOW should be detailed to ensure expectations are clear and can be enforced in case of disagreement between Stanford and the subrecipient.
  • The subrecipient's budget and budget justification, including the subrecipient's direct and indirect costs, calculated using both the subrecipient's F&A and fringe benefit rates, and verifying any committed cost sharing.
  •  The Subrecipient Commitment Form (OSR Form 33) completed and signed by the subrecipient's institutional official.
  • (Federal Contracts Only) A Fair and Reasonable Cost Analysis & Sole Source Justification (OSR Form 45) if the funding mechanism is known to be a Federal contract at time of proposal.  The PI's signature on this form certifies s/he has selected the subrecipient in accordance with Stanford policy, and determined their costs are reasonable with respect to the proposed SOW.  In addition, the PI certifies s/he has reviewed the subrecipient's proposed budget to ensure all proposed costs are allowable under the sponsor's anticipated terms and conditions.  PIs are responsible for working with their subrecipients to modify proposed budgets to bring them into conformance.
  • Additional elements which may be required by Stanford's sponsor.

On very rare occasions, a PI may recognize the need for outside involvement on a project but is either unable to identify the best subrecipient by the time of proposal submission.  In these instances, proposals may be submitted with a subrecipient To Be Named.

Integrating the Subrecipient's Proposal into Stanford's Proposal

The PI, assisted by the administrator, integrates the subrecipient’s statement of work into the proposal and includes the full amount of the subrecipient’s budget (including the subrecipient’s F&A) as a direct cost line item in the Stanford budget.  The subrecipient’s proposed costs must be separate from Stanford’s costs.

When calculating Stanford’s budget, it is important to apply the F&A Stanford will collect for administering the subaward based on the sponsor’s inclusion/exclusion criteria.  While the federal government includes the first $25,000 in its F&A base, other sponsors may have different criteria.

  • Modified Total Direct Cost (MTDC) Base:  Stanford’s indirect costs (F&A) are applied to the first $25,000 of each competitive segment of each subaward. (Typical of federal awards).
  • Total Direct Cost (TDC) Base:  Stanford charges indirect costs on the whole subaward amount. (Typical to foundation or other non-fed sponsors).

Subrecipient Proposal Review and Submission by Stanford

At the time of proposal review & submission if submitted in accordance with Stanford's Proposal Policy, the institutional official will do the following:

  • Review the Statement of Collaborative Intent (OSR Form 33)
  • Review the subrecipient’s scope of work to verify that a subaward is the appropriate vehicle to fund the work
  • Review the subrecipient's budget and budget justification
  • Review the proposal for compliance with Stanford and sponsor policy
  • Submit the full proposal to the sponsor for consideration

*Initiating an Unanticipated Subaward after a Proposal Is Submitted

If a subrecipient was not included as part of the proposal documentation, the sponsor may require prior approval to add a new subrecipient to the sponsored project.  All subaward paperwork should be completed at the time the subrecipient is identified.

  • If the subaward is under a grant, the prime sponsor award terms and conditions may require prior approval or notification for adding a new subrecipient.  Read the terms and conditions carefully and confer with your OSR/RMG official if you need guidance.  Be prepared to wait at least 30 days for a response from the sponsor for prior approval of the new subrecipient.
  • Use the Central Office Request Form found in SeRA to seek sponsor approval for new subaward if approval is required.
  • If a subaward is under a federal contract, the sponsor may require Stanford to obtain written approval or notification to enter into the subaward even if the sponsor approved the subrecipient at the proposal review and acceptance stage.  A federal sponsor may require: a detailed written cost analysis of the subrecipient’s proposal, a certificate of cost and pricing data together with a sole source justification (form 45) and a small business subcontracting plan (FAR 52.219-9).

Preparing Proposals with Subawards Seminar Presentation Slides