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Subawards During Proposal Preparation

Subrecipient vs. Contractor

It is important to differentiate between subrecipients and contractors before entering into an agreement with a third party organization performing a portion of UCI’s research project.  This classification will determine the type of legal agreement as well as the type of monitoring required for the relationship.  Misclassification may result in delays in subaward processing, as well as inclusion of incorrect facilities and administrative costs (F&A), leading to significant budgetary errors.  UCI follows the requirements in the OMB Uniform Guidance (2 CFR 200), Section 200.330 to determine subrecipient or contractor status.

A subrecipient relationship may be appropriate when many of the following factors are present:
  • The organization’s SOW represents a substantive and intellectually significant portion of UCI’s research project.
  • The organization participates in a creative way in designing and/or conducting the research.
  • The organization retains some element of programmatic control and discretion over how the work is carried out.
  • The organization makes independent decisions regarding how to implement the requested activities.
  • A principal investigator has been identified at the organization and functions as a “Co-Investigator.”
  • There is an expectation that the organization will retain ownership rights in potentially patentable technology or products produced in the course of fulfilling its SOW.
  • Publications may be created or co-authored at the organization.
  • The organization assumes responsibility for adherence to applicable sponsor program compliance requirements.
A contractor relationship may be appropriate when many of the following factors are present:
  • The organization is providing specified services in support of, or ancillary to, UCI’s research project.
  • The organization has not significantly participated in the design of the research or project itself, but is implementing the research plan or project activities of the UCI investigator.
  • The services are performed in the organization’s normal course of business and marketed to a range of customers.
  • The organization makes little or no independent decision-making in the design and/or conduct of the research being completed.
  • The expectation is that the work will not result in patentable technology that would be owned by the organization.

OMB Uniform Guidance allows grantees to use judgment in determining whether a relationship is that of subrecipient or contractor.  Not all of the characteristics listed above will be present.  Conversely, the presence of many of the characteristics is not necessarily determinative.  Thus, the substance of the relationship is more important than the form of the agreement.  UCI PIs are required to analyze the substance of the relationship with their subrecipients and note their recommendations by completing the Subrecipient vs. Contractor Determination Form and submitting it to SPA at the proposal stage.  Subrecipients are required to do the same except their recommendations are noted on the Subrecipient Statement of Collaborative Intent Form.

Determinations are made on a case-by-case basis at the proposal stage.  A Subrecipient vs. Contractor Determination Form is to be completed for each subrecipient.  Before a proposal is submitted to an agency, SPA will make the final determination using the recommendations from the Subrecipient vs. Contractor Determination Form and the Subrecipient Commitment Form as a guide. 

If the final determination reveals that the organization is a contractor, the UCI PI should contact Purchasing and Risk, Contracts and Agreements staff for further classification (i.e., an independent contractor, consultant or employee). 

Subaward Documentation Required During Proposal Preparation

The subaward related documents/forms referenced below must be included with the UCI PI’s prime proposal submission via Kuali Coeus (KC).

From the subrecipient organization:

Beginning August 18, 2016, UCI is participating in the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) Expanded Clearinghouse Pilot.  This pilot is testing the use of on-line entity profiles to decrease the amount of duplicate information collected from potential subrecipient institutions.  If the subrecipient organization is a participating institution, only Part One of the Subrecipient Statement of Collaborative Intent should be completed by the subrecipient.  If the subrecipient is a non-particating institution, both Parts One and Two must be completed by the subrecipient.  

  • Scope of Work
  • Budget and Justification
  • Any other documents required by sponsor (i.e., certifications, assurances)
From the UCI PI:

Subrecipient Cost in UCI's Budget

The UCI PI must integrate the subrecipient’s scope of work into the proposal, and include the total amount of the subrecipient’s budget (including the subrecipient’s F&A) as a direct cost line item in the UCI budget. 

When calculating the UCI budget, it is important to take into account any prime sponsor’s written policy which deviates from UCI’s federal negotiated rate and for which UCOP has issued an indirect cost waiver.  While UCI's federal negotiated rate includes the first $25,000 of all subawards in its F&A base, other sponsors may have different F&A base.  For example, many non-profit foundations have written policies which assess lower indirect cost rates to awards, including subawards. 

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