Initiating and Managing Subawards


Initiation and Negotiation of Subawards

Once an award which involves a sponsor-approved subaward is processed by Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA) and an award synopsis issued, Principal Investigator and his/her unit administrator will use the Subaward Request Form (SRF) to initiate the process of issuance of the subaward. The information provided on this form authorizes the Subaward Team in SPA to draft and negotiate the subaward agreement.

Once SPA receives the completed and signed SRF along with all other applicable Forms and supporting documents including subaward budget, scope of work, and compliance approval documentation (e.g. IRB & IACUC approval), the Subcontract team will draft a subaward that includes terms and conditions required by the prime sponsor, as well as any special terms and conditions requested by the Principal Investigator or required due to the nature of the work to be performed. Should the Subrecipient request clarification or negotiation of the proposed terms; the Subaward Team conducts the negotiations. The Subaward Team also consults the Principal Investigator regarding any negotiation of scope of work or budget. Once a subaward has been executed by both parties, the Subaward Team notifies the Principal Investigator, unit administrator and Accounting Office via e-mail. The complete subaward document is made available through the Electronic Synopsis Distribution System.

For Subawards that were not included in the original proposal, the Subaward Team will work with the Principal Investigator and his/her unit administrator to a request prior approval (if required by the sponsor) from the sponsor. Once the prior approval is in place, Principal Investigator and his/her unit administrator will be able to start the process by sending their SRF to the Subaward Team.

Sole Source Justification Form - For those subawards that were not included in the original sponsor-approved proposal and subcontracts (subawards issued under contracts), the Principal Investigator needs to complete the Sole Source Justification Form and send it to the Subaward Team along with the related SRF. This form is required, because, pursuant to California state law, the University of California is subject to competitive bidding rules. Subawards are purchases of goods and services (collaborative research in most cases) from a specific vendor/service provider. As a result, Subawards must be accompanied by a written justification explaining the circumstances for selection of the subrecipient.

Post-Award Administration of Subawards

Technical Monitoring - As the prime award recipient, UCI assumes the ultimate responsibility for the conduct and completion of the entire project. Progress reports from subrecipients should be reviewed thoroughly by UCI's Principal Investigator and discussed with the subrecipient as needed. The subrecipient will be required to furnish reports as identified in the subaward. It is important to notify the Subaward Team if the subrecipient technical progress reports falls behind schedule or is not provided.

Financial Monitoring - In accordance with the terms of the subaward, invoices should be provided to UCI on a regular basis. The Principal Investigator, in conjunction with his/her unit administrator, should review the request for payments to ensure the payment is consistent with technical progress and effort performed. The Principal Investigator must approve payment of subaward invoices before they are paid. Invoiced amounts above the dollar amount included in the subaward will not be paid, even with the approval of the Principal Investigator, until an amendment to the subaward is negotiated and executed by the Subaward Team.

There are many factors to be considered for an effective subaward recipient monitoring effort.

Principal Investigators and/or unit administrators must report any of the following to SPA as soon as possible:

  • If/when subaward recipient(s) fails to start the project in a timely manner, perform the scope of work, fulfill reporting obligations, or provide deliverables in accordance with the subaward agreement;
  • Requests from subaward recipients to change any terms of the subaward, including (but not limited to) scope of work, budget, period of performance, progress report due dates, invoicing requirements and changes in the subaward recipients principal investigator;
  • If/when subaward recipient(s) breach the terms of a subaward; and
  • Any disputes about payments, costs, and invoicing.

Principal Investigators, assisted by unit administrators, are responsible for conducting timely and appropriate financial and programmatic reviews of the technical information and invoices submitted by subrecipients. The Subaward Team can assist with securing information and invoices from subrecipients who have failed to meet their obligations under their respective subawards. However, timely notification to the Subaward Team is essential to help ensure a successful and collegial resolution to such issues.

Subaward Amendments

The Principal Investigator and his/her unit administrator will use the SRF (bottom section) to initiate any amendments/modifications to an existing subaward. Some examples of reasons for amending a subaward include providing additional funding and extension of project period, no cost extension, early termination, reduction of awarded amount, and modifying the reporting schedule. It is important to note that some changes, such as scope of work changes, change in the subrecipient's principal investigator or transferring the subaward from one recipient to another, may require the prior approval of the prime sponsor.

SRFs for amendment requests that include time extension (e.g. no cost time extension or amendment to provide additional time and funding) should be sent to SPA within (30) days of approval of extension or amendment of the prime award by SPA. Time extension requests sent after that date should be accompanied by a signed statement from Principal Investigator addressing the reasons for the delay in sending the request. The statement should be attached to the SRF.

Closing Requirements

The subrecipient is required to submit a final technical report and final invoice at completion of the agreement. In addition the Subaward Team needs to receive completed and signed copies of Exhibits D, E, and F in order to close the subaward.


See the brief March 2013 overview of new forms and procedures related to Subawards at New Forms & Procedures.

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