Office of Sponsored Programs
The Ohio State University


A subcontract may be required if part of the research effort under a grant or contract is to be performed by another organization. If the subcontract is part of a proposal to a federal sponsor or from federal funds, please work with the Office of Sponsored Programs sponsored program officer to determine whether the subcontractor should be treated as a vendor or subrecipient. Making the appropriate decision before proposal submission can avoid problems after the project is funded.

Subcontracts are always awarded to an organization or institution, not to an individual. Ohio State project employees cannot have financial interests in any organization receiving a subcontract. (See Conflict of Interest for more information.)

If an individual not affiliated with an organization is doing part of the work, that individual must be paid as a consultant.

Budgeting Subcontracts

In the proposal budget the total cost of the subcontract, including fringe benefits and F&A costs, is shown as a single line item. This total becomes part of the project’s direct costs. A description of what is included in the subcontract total, at the same level of detail as the proposal budget, should be provided.

Typically, the budget breakdown submitted by a potential subcontractor is signed by an official of the subcontracting institution to indicate that all institutional requirements have been satisfied. Some agencies also require a letter of collaboration from the subcontractor organization.

If funds for work at Ohio State are being included in another organization’s funding proposal (i.e., the Office of Sponsored Programs would be the subcontractor), the budget, work plan, and the Authorization to Seek Off Campus Funds (ePA-005) must be approved as usual by the chair and college, then processed through the Office of Sponsored Programs like any other proposal. Sponsored program officers will provide an official letter of collaboration and obtain required signatures.