Office of Sponsored Programs - 500.11 - Outgoing Subrecipient Agreements


This standard is to establish the methods and means the University uses to establish Subrecipient Agreements. These agreements are legally binding and constitute the method to enforce the requirements of collaborative relationships with other institutions.



Office of Sponsored Programs- 500.11 - Outgoing Subrecipient Agreements


This standard is to establish the methods and means the University uses to establish Subrecipient Agreements. These agreements are legally binding and constitute the method to enforce the requirements of collaborative relationships with other institutions.

Policy Statement

Subrecipients are collaborating institutions that participate on sponsored projects received by a different institution known as the Pass-through Entity. The University serves as the Pass-through Entity on all Outgoing Subrecipient Agreements. The working relationship between the Pass-through Entity and a collaborator is established through a formal agreement. This Subrecipient Agreement is legally binding and details the roles and responsibilities of both parties. The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) is responsible for issuing outgoing subagreements for sponsored programs.

This differs from work with a contractor (suppliers) who only provide goods or services. A Subrecipient completes work that influences a project programmatically for a significant portion of the work.

I. Subrecipients Versus Contractor

Subrecipients have substantive, programmatic participation in a sponsored project. This is most easily identified by their involvement in designing, directing, and conducting the research as proposed. Subrecipient identifies a representative to manage the project at their institution and they are considered key personnel on the University’s project. They are given some flexibility to conduct their portion of the research.

Contractors, also known as suppliers, are not directly involved with the scientific direction of the project. They are providing goods or services in a consistent manner for all of their business customers. There is also no independence in how they complete the activities being purchased.

II. Requirements of Subrecipient Agreements

Period of Performance

The Subrecipient Agreement must clearly state the period performance for the collaboration. Agreements may be issued for periods shorter than the project’s performance period as issued to the University by the sponsor. However, it cannot extend past the University’s performance period.

Terms & Conditions

Any agreement must include the requirements placed on the Pass-through Entity by the sponsor or the University. The sponsor requirements applied to a project received by University regularly apply to the subrecipient.

Statement of Work

Subrecipient Agreements are required to have a detailed description of what work will be completed by the subrecipient institution. This includes details on tasks, scheduling, and how they will actively collaborate with the University.

Budget & Budget Justification

The University requires all Subrecipient Agreements to include a subrecipient budget detailing the amount of expenses and a budget justification that explains the necessity of those expenses. The subrecipient’s indirect cost rate agreement is also collected, if applicable. These are used to determine the amount of funds that will be provided to the subrecipient under the Agreement.

Other Sponsor Requirements

Particular sponsors may require additional information for Subrecipient Agreements. It is important to always consult the sponsor terms and conditions and any other regulations that apply. For additional guidance, contact your OSP Contracting Officer (CO).

III. Issuing Subrecipient Agreements

Subrecipient Agreements are created by OSP in conjunction with the administrating department. Agreements are created using the relevant documentation identified by the administrating department. This is commonly the subrecipient information included in the proposal or what is revised at time of the award. If there are no further changes needed, a draft agreement is provided to the Subrecipient for review and execution. The partially executed agreement is returned to the University for signature. Once the agreement is fully executed, the Subrecipient Agreement is considered finalized and any internal financial setup is completed.

IV. Roles and Responsibilities

Roles and Responsibilities Table
Description PI DA OSP
Determine the need for a Subrecipient      
Identification and selection of Subrecipient    
Collection of Subrecipient Documentation for Proposals and Agreements    
Review of Subrecipient Documentation for Proposal and Agreements    
Review eligibility of Subrecipient Institution and Project Personnel    
Obtain Sponsor approval to work with Subrecipient    
Administer a Subrecipient Agreement from creation through execution    
Executes Subrecipient Agreements, Modifications, and Amendments    
Monitoring programmatic activities of the Subrecipient    
Monitoring the Subrecipient Expenditures  
Approval of Subrecipient Invoices    
Processing Subrecipient Invoices for Payment    
Reviewing and approving Subrecipient Invoices for Payment    
Notifying OSP of any changes needed to the Subrecipient Agreement  
Obtaining Subrecipient Documentation for Progress Reports  
Issuing Modifications and Amendments to Subrecipient Agreements    


A subrecipient is an institution that collaborates with the University to carry out part of a sponsored project. They may receive a legal agreement from the University to cover these duties or receive an award directly from the sponsor.

An entity that receives a contract for the purposes of providing goods or services through their normal business operations on a competitive basis. These are ancillary to the operation of the sponsored project and do not involve programmatic input on how the project is conducted. This is also referred to as a supplier.

Pass-through Entity:
The institution that provides a subrecipient agreement to another collaborating institution to complete a portion of a sponsored project. The University serves as the Pass-through Entity for Outgoing Subrecipient Agreements created by OSP.

A type of subrecipient agreement issued under a grant or cooperative agreement.

A type of subrecipient agreement issued under a contract.

Related Requirements

Contact Information

For questions regarding this operating standard and its related procedure, please contact

For questions regarding Pre-Award management or Post-Award administration, please contact the assigned Sponsored Projects Specialist (SPS).

For invoicing, reporting and other financial matters, please contact the assigned Sponsored Projects Accountant. OSP Staff assignments are found in RAMSeS or on the OSP website.


History Table
Date Description
07/01/2022 Revised to reflect new office name.
02/14/2022 Removing Subrecipient Commitment Form from requirements
10/27/2020 Updated 'vendor' to 'supplier' to reflect change in financial system.
05/15/2018 Revised to coincide with the release of the new OSP Website.
02/17/2010 Revised to specifically address A-110 procurement standards.

The operating standards in the Office of Sponsored Programs Operating Standards & Procedures Manual supersede any OSP operating standards, procedures and appendices previously included in the University Business Manual, a publication of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Division of Finance.



Article ID: 132315
Thu 4/8/21 9:28 PM
Fri 1/19/24 12:07 PM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Research-Office of Sponsored Programs
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Vice Chancellor
Next Review
Date on which the next document review is due.
01/19/2025 12:00 AM
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
01/19/2024 12:00 AM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
07/01/2022 12:00 AM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
07/01/2022 12:00 AM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
07/01/2008 12:00 AM