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Sponsored Program Subaward Administration


Office of Research
Office of Sponsored Programs


Effective December 26, 2014

Supersedes: GIM 7 (October 20, 2014)


This GIM sets out the policy and outlines procedures for the administration of subawards issued by the University under a prime agreement (contract, grant or cooperative agreement) awarded to the University.

When the University issues a subaward, it maintains responsibility to the prime sponsor for managing the funds and ensuring performance meets the expectations under the prime agreement. This policy and associated procedures are developed with the intent to manage subaward issuance, set out responsibilities related to administering subawards, and ensure compliance with federal, state and local laws that affect the performance under, and the administration of, subawards. Subrecipient Monitoring policy is covered under GIM 8.


A subaward is a special type of agreement that differs in several respects from those for the more standardized procurement of goods and services from contractors. The distinction between a subrecipient and a contractor is based on the Federal Uniform Guidance, §200.330.

The issuance of a contract to procure goods and services is managed by University Procurement Services whereas a subaward is issued by the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP).

The prime sponsor's award to the University usually includes specific authorization for the subaward. Occasionally, the need for a subrecipient's collaboration develops after an award has been made to the University. Under those circumstances, most sponsor policies require that the University obtain sponsor approval of the subaward before it is entered into by both parties.

Persons/Offices Affected

UW Principal Investigators and Departments, Subrecipients, Office of Sponsored Programs, Payables Administration, and Grant and Contract Accounting.

University Policy

To ensure compliance with the prime sponsor funding, regardless of the sponsored program funding source, the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) prepares and administers subawards in accordance with federal policy found in the Federal Uniform Guidance and sponsor policies found in the prime award to the University.

Subawards cannot be issued until the University has received and processed the prime award (e.g. the prime funding is in a "processed" status and has received a budget number) and the subaward request, subrecipient budget, budget justification, scope of work and letter of intent in a format acceptable to OSP is provided through UW Procurement systems.

Subawards may only be issued on behalf of the University by the institutional officials with delegated signature authority within OSP.

Procedures and Guidance


Accounts Payable
Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP)
Principal Investigator


Originating sponsor:
The sponsor to the University of Washington.
Prime institution:
Institution which received the sponsored agreement directly from the sponsor.
Binding legal contract between UW and another institution or entity regarding completion of part of a sponsored program.
Subawardee, subrecipient:
Institution receiving a subaward or subcontract from prime institution.

Related Resources

SubjectResource Link
Subaward Overview Office of Sponsored Programs : Subawards
Requesting a Subaward SAGE Subaward Quick Guide
Managing your purchase orders and invoicing
Monitoring Budget Numbers MyFinancial Desktop


Proposal preparation OSP 206-543-4043
Issuance of subaward OSP Subawards Team 206-543-4043
Procurement of goods or services University Procurement Services 206-543-4500

Content Creator

Office of Sponsored Programs