Subrecipients, Vendors, and Consultants

Subrecipients: Is it a Subaward or Subcontract?

Both a subaward and a subcontract are legally binding agreements between Wright State University and another organization. While a subaward is an agreement issued under a prime grant/cooperative agreement mechanism to perform a scope of work on an awarded grant, a subcontract is a contract issued under a procurement mechanism to perform a defined piece of work or production and/or the delivery of specified goods and services. 

Steps for Including Subrecipients on a Wright State University-led Proposal

Determine Nature of Relationship. Depending on the nature of the effort the third party will be undertaking, they could either serve as a vendor or a subrecipient. Review the characteristics of both vendor and subrecipient (Subrecipient or Vendor.pdf) in order to make a determination.

Information/Materials Needs. If it is decided that the third party will serve in the capacity of a subrecipient, the Pre Award Administrator will need the following items for their portion of work prior to proposal submission:

  1. Letter of Intent to Participate, signed by the organization’s Institutional Official
  2. Statement of Work
  3. Detailed Budget and Justification
  4. Copy of Current F&A Rate Agreement
  5. Subrecipient Commitment Forms (PDF) will be provided to subrecipient by Pre-Award Administrator.
  6. If the proposal is being submitted to a Public Health Service (PHS) agency AND is a basic or applied research project AND the subrecipient institution is not listed on the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) Clearinghouse as a compliant institution, then RSP will need all subrecipient personnel considered “investigators”* to complete an Annual WSU Significant Financial Interest Disclosure Form. (Provide link to form here-check with Sheila where this document is). 

    *Investigator: the term investigator means the PI, PD, and Co-I, collaborators, staff, fellows, residents and students who are responsible for the design, conduct or reporting of research, or proposed for funding such as subgrantees, contractors, collaborators or consultants.  

If it is decided that the third party will serve in the capacity of a vendor, the PI/PD will provide a final dollar figure for their vendor services to the Pre Award Administrator for inclusion on the application budget.

Wright State University Serving as a Subrecipient

RSP treats externally funded projects with Wright State University serving in a subrecipient capacity in the same manner as all proposals. The Pre Award Administrator will work in partnership with the PI/PD to complete and transmit all requested documents to the lead institution. Transmission of documents will occur upon completion of the internal routing process and adhering to RSP’s established internal deadlines for approval prior to submission.


Wright State Employees as Consultants on an Externally Funded University-led Project. Individual University employees are prohibited from serving as consultants on a Wright State University-led application for extramural funding. Instead, they should be listed as key or non-key personnel. WSU employees’ salaries cannot be listed in the Consultant line item in a budget.  Instead, they should be listed under personnel even when serving in a consultant role.

Wright State Employees as Consultants for an External Organization’s Project. If an external organization, serving as the lead applicant on a proposal, approaches a Wright State University faculty member to be a consultant, s/he can decide to either serve in this capacity as independent of the University, or select to have the University administer an agreement for the consultant work. If the work is done independent of the University, the WSU consultant is precluded from using any University resources for the conduct of the project. If the WSU consultant utilizes the University to administer the agreement, the use of University resources is allowed, and the agreement budget will include facilities and administrative costs (to the extent permitted by the external organization).

Consultant or Employee? Adapted from University Policy 9130.11, the distinction between an employee and a consultant/independent contractor focuses primarily on the amount of control the university has the right to exert on the individual. If the nature of the work structure permits the university to direct the individual on how, where, and when to perform the work tasks, then the individual is classified as an employee. However, if the individual maintains a high level of control over the work, then s/he is classified as a consultant/independent contractor.  For more information, visit the Controller’s Office web site to review the Employee/Independent Contractor Questionnaire.

To access the University’s Standard Consulting/Professional Services Agreement template, visit the Forms page on the Strategic Procurement website.