Developing and Monitoring Subrecipient Relationships

Subrecipient Relationships

What’s Essential

When MIT is the recipient of a prime award, the collaborating institutions that are engaged by MIT to participate in carrying out a portion of the project’s scope of work and that receive funding from the prime award are known as the “subrecipients.” The award that MIT issues to the subrecipient is referred to as the “subaward,” and is processed by the OSP Subawards Team.

Why It’s Important

Subrecipients are responsible for carrying out a portion of the project’s scope of work and for complying with the terms of the prime award "flowing down" to them via the subaward. The PI is responsible for monitoring the subrecipient for compliance and for performance of the work proposed. MIT is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the project is properly performed, and that the funding is spent appropriately.

How To Comply

  • Before the project proposal is developed, discuss the relationship with your local administrator or the OSP Subawards Team to determine whether the relationship is a subaward or a vendor procurement transaction. The terms and conditions governing the relationship will differ depending on whether the relationship is properly characterized as being with a subrecipient or with a vendor furnishing goods and services.
  • If the relationship is appropriately characterized as a subrecipient relationship, only the first $25,000 of subaward expense is subject to the MIT F&A (Facilities and Administration) charge.
  • For subawards issued by MIT, the PI under the prime award is responsible for the overall monitoring of subrecipient performance, including the completeness and acceptability of work performed, reasonableness of expenditures, and fulfillment of cost-sharing commitments.
  • PIs and their administrators should monitor subawards using a combination of the following mechanisms:
    • Reporting – Review financial and performance reports submitted by the subrecipient
    • Contact – Regularly contact subrecipients about program activities and progress
    • Invoice Review – If invoices are approved, return them to the OSP Subawards Team; if invoices are disapproved, explain why so that the Subawards Team can pursue resolution

Helpful Links

OSP Subawards Team guidelines: