Outgoing Subagreements

Page Updated: September 22nd, 2017

Before contacting RSP, please review the following "Sponsored Project Outgoing Agreement Guide" document to ensure the correct agreement is selected. RSP currently issues Subawards, Shared Grants, and Regrants. If it is determined that an Academic Support Services Agreement (ASSA) is the appropriate agreement type, please contact Business Services.

RSP Preaward staff issue new subaward agreements for all new awards and competing continuations. RSP Postaward accountants issue subaward modifications for non-competing continuations that keep the same award number and project number each year.

RSP issues cost reimbursable subagreements, though in limited circumstances may issue a fixed amount subagreement if appropriate. Fixed amount subagreements require special permissions, including prior approval of the Federal awarding agency. Contact the outgoing subaward team or your accountant with questions.

Need further assistance in determining the appropriate relationship between Subrecipient and Vendor? Please see the "Subaward Determination Questionnaire".

Note: In addition to the below, the Subaward Portal has step by step directions for requesting a new subaward or a modification to an existing subagreement (both video and written instructions). For those instructions see the following for new subaward issuance and subaward modification requests respectively.

Subaward Monitoring

Subaward monitoring is a shared responsibility at UW-Madison, with the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (RSP) having primary responsibility for developing policies and procedures. UW-Madison uses the Uniform Guidance as a guiding principle for all subawards we issue, regardless of whether the agreement is sponsored by federal or non-federal funding. RSP makes a subrecipient/vendor determination, conducts a risk assessment, and completes annual subrecipient monitoring for all subawards. Subrecipients determined to be high risk may require further review, which may result in additional terms and conditions. Departmental staff and principal investigators assist RSP with ongoing monitoring and closeout activities. Click HERE to link to a document outlining the processes performed during the subaward lifecycle, staff responsible for the functions, and the systems used.

RSP Issued Subagreements

Sub-Awards State law requires that all subrecipients be specifically identified and approved by the funding agency

Establishing a New Subaward

A subaward is an agreement between the recipient of a grant or contract (the “prime recipient”) and a third party under which the third party performs a portion of the prime recipient’s research project or program. This contrasts with a vendor/contractor relationship wherein the third party is doing work that solely supports UW-Madison’s role in the project. In order to differentiate a subaward from a vendor/contractor, it is best to look at the work the third party is doing. If the third party is contributing intellectual input and doing a portion of UW-Madison’s work for the benefit of the overall project, then the agreement with the third party would generally be a subaward. If instead the third party is doing work that only supports UW-Madison’s role on the project, they would generally be considered a vendor/contractor. The RSP Checklist to Determine Subrecipient or Contractor Classification is useful in helping to make this determination.

  1. RSP receives the Notice of Award (NOA) from the sponsor.
  2. Within WISPER, campus indicates whether there are outgoing subagreements.
  3. Upon WISPER setup, WISPER will send out an email prompting campus to go to the Subaward Portal and request a new subagreement, if necessary.
  4. Within the Subaward Portal, campus will search by Award (MSN) number.
  5. Click the Hyperlink "Add New Subaward" to open the new subaward information form.
  6. Provide the information requested in the subaward information form that popsup. Necessary data includes:
    • Appropriate Project Number
    • Subrecipient Institution Name
    • Subrecipient Sponsored Project Contact Information
    • Subrecipient Principal Investigator
    • Subaward period of performance (typically we only issue one year subagreements for monitoring purposes
    • Direct costs and indirect costs for the period of performance
    • Cost share (if none, enter "0")
    • Copies of the Scope of Work and budget
    Please note: Items in the portal marked with an "*" are required. Campus will not be able to submit to RSP without those items. Additionally, in accordance with the State of Wisconsin Procurement Guideliness, sponsor approval is required prior to issuance of all subagreements. This can include inclusion of the specific subrecipient in the original proposal or a documented after the fact approval from the sponsor (via email or letter).
  7. Questions on new issuance within the subaward portal can be sent to outgoingsubs@rsp.wisc.edu. The outgoing sub-award team will then review the questions and help guide you through the portal process.
  8. Upon receiving the subaward request, RSP will keep campus informed regarding progress of the subagreement, primarily by copying the campus contact listed in the portal on all correspondence with the subrecipient.
  9. Upon successful negotation of the subagreement, the subrecipient will sign and return the subagreement to RSP.
  10. RSP will sign the subagreement and return to the subrecipient. RSP will then forward the requisition to Purchasing, and the PI/Department will be notified via an e-mail from SFS. A copy of the subagreement will be available on the "Associated Docs" tab of WISDM.
To track the status of the subaward at any time please use the Subaward Portal and open "My Subawards Pending." From there, click the "Req #" for your particular subaward to open details on the subaward, including status.

Modifying an Existing Subagreement

All subaward, shared grant and regrant modifications are currently processed by the RSP post-award accountant assigned to your award. If you have any specific questions about modifications, please contact the assigned accountant. To find your accountant please use the RSP Accountant Search.

  1. Complete a Modification Request via the Subaward Portal.
  2. If increasing fuding, have available the budget and budget justification for that increment.
  3. If a new scope of work is involved, please provide it, as well as any other changes to the original agreement.
  4. Attach, as applicable, these documents to the Modification Request and fill in all the applicable fields.
  5. Click submit via the Subaward Portal to your Dean/Division Office who, upon review and approval, will submit to the appropriate RSP accountant.
  6. The RSP Accountant will review and take the necessary action.
  7. The status of all modifications can be found on the record within the Subaward Portal.

Sub-Award FAQs

Q: What if I want to add a new subaward that was not in the original proposal?
When adding a new subaward that was not in the original proposal we need approval from our prime sponsor. This is a State of Wisconsin Law, not necessarily a sponsor requirement. Please include the prime sponsor approval of the new subaward in the portal as a document "Other."

Q: I want to issue a new subaward, what do I need to get from the recipient institution?
Scope of work, Budget (with justification) and institutional approval.

Q: What do I need to submit to RSP to get a new subaward established?
All documentation can be provided in the Subaward Portal. Specifically, we need the subaward information form completed within the portal, copies of the Scope of work, Budget (with justification) and (if you have it) institutional approval.

Q: What if I never got an email from WISPER to request subaward documents?
Please go to the Subaward Portal and follow the instructions above. The portal will work regardless of whether WISPER sent you an email.

Q: How can I monitor the status of the subaward after I submit the request to RSP?
At all stages, you can go to the Subaward Portal and select "My Subawards Pending" to see a list of subawards associated with your name (i.e. that you requested). Within that list, clicking on the Req # of the subaward you are interested in (or ?????? if it has not yet been assigned a requesition number) will bring up details regarding the subaward itself, such as where it is in the process.

Q: How can I monitor the status of a Modification once I submit all of the necessary forms?
Similar to monitoring the status of a new subaward request, you can go to the Subaward Portal and select "My Subawards Pending" to see a list of subawards associated with your name (i.e. that you requested) and see modifications you may have requested. Within that list, clicking on the "Req #" of the subaward you are interested in will bring up details regarding the subaward itself, such as where the modification is in the process.

Q: I have a five year award but RSP is issuing a new subaward each year, why?
For some non-competing continuations, separate fiscal periods require separate accounting, billing or fiscal reports (such as NIH P, T, or U mechanisms). Indicators include a requirement for a financial status report each year, carry forward is not automatic, or the award is not eligible for streamlined progress reports (e-SNAP). These non-competing continuations keep the same award number, but receive new project numbers each year. Under this type of award, RSP Preaward staff issue a new subaward agreement for each year of the non-competing cycle. Contact the outgoing subaward team or your accountant with questions.

Q: What do I do if I have a non-competing continuation that requires a new project number each year but the PI and Subrecipient are requesting a modification to their existing subaward instead of a new agreement?
Issuing a modification in this case would be an exception to our standard practices. If it is determined by the Department and PI that it would be beneficial to issue a mod instead of a new subaward, contact your RSP Postaward accountant with a justification. RSP Postaward will work with you to understand the implications and requirements before making a decision.

Shared Grants State law requires that all subrecipients be specifically identified and approved by the funding agency.

A Shared Grant is essentially a "subagreement" or "regrant" to another UW System institution. The Shared Grant Transfer of Extramural Funds applies only when the transfer of funds is related to joint participation by two or more UW Institutions in the "Scope of Work" of an extramural project (subaward), or if the other UW institution has submitted a proposal to an RFP issued by UW-Madison (regrant). A Shared Grant relationship may be determined at the time the formal grant proposal is submitted (preferred), or subsequent to the award being issued. In either instance, both institutions should have knowledge of the transaction.

Issuing a New Shared Grant

To establish a new shared grant, please follow the procedures identified above in "Subawards: Establishing a new Sub-Award."

When the information is entered into the subaward portal, the outgoing subaward team will prepare the requisition and the shared grant. RSP will e-mail the shared grant to the appropriate UW institution.

Shared Grants: Proposal Budget Submission

For purposes of proposal submission, Shared Grants are shown as a single line item in the budget (direct + indirect) and should be located in the "Other Direct Costs" or associated budget line. This is often confusing to sponsors. It is helpful if, in the budget justification, you provide an explanation that we are separate universities/colleges within a large university system, and the distribution of project funds will be handled via a "shared grant" mechanism rather than a subcontract.

The Lead Institution should NOT charge indirect costs on the Shared Grant portion of the project budget.

The sister insitution(s) receiving the Shared Grant does submit a full budget (direct + indirect), and it should be signed off on by the Authorizing Official from that institution before being submitted to the Lead Institution.

For Shared Grant transactions the following applies:

  • Both insititutions should establish a 144 or 133 account as appropriate;
  • The institution named as the primary recipient is responsible for all reporting requirements of the granting agency and for reporting the full amount of the award to the Board of Regents;
  • The primary recipient shall reimburse the subrecipient's indirect costs at the subrecipient's negotiated rate. If the shared grant was not contemplated at the time the proposal was submitted, and the primary recipient's indirect cost rate is lower than that of the subrecipient, the subrecipient must determine if they will accept the project at the rate received by the primary recipient;
  • To ensure that revenues and expenditures are not double counted with respect to the UW System as a whole, class code 3301 (Legacy) or account code 3910 (Shared Financial System) should be used by the primary recipient institution to process payment to the subrecipient. The subrecipient should deposit the payment using revenue code 9910. It is important to follow these procedures so offsetting amounts can be identified by UW-System Administration.
  • An "Agreement to Transfer Extramural Funds Between UW Institutions" should be completed by the primary recipient institution.

Transfers of Extramural Funds that do not involve "Scope of Work" transactions should use one of the other Inter-Institutional Financial Transactions Categories covered by this Policy Paper. The Institutions will not set up a 144 or 133 account and there will normally be no pass-through of indirect and cost reimbursement. The Instititutions should account for the receipt as a sale or sales credit in accordance with FAP - Internal Services Charge back (F24) depending on the appropriation from which services are being provided. This will ensure that there is no double counting of revenues and expenditures with respect to the UW System as a whole except as appropriate under generally accepted accounting principles for colleges and universities.

Normally the distinction between joint participation in a sponsored project and a sales transaction should be clear. In all cases, the nature of the agreement and not the amount involved should be the determining factor. However, in cases where the distinction may not be clear, the amount involved may be a weighing factor as follows:

  • Agreements involving more than $5,000 should be examined with particular care to ensure that joint projects are not inadvertently treated as sales and that the administrative requirements imposed by the extramural sponsor are met by all parties to the agreement.
  • If the amount of the agreement is less than $5,000, the additional administrative cost associated with administering joint projects may weight the classification decision in favor of a sales treatment.

Modifications to Shared Grants Procedures

Modifications to Shared Grants are to be handled in a similar fashion as the institutional procedures for modifying an existing subagreement under a grant. For information on issuing a modification please see the details on modifications to subawards listed above under the Subawards section.

The RSP Accountant will prepare the modification detailing only the changes to the existing Agreement. The modification will be signed by one Authorized Representative from each Institution.


Regrants are a unique funding mechanism in which a potential 'grantee' is selected from a panel to perform a project of their own design and direction. The UW department/unit will issue a Request for Proposals in which potential grantees will submit proposals. Grantee is typically adding intellectual content to their individual project, which may build on the larger aims of our (UW) prime award. Regrants can be funded by various sources, such as state awards, federal grant funds and private grant funds.

Typical Regrant Procedures

  1. Department or Division issues RFP/solicitation (based on sponsored research, gift, or other funds) to generate proposals for review by a committee (pursuant to the terms specified in the funding source).
  2. Committee selects from among the proposals submitted.
  3. Deparment makes a request for a new Subaward through the Subaward Portal. The procedure is as outlined above in "Subawards: Establishing a New Subaward" except that there will be no notification from WISPER.
  4. Attach the budget and the scope of work (which may be the entire approved proposal), and the RFP in which the grantee applied to
  5. RSP will generate the requisition with account code 5708
    Note: If the agreement is with another UW System Institution, it should be issued as a Shared Grant. Please see the Shared Grant link on the Outgoing Subagreements home page.
  6. RSP staff will generate a regrant agreement and e-mail it to the re-grantee for signature. Once signed by the regrantee, RSP will have it signed on behalf of the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System and will return a fully executed copy to the regrantee.
  7. Agreement is filed away
  8. RSP will take the requisition to UW Purchasing

At any time, if there are questions about the regrant process, an e-mail can be sent to outgoingsubs@rsp.wisc.edu.

RSP Participates in FDP Expanding Clearinghouse

UW-Madison is a participating organization in the FDP Expanded Clearinghouse. As participants, we and other institutions are expected to rely on a repository of subrecipient information housed on the FDP website, in lieu of exchanging information through subrecipient commitment forms.

The goals of the FDP Expanded Clearinghouse are to:

  • Reduce administrative burden associated with verifying standard information required for subrecipient issuance and monitoring
  • Eliminate swapping of subrecipient commitment forms completed on a transaction-by-transaction basis in favor of accessing an on-line, up-to-date standardized, streamlined subrecipient data repository (an "organization profile")

UW-Madison's organization profile is available HERE