The Office of Sponsored Programs issues agreements to subrecipients who collaborate with NYU personnel on sponsored projects. Here you will find the resources to determine if your proposed collaborator should be classified as a subrecipient or a contractor and how to include the collaborator in your proposal, how the agreement to the collaborator will be generated if an award is issued, and how OSP can help you manage your relationship with the collaborator.

When NYU is acting as the Pass-Through Entity, submitting the proposal to, and accepting the award from, the prime Sponsor, NYU needs to determine how to classify any proposed collaborators. The Subrecipient vs. Contractor Guide below is designed to help make this determination. NYU Personnel should visit the following OSP wiki pages detailed instructions on how subaward agreements are issued to a collaborating institution and how to issue independent consultant agreements.

Subrecipient vs Contractor Guide

The following checklist is based on 2 CFR 200.331 and is designed to help PIs and Departments determine whether a proposed collaborator is a subrecipient or a contractor.


  • Issued a subaward or subcontract via Office of Sponsored Programs
  • Uses sponsor funds to carry out a substantive portion of program or project as opposed to providing goods or services
  • Has its performance measured against meeting the objectives of the program or project
  • Has responsibility for programmatic decision making
  • Has responsibility for adherence to applicable sponsor program compliance requirements
  • Key personnel are identified by name in the proposal to the prime sponsor


  • Also known as a vendor or consultant (issued a purchase service agreement via procurement)
  • Provides goods and services within its normal business operations
  • Provides similar good or services to many different purchasers
  • Operates in a competitive environment
  • Provides goods or services that are ancillary to the operation of NYU's sponsored project
  • Is not subject to the compliance requirements of the sponsor award

At any time during the proposal process, if the PI/Department is unsure as to whether a proposed collaborator should be classified as a subrecipient or a contractor, please reach out to your project officer and your assigned contracts team member. Selecting the best type of collaboration at the proposal stage will ensure the budget is correct and allow NYU to seek any approvals needed from the Sponsor to issue an agreement to a third party.

The resources below support the effective issuance and management of subawards for sponsored projects at NYU.

This policy provides current best practice guidance to the NYU research community in the development, execution, managing and monitoring of subawards while promoting compliance with OMB Federal Uniform Guidance Requirements.

This resource provides a comprehensive overview of NYU processes and procedures for issuing subawards inclusive of determining the need for a subaward, assessing the capacity of subrecipients, optimizing programmatic performance and ensuring administrative and financial compliance.

The SOI (PDF) is designed to document institutional authorization of collaborative proposals and the commitments made therein. A completed SOI must accompany each proposal where NYU is collaborating with another entity.

The FDP Expanded Clearinghouse is a database of publicly available organizational profiles that facilitates Pass-Through Entities' obligations regarding monitoring subrecipient entities and issuing subwards. NYU was a member of the pilot for this initiative and actively participates in the ongoing program.