Collaboration Guide: When JMU is the Lead Institution

Subrecipient or Contractor?

This determination is made on a case-by-case basis based on the characteristics of the entity.  Not all characteristics need to be or will be present to determine whether the entity/individual is a subrecipient or contractor.  An entity's classification may change from one project to the next, depending on the scope of work involved.

Making the Determination

For each external entity in a proposal, the Principal Investigator (PI) mustcomplete the Subrecipient or Contractor Checklist and email it to the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP).

Using the completed checklist, OSP will make a final determination on whether the work will be performed under a subaward or under a procurement contract.

If the entity/individual is a contractor:

If the entity/individual is a subrecipient:

  • Please provide collaborator contact information to OSP, so we may assist in coordinating required subrecipient materials prior to proposal submission.
  • Required subrecipient materials are specified below
  • If awarded, JMU’s PI will be responsible for monitoring the activities of the subrecipient affecting the project.  The subrecipient should submit progress reports, technical reports and other deliverables to the PI by specified due dates. The PI is responsible for forwarding copies of the subrecipient’s progress report and/or technical report(s) to the prime awardee if required and providing a copy to OSP for file copies.
  • The PI is also responsible for reviewing and approving invoices from subrecipient for adherence to the budget and reasonableness to the work accomplished as noted by the technical reports. The signature of the PI on the invoice indicates that the review has taken place and that the invoice adheres to budget.  Records relating to each subrecipient must be retained for up to 5 years after the project closeout unless the sponsor requires a longer period.

Subrecipients Materials

The list below indicates what is needed from collaborators before proposal submission when JMU is the lead institution. Always check the specific guidelines and contact OSP if uncertain what additional items are needed.  Samples and templates may be available on the Forms, Tools and Resources page.


  • Completed Subrecipient Commitment Form - signed by an Authorized Official who has been delegated the legal authority to commit the organization to a binding agreement
  • Statement of Work – used as the basis of the subaward agreement and must include the role and responsibilities of the organization to the project including objectives, tasks, and deliverables
  • Line-Item Budget – sponsor budget forms must be used when available and the budget must be separated by funding year
  • Budget Justification – written narrative that clearly explains each line item requested
  • Subrecipient Contacts – Federal Demonstration Partnership FDP Attachment 3B Forms Page 1 and Page 2 (if applicable)
  • F&A Agreement – a copy of the organizations federally negotiated indirect costs rate agreement (NICRA) is required if indirect costs are included in the budget, otherwise the de minimis rate of 10% of modified total direct costs will be applied
  • External Collaborator Certification – required if applying for federally funded research including federal flow-through funds, Public Health Service funds, or Environmental Protection Agency funds from all subrecipient individuals who are partially responsible for the design, conduct or reporting of the project


  • Biosketch/CV – completed in sponsor required format
  • Current and Pending Support – completed in sponsor required format
  • Facilities, Equipment, and Other Resources – completed in sponsor format describing the facilities, equipment, and other resources already available from the subrecipient institution for the project
  • Letter of Commitment – must be on letterhead and signed by the organization’s AOR, including the monetary amount of committed match (if applicable), plans to participate and accept a subaward from James Madison University in accordance with the approved statement of work and budget, and commitment to abide by all associated terms and conditions if awarded

Additional requirements may apply should your project include human or animal subjects.

The above items should be approved by the respective institutions/organizations and then forwarded seven (7) business days before the sponsor deadline to the Office of Sponsored Programs by email at


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