GVSU As Subcontractor

Many faculty and staff at Grand Valley State University find that they are successful in obtaining grant support by collaborating with another university or community agency, rather than going in alone or as the lead applicant. In such situations, GVSU is not the primary applicant for the grant and is not the organization that will manage the grant.

However, even in these situations, it is important for faculty and staff to realize they just have a clear articulation of the scope of work, and their portion of the budget from the larger grant. This way, the university or organization that receives the grant can create an appropriate "sub-award" to GVSU to cover the costs of the faculty or staff member's participation. Most joint applications also require the collaborating institutions to submit a letter of agreement and support for the proposal, to include with the grant application. You will need to create a sub-award "budget" for internal approval at GVSU, and have that budget approved, together with your role in the grant, prior to submission of the proposal.

It is typical to charge both the salary and fringe benefits for that portion of your salary to the grant. If you do not put in sufficient salary, then you may not qualify for release time. Working with your Department Chair and Dean's office is critical in this regard: you need to work with real salary rates and current fringe benefit rates.

Salaries and wages for AP, COT, and student workers you would hire should be based on current levels of compensation, and include fringe benefits.

Many times a faculty or staff member working on a grant will need to travel to the other university for collaboration meetings and/or to professional meetings to report on the results of the research project. This should be calculated as closely as possible using GVSU rates for per-diem and mileage, as applicable. Also include expenses for telephone, copying, and materials.

Subcontract Procedures

If you have agreed to be a subcontractor on another university or organization's grant, please do the following:

  • Notify the Office of Sponsored Programs as this office has signature authority for all sponsored programs at GVSU.
    • Include the following documentation with your notification:
      • A completed Sponsored Program Review and Approval Form
      • A copy of the grant proposal should be included.
      • The budget and narrative
      • A timeline of the project
      • Identify GVSU's role in the project, including the individuals involved.

The Office of Sponsored Programs will review the subcontract to ensure that it reflects the mission and goals of Grand Valley State University. Upon approval, the Office of Sponsored Programs will send a letter of confirmation to the main contractor, confirming GVSU's participation. This should be done at the time the prime university or agency is submitting the proposal.

There are many legal issues involved in running a grant, particularly when it involves contracting for the services of another agency or individual. Sample subcontract documents are available through the Office of Sponsored Programs. These include sample sub-award letters of agreement and budgets for when GVSU is the subcontractor, and an independent contractor agreement and sample subcontract when GVSU is the primary grantee.