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Office of Sponsored Awards Management


Consultants & Subawards

Choosing the Right Option 

Consultant

A consultant is identified as a person (or commercial entity) with expertise necessary for the performance of the proposed project. Consultants perform similar work commercially on a regular basis. Consultant fees typically are based on an hourly or daily rate. Some federal sponsors have limits on daily rates that can be charged by consultants.  Consultants are not subject to the general terms and conditions of the prime award. The consultant's services are on a "work for hire" basis and all intellectual property or copyrightable rights are assigned to USC by the consultant. Appropriate costs include travel and housing costs in addition to the professional fee for service. Employees of USC cannot act as consultants on a sponsored project at USC. 

 

Subcontractor or Subrecipient

A subrecipient means an entity that receives a subaward from a pass-through entity (USC) to carry out part of a program or project.  Most commonly, this involves a collaborating faculty member employed by another institution or organization. Subrecipients must adhere to applicable federal compliance requirements contained in the prime award; therefore, the terms and conditions of USC's award flow down to the subrecipient organization and  are part of the subaward agreement.

 

Budgeting 

Including a Consultant in Your Budget

  • Consultant charges may include fees, travel and per diem or subsistence. These consultant costs should be included as consultant costs under the consultant or other direct costs section of the budget.
  • USC employees who participate on a USC federally funded project must be identified in the personnel line item (not under the consultant line item).
  • USC requires a letter signed by each consultant that must include the services to be provided, rate per hour or day, travel costs and the period of performance.
  • If it is necessary to specify a particular consultant in your budget, complete the USC Procurement Exemption Certification Form in USCeRA.  This certification only applies if the named consultant is essential to the success of the project and does not involve a conflict of interest. Justification must be provided. 

 

Including a Subaward in Your Budget

Each participating subcontractor must submit:

  • A separate statement of work.
  • A detailed budget and budget justification for both the initial budget period and the entire proposed project period.
  • Written confirmation from the institution indicating that all institutional requirements have been satisfied and the institution is willing to participate in the project. This document is signed by an authorized official of the institution.
  • The subcontractor's budget must include its federally approved indirect cost rate. A copy of the rate agreement should be submitted with the other documents listed above.
  • Some sponsors require a letter of collaboration/support from the investigator at the subrecipient institution.

Notes:

  • Refer to sponsor guidelines for specific subrecipient proposal requirements.
  • The total costs of the subcontract (subcontractor's direct costs + subcontractor's indirect costs) is a direct cost in USC's budget.
  • On federally funded sponsored projects USC is only allowed to charge indirect costs on the first $25,000 of the subrecipient's cost. Once this threshold has been reached, the remaining costs for the subcontracting institution should be subtracted from the direct costs before USC's indirect cost rate is applied. This will occur each of the remaining years of the project period.

Relevant Policies: