Home | Subrecipient vs. vendor/contractor vs. consultant

What category does your proposed agreement fall into?

Review the statements below to help you determine which category best fits your proposed agreement.

See also, the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) Subrecipient vs Contractor Checklist, posted on the FDP Subaward Forms page.

Subrecipient (aka subaward/subcontract)

An entity that has agreed to work in collaboration with the ASU PI to perform a substantive portion of the programmatic effort on an award.

  • Works collaboratively with the ASU PI as a co-investigator at another entity to which funds are being passed.
  • Has authority to make administrative and programmatic decisions and to control the method and results of work
  • Has responsibility to meet all applicable sponsor requirements
  • Has performance measured against meeting the program objectives
  • Are designated senior/key personnel in the proposal-may be a Co-PI
  • Uses sponsor funds to carry out a program rather than provide a good or a service
  • Has responsibility for the end results of the research effort
  • Services are complex and require a scope of work and budget, billing requirements, and a deliverable schedule
  • The entity’s statement of work may represent an intellectually significant portion of the programmatic decision making
  • The entity’s work results may involve intellectual property and/or may lead to publications
  • Needs animal and/or human subjects approvals for its independent portion of the work
  • Requires a separate budget and budget justification in the application

If the statements above best describe your proposed agreement do the following.

At proposal time, attach the following documents to the Funding Proposal site in ERA:

If the subaward was not included at proposal time, complete an ERA Award Change Request and attach the documents included above to begin the process of securing prior sponsor approval and setting up the subaward.

If additional information or forms are needed, the assigned PNT Subawards GCO will contact the unit.

Vendor (aka contractor)

An individual, business or other entity which supplies products or services to the University.

  • Provides similar goods or services to different purchasers
  • Does not make program decisions or take actions that impact a program’s overall success or failure
  • Is not subject to sponsor compliance regulations
  • Goods and services are ancillary to the program
  • Provides goods or services as part of their normal business operations
  • Competes with comparable entities to provide the same goods and/or services
  • Is not responsible for research results
  • There is no scope of work
  • Goods and services are billed according to the vendor/contractor’s established rates
  • The goods and services are secondary to the central purpose of the project
  • No potential for patentable or copyrightable technology to be created through project from activities of the entity
  • Performs services only (no analysis or discretionary judgment)
  • No one individual providing goods and services is identified

If the statements above best describe your proposed agreement, do the following.

See the Purchasing Procedures Guide for information on how to process the vendor/contractor service needed.

External consultant

An individual or business whose expertise is required to perform the project. Services are temporary and special or highly technical.

  • An individual or business outside the project who confers with the PI regarding research objectives
  • Does not develop the objectives of the project
  • Is not responsible for the overall outcome of the project
  • Is not responsible in designing or developing the research
  • Is not responsible for conducting the research
  • Is not responsible for reporting the research
  • Is not essential toward the shape, direction, and completion of the project
  • Receives a fee for their services not a salary
  • Provides similar services to other organizations
  • Does not serve as senior personnel – e.g., Co-Investigator, Principal Investigator, etc
  • Will not use university resources. Provides its own work area, tools, materials, and supplies
  • ASU defines the scope of work
  • Consultant determines how to accomplish the work
  • Is not considered an employee of the University and therefore is not eligible for workers compensation, liability coverage, or unemployment
  • Payment is based upon completion of specific work, rather than time worked

If the statements above best describe your proposed agreement, do the following.

Follow the procedures outline on the Purchasing website related to retaining consultants and independent contractors.

Consultant Letter of Commitment

Intra-university consultant

An ASU employee whose expertise is temporarily required to perform the project.

  • Is above and beyond the employee’s regular ASU duties AND
  • Services are provided outside normal work hours AND
  • Is not named as an investigator on the project AND
  • Is not an employee of the project AND
  • Is performed for a department, center, or academic unit other than the employee’s assigned department OR
  • Is performed at a remote location

If the statements above best describe your proposed agreement, do the following.

Review WI-EP-130 [NEED LINK] and complete the Additional Pay Web Form prior to making a commitment to the ASU employee.