Incoming Sub-awards

An Incoming Sub-award agreement ties MSU Denver to a larger proposal submitted by another institution or group of institutions. The prime award is made to another institution or group of institutions, then a portion of it is distributed to MSU Denver to complete specific tasks as part of the larger proposal. When MSU Denver is part of a larger project, the management of funds is treated as a ‘stand alone’ project, for financial management purposes. While the Principal Investigator and OSRP may have specific technical and financial reports to submit to the larger project, internally the project is viewed financially as an independent project. Facilities and Administration Costs, or Indirect Cost Rates (ICR), are calculated on the percentage negotiated between MSU Denver and the Federal government, not the hosting institution’s rate.

All payments should be sent to Sponsored Projects Accounting and Compliance, Campus Box 98, P.O. Box 173362, Denver, CO 80217-3362, unless the sponsor is paying via EFT.

Outgoing Sub-awards

An Outgoing Sub-award is funding provided by Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver) to a Subrecipient for the purpose of carrying out a programmatic segment of a sponsored project. A Sub-award may be provided through any form of legal agreement, including an agreement that MSU Denver considers a contract. Contractors and Consultants (Fee for Service Agreements) are not classified as Subrecipients but are processed through MSU Denver Contract and Business Services. The intended use of the third party will be articulated in the approved proposal. All questions concerning Sub-awards should be referred to the OSRP Post Awards Manager. Once the proposal is awarded, Grant Compliance Accountants, Sponsored Research Managers and the Sub-award Coordinator will coordinate preparing a Sub-award agreement. The Sub-award agreement will reflect the specifics of the proposal (budget, work plan, etc.), the appropriate sponsor’s terms and conditions and the policies and procedures of MSU Denver. Since Sub-award agreements are written to assign a portion of the programmatic effort to another organization, they are responsible for managing the technical and administrative aspects of their agreement.

After an award has been made to MSU Denver, it may become necessary to issue a Sub-award that was not stated in the originally funded proposal. The Principal Investigator must prepare a letter to the sponsor that addresses the reasons for selecting a particular Sub-award to complete the work. The letter must be signed by both the Principal Investigator and an authorized official in OSP before submitting to the sponsor for their approval.

Outgoing Fixed Price vs. Cost Reimbursable Sub-awards

Cost Reimbursable  (most widely used)

  • Under a cost reimbursable sub-award, the Subrecipient invoices MSU Denver for expenses incurred under the sub-award and then is reimbursed. The expenses, as always, should be allowable, allocable, and reasonable and invoices should include MSU Denver detail for audit purposes. MSU Denver does draw-down.
  • Expenses incurred means expenses have been paid by the sub-awardee. As an example, if a sub-awardee has a bill, they must pay the bill and then submit an invoice to MSU Denver for reimbursement for it to qualify as a reimbursable cost.

Fixed Price (aka Firm Fixed)*

  • Prior approval from MSU Denver OSRP and the Controller’s Office is needed prior to requesting a fixed price sub-award rather than a cost-reimbursement sub-award.
  • By federal regulation, the total cost of each fixed price sub-award may not exceed $150,000. Under a fixed price agreement, various milestones and/or deliverables are established along with a corresponding price for each. Once a milestone is met or a deliverable received and accepted by the MSU Denver PI, the Subrecipient may invoice for the corresponding amount due.  Invoices need not include details of expenses. The first milestone/deliverable may be full execution of the subcontract which can be beneficial when dealing with entities that do not have the resources to incur expenses for later reimbursement.


  1. Prior approval from MSU Denver OSRP and the Controller’s Office is needed prior to requesting a fixed price sub-award

Office of Sponsored Research and Programs

Supporting faculty and staff fundraising goals

Phone: 303-605-5297

Email: [email protected]

Office Location:
Jordan Student Success Building (JSSB)
890 Auraria Parkway
3rd Floor – #350

Mailing Address:
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Office of Sponsored Research and Programs (OSRP)
Campus Box 4
P.O. Box 173362
Denver, CO 80217-3362