Principal Investigators (PIs) are responsible for coordinating with the consortium institution(s), including instructing them on the documents required for the subcontract, and requesting that the completed, signed subcontract package be received and submitted to the Office of Research Administration (ORA) in Research Enterprise Solutions (RES) at least 5 business days prior to submission. All subcontract packages, regardless of the sponsor, are required to have the following:

**For NIH proposals, a template of the SF424 Subaward budget will need to be extracted directly from Workspace and sent to the sub-award institution to fill out in order to upload it directly to the workspace. Otherwise, the sub-award’s budget will need to be data entered.

  • Detailed Budget Justification
  • Additional documents will be required, depending on solicitation requirements and the sponsor. You can find a list of those additional documents for common sponsors such as National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Energy (DOE), and Department of Defense (DOD) on the sponsor specific checklists.

It is the PI’s responsibility to correctly categorize external contributors participating in a proposed project. If you are unsure of how to categorize an external contributor, please consult the video and table below.

Differentiating Between Subawards, Consultants, and Vendors


Subaward / Subcontract 1Consultant2Vendor3
An entity that has agreed to work in collaboration with the UMass Lowell PI to perform research.An individual or entity whose expertise is required to perform an element of the project.An individual, business, or entity that supplies products or services to UMass Lowell.
A Subawardee PI is considered a Co- PI of the project. Both entities have PIs involved, though UMass Lowell is the lead organization;A Consultant is an entity that provides guidance or shares technical expertise on a specific aspect of the scope of work;A Vendor provides similar goods and services to multiple customers as part of their routine business operations;
A Subawardee has a significant role under a sponsored project and engages in a reciprocal relationship with UMass Lowell to perform a portion of the Statement of Work that is in the Prime Award;A Consultant most often operates in a competitive environment;A Vendor competes for customers with other like providers;
A Subawardee has responsibility for internal programmatic decision-making and design;A Consultant’s fee is based on an hourly or daily rate which is provided and explained in a Consultant rate proposal;A Vendor’s services are ancillary to the scope of work. A Vendor provides a good or service that is narrowly constrained or defined, normally a one-time procurement.
A Subawardee is responsible for assisting UMass Lowell in meeting the goals of the project;A Consultant’s services are on a “work for hire” basis and all intellectual property or copyrightable rights are assigned to UMass Lowell by the Consultant;A Vendor does not retain copyright or intellectual property rights to the deliverables;
A Subawardee has its performance measured in relation to the larger project goals of the proposal and objectives of the program being funded;A Consulting Firm is a commercial entity whose regular business activity is to provide services similar to those proposed under the current project to many different purchasers.Cost sharing is not required of a Vendor;
A Subawardee is responsible for adhering to applicable Federal programmatic compliance and reporting requirements;An IndividualConsultant is a non-UMass Lowell employee hired to provide technical expertise in support of a sponsored research project. As a general rule, the activities performed by a non-UMass Lowell faculty member who is named as an individual Consultant in a proposal must fall outside of the individual’s normal academic duties and cannot make use of his/her institutional facilities, personnel or students. If these criteria are not met, then the faculty member’s home institution should appear as a Subcontractor in UMass Lowell’s proposal rather than an individual Consultant.Joint authorship of publications is not sought by Vendors;
A Subawardee will likely retain intellectual property and copyright to the work produced by the Subcontractor’s personnel; may coauthor an article in a professional research journal.UMass Lowell is responsible for ensuring the work of the Consultant meets any and all compliance requirements.The general terms of the Prime Award do not flow down to the Vendor, although UMass Lowell is responsible for ensuring the services and products provided meet any and all compliance requirements.
1 UMass Lowell does not issue Subcontracts to individual persons; only to a company or organization.
2 A Consultant may be an individual or commercial entity. Work may be contracted through a Contract for Services or other procurement vehicle.
3 A Vendor is issued a Purchase Order based on a request sent by an administering unit to the University’s Procurement Office.