Subawards Tutorial

NCURA is proud to offer our online tutorial on subawards under Federal assistance awards. Learn at your our pace! Choose the start date that works best for you to begin your access. You will have 10 weeks to complete the lessons and 20 question multiple-choice final exam at your own pace - ALL lessons and the final exam are available from the start.

We have developed an overview of this complex process. As a primer it is intended for those new to subawards, or who have had very limited exposure. This online tutorial is focused on subcontracting programmatic effort under federal grants and other financial assistance awards. "Subcontracting" and "third party agreements" cover a wide variety of activities, too broad to be thoroughly addressed in an online tutorial. To alleviate this issue, the course has been divided into a series of lessons that deal with aspects of the subaward crucial to the Research Administrator. You will not become an expert in every aspect of subawards but you will become knowledgeable about many facets of the subawards. Upon successful completion of the course, students will:

  • Understand a subaward within the context of the larger area of research administration
  • Be familiar with important concepts and terms associated with subawards
  • Be able to review a subaward for programmatic effort under a federal grant or other federal assistance award and identify potential problems and areas in need of change in order to make the award more acceptable
  • Be able to draft a subaward for programmatic effort under a specific federal grant or other federal assistance award
  • Be able to negotiate the terms and conditions of such a subaward so that the resulting subaward contains terms and conditions that are mutually acceptable to the parties

The tutorial will offer interactive learning activities as well as knowledge reviews for each lesson. The course will end with a 20 question multiple-choice final exam, and offers a downloadable certificate of completion for those who successfully pass the final exam (80% or higher). If you do not successfully pass the final you have the option to retake the exam during your enrollment period. Students should expect to spend approximately 1-2 hours per lesson on the course material.

Lessons include:

Lesson 1: Key Terminology
Lesson 2: Context
Lesson 3: Flow
Lesson 4: Initial Determinations
Lesson 5: Parts of a Subaward
Lesson 6: Principles of Subaward Negotiation
Lesson 7: Flowdowns
Lesson 8: Administration of Subawards
Lesson 9: Staying Current
Lesson 10: Summary
Final Exam

Developed By

Steve Erickson

Stephen Erickson is the Director, Office for Research Integrity and Compliance at Boston College. A past President of NCURA, Steve has been involved in sponsored programs administration for more than 28 years at Boston College and Harvard University. Dr. Erickson is a recipient of NCURA’s Distinguished Service Award in 2004. 

Steve has been a program chair of two conferences at the national level. He has participated in professional development training sessions on the national and regional level. He was a panelist on NCURA’s Video Broadcast on "National Security Issues" in 2006. In addition, Dr. Erickson has also serves as an author or co-author on several NCURA publications including Writing and Negotiating Subawards Under Federal Prime Award; The Role of Research Administration, Second Edition 2007 and the chapter on research compliance in Sponsored Research Administration: A Guide to Effective Strategies and Recommended Practices. 

Steve has served as faculty for both the Fundamentals of Sponsored Projects Administration workshop and Sponsored Project Administration Level II workshop. Dr. Erickson received his BA from the University of Massachusetts at Boston, having double-majored in Politics and English. He was awarded his MA in 1976 and his Ph.D. in Political Science in 1978 from Tufts University..

Ruth Farrell

Ruth Farrell is the Associate Vice President for Research Administration at the University of Vermont, where she previously served as the Director of the Office of Sponsored Programs. Ruth has over 20 years experience in research administration. Over her career she has served in many capacities, from coordinator of a variety of special projects to lead medical research administrator. Ruth has been a presenter at NCURA regional meetings and a panel member at NCURA's annual meeting.

David Mayo

David Mayo has been involved in research administration for over 27 years. He is the Director of Sponsored Research at the California Institute of Technology, where he has worked since 2002. His duties include oversight of the Office of Sponsored Research, including negotiation and administration of complex sponsored awards, review and interpretation of existing and emerging federal and state policies and regulations, development of campus policies and procedures, and development and implementation of training programs for campus staff in the area of research administration.

David came to Caltech from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he had worked in research administration for over 20 years. David is also the Immediate Past President of NCURA and has been a member since 1988. David has served on several committees including the Board of Directors, International Commission, and the Nominating and Leadership Development Committee. David has participated in NCURA volunteer opportunities since 1996, presenting at wide variety of workshops and concurrent sessions including international contracting, industry contracting, subcontracting, intellectual property, award management, and policy development. He was the lead author for NCURA's federal contacting online tutorial. 

Garry Sanders

Mr. Garrett Sanders is Assistant Vice President, Research Foundation of SUNY and previously served as director of sponsored research at the Ordway Research Institute. His research administration career includes leadership positions at the University of Rochester and the National Institutes of Health. He has also served as a consultant to major research universities and institutions. Garry's career includes experience in grant and contract administration, research compliance, technology transfer, and strategic planning.

Garry has been an active NCURA volunteer and has served on the Board of Directors, and as the chair of the Professional Development Commitee and as the lead author for the clinical trials online tutorial. He received NCURA's Distinguished Service Award in 2005.

Richard Seligman

Richard Seligman is Associate Vice President for Research Administration at the California Institute of Technology. Prior to joining Caltech thirteen years ago, he spent more than twenty years in the Office of Contract and Grant Administration at UCLA. Dr. Seligman is a Past President of NCURA and also the recipient of NCURA's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research Administration in 2000.