Research Administration Is. . .Offices of Sponsored Projects (Part Two)


Today’s post is the seventh in a series that looks at all facets of research administration within the Bloomberg School of Public Health. 

Part I – Preface

Part II – Faculty

Part III – Departments

Part IV – Information Systems

Part V – Offices of Sponsored Projects

Part VI – Offices of Financial Operations




Name:    Anthony Maranto

Department:   Office of Research Administration

What is your position/title:   Subawards Specialist




At what point(s) in the research administration process do you normally get involved?

The Subawards team usually does not get involved until post-award when a checklist is submitted for a new Subaward or modification. However, our team is here to answer questions at any time. Generally, we will receive questions from departmental contacts and PIs prior to checklist submission. These questions commonly deal with prior approval requirements, subrecipient vs. vendor determinations, and fixed price vs. cost reimbursable Subawards.

What are some of the more common errors that you see that end up slowing down the process?

Most of the errors we see involve Departments not submitting all of the required information necessary to issue the Subaward. Every field in the checklist should be completed. The more complete a checklist is, the easier it is for the Subs team to issue the Subaward in a timely manner, while also ensuring compliance with all of the relevant Prime Award terms. Some of the common checklist errors we typically see include the following:

  • No SAP grant #
  • No Shopping cart set up after 96IO# is issued (new subs)
  • No PO# (for mods)
  • Incomplete banking information for foreign subrecipients
  • No Subrecipient questionnaire for new entities
  • Missing or poorly written scope of work
  • Missing or incorrect budget/payment schedule
  • Comments section isn’t used to highlight any unusual circumstances with the Subaward (i.e. Special IP language, publication restrictions, etc.)

Additionally, each checklist should be accompanied by a detailed scope of work, a detailed budget and justification (if cost reimbursable) or fixed price milestone payment schedule (if fixed price), the Subrecipient’s approved and documented indirect cost rate, any sole source justifications if applicable, and completed sub questionnaires for any entity that we have never done business with (this includes domestic and foreign entities). Each questionnaire should be accompanied by supporting documentation (Subrecipient accounting policies and procedures, audits, and any other information that will help JHSPH determine  the risk rating for each subrecipient).

What advice can you give to faculty and staff members that could help make the subaward process easier?

Please involve us as early as possible. If you have any questions regarding a particular Subaward, or a general Subaward question, please ask. We both share the same goal of facilitating the research of our esteemed PIs. You can never send me too much documentation or ask me too many questions! Also, if you need any guidance regarding how to write a scope of work or a fixed price payment schedule, please let me know. We have a great deal of resources that we can provide to you simply by picking up the phone or shooting us an email, so don’t hesitate to do so!