Collaborating with Others Pre-Award

Collaborating with Others

On occasion, the necessary expertise to accomplish a project’s goals are not readily available. Such gaps of knowledge may be filled by engaging investigators or scholars at other schools and colleges within SU, or from external universities or institutions.  These collaborations are ordinarily included in the proposal to clearly and strongly convey that all members of the project team are qualified and capable of doing the work proposed.

Early considerations vary depending on the type of collaborator and the depth of their input into the planned work.  Considering these components in advance allow for a stonger proposal and a smoother transition in the event the proposal results in an award.  Specific considerations can be found at the links below;

Internal Partners (SU employed colleagues)

Consider the following:

  • Consider personnel – Identify role of each collaborator – Co-PI, Investigator, Non-Key Support, Service Center; what level of effort will be contributed, will it be paid, unpaid, cost shared?
  • Identify need for separate budgets – it may be advantageous to address budget issues related to multi-school/college collaborations in advance.  This may be particularly helpful when dividing indirect costs between parties and when working with dually appointed faculty members.
  • Identify who is required to sign the IRR – Internal Collaborators along with the applicable Chairs, Center Directors and Deans must sign the IRR acknowledging that they will be collaborating on the proposed project in the event of award.
  • Does the Proposal require a letter of Intent from Co-PI or Senior Personnel – In some circumstances the proposal may require letters of commitment for Co-PI or Senior Personnel proposed for work on the project.

External Partners (non-SU) or Third Party Collaborators

External collaboration can take two forms; Subrecipient or Contractor as defined in CFR 2 Part 200.330 Subrecipient and contractor determinations.  The table below identifies the characteristics of each.  Identifying the type of external collaboration in advance will assist in gathering required documents and in the budget development process.

Subrecipient Characteristics Contractor/Consultant Characteristics
Work to be performed will be self-directed with minimal direction from Syracuse University. Syracuse University is buying a service that will support the project.  Syracuse will also provide a high level of direction regarding the work being performed.
May determine who is eligible to receive federal assistance Provides the specified goods and services within their normal business operations.
Performance will be measured in relation to whether objectives of the prime sponsor have been met Provides the specified goods and services to many different purchasers.
Are responsible for programmatic decision making Normally operate in a competitive environment.
Are responsible for adherence to the prime award requirements Engaged to provide goods and services that are ancillary to the operations of the prime award.
Will use the funds to carry out a program for a public purpose specified in the prime award. Will provide services for the benefit of Syracuse University.

Whether working with internal or external partners, it is important to clearly define the details of the collaboration. The SU PI/PDs and their collaborators should come to consensus about the work to be performed and the funds or budget to be allocated to each partner as early as possible in the proposal development process.  Clarity about whether budget amounts are for total costs (direct + indirect) or direct costs only is particularly critical.

At the proposal stage, Subrecipients shall submit:

  • Either the Subrecipient Commitment form or a letter of intent to collaborate containing comparable information, which has been signed by an authorized institutional official (NOTE: this is ordinarily not the PI/project director at the partner institution);
  • Any other documentation that may be required by the application guidelines (e.g. current and pending support, biographical sketches, etc).
  • Statement of Work should include:
    • Name of the PI(s)/Consultant;
    • Period of performance;
    • What, if any, additional project staffing will be needed;
    • What the project hopes to accomplish;
    • Where the work will be conducted;
    • What the measurable activities and tasks are, defined in a sufficient level of detail such that one can determine if the objectives are met;
    • What are the estimated milestones;
    • What, if any, special resources are required; and
    • When meetings are to occur and reports required, as applicable.
    • Budget and Budget Narrative

At the proposal stage, the Contractor/Consultant shall submit:

  • A letter of intent to collaborate five business days prior to proposal submission that describes:
    • the service to be provided;
    • cost of the service in the form of a quote or reference to published rates or a description of costs including:
      • the number of days of service involved (per year, if applicable),
      • the daily rate of compensation
      • whether travel will be separately itemized