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Researchers often wish to work with co-investigators at other institutions. Transfers of funds between institutions for use by co-investigators are variously called sub-awards, sub-grants, and sub-contracts or grant transfer agreements. They are used to clarify the obligations of each institution and to address the intellectual property issue.  SFU researchers can enter into collaborations as sub-award recipient or as sub-award provider.

Please note that not all sponsors allow sub-granting their funding. Please verify with the funder before you enter into such collaborations. The sponsor's terms and conditions or guidelines must permit the issuance of sub-agreements.

Please also check the sponsor’s terms and conditions about eligibility requirements for transferring funds. In some cases, the recipient of a sub-award must be either listed as a co-applicant on the application or on the Notice of Award and/or approved by the sponsor. 

Some Canadian sponsors will not permit grant transfers outside of Canada. The amount of funds to be transferred and the recipient's name is in many cases listed in the application budget.

Due to all the steps and correspondence required between institutions and, potentially, sponsors, researchers should allow up to one month for subgrant transfers and up to three months for transferring funds to foreign institutions via contractual arrangements.

Funds will not be released unless there is enough money in the SFU account to cover the amount to be sent elsewhere.

For both incoming and outgoing sub-awards, the principal investigator named by the sponsor will be responsible for the non-financial reporting. The lead institution is responsible for financial reporting. Please refer to the Reporting section for more information.

Transferring Funds from SFU to Co-Investigators at another Institution

When a SFU Principal Investigator (PI) collaborates with a PI in another institution (sub-recipient) to carry out a portion of a project awarded to SFU, Research Services will issue a sub-award agreement to allocate a portion of the work to be carried out at the sub-recipient institution. In these cases, the sub-recipient PI will be responsible for the design, conduct and reporting of their part of the research. The sub-recipient institution must have the appropriate facilities to be able to carry out the work, and the institution’s policies and procedures must be sufficient to ensure the responsible use of sponsored funds.

The following is the process of transferring money from SFU to another institution:

  1. You need to complete, sign, and submit a Sub-Grant Transfer Request Form to Research Services via email at outlining the amount to be transferred, for what, and to whom. After clarification of any remaining information with the grant holder, Research Services prepares a letter of agreement or contract between SFU and the recipient institution and sends this document to the research office of the recipient institution for signature.
  2. Upon receipt of the Sub-Grant Transfer Request, Research Services begins compliance checks on the sub-recipient institution. Then, Research Services determines the most appropriate type of sub-award agreement to be drafted and prepares a letter of agreement. Prime award mandated compliance requirements will be flown down to the sub-recipient.
  3. Once the sub-award agreement has been drafted, it will be provided to the SFU Research Accounting for approval.  Upon approval by Research Accounting, Research Services sends the sub-award agreement to the sub-recipient’s research office for signature.
  4. The sub-recipient’s research office will verify terms, conditions, and certification requirement. Additional negotiation of the sub-award terms may be necessary. Upon final agreement between SFU and the sub-recipient, the sub-recipient will sign the agreement and return it to SFU Research Services.
  5. Research Services will sign the returned agreement and provide a fully executed sub-award agreement to the sub-recipient and SFU Research Accounting. Research Accounting will release funds or a cheque to the sub-recipient institution for the work to commence.

SFU is accountable for all funds, including sub-awards. Research Accounting requests financial reporting from the recipient institution as required by the sponsor.