The following guidance provides general information for acquiring and managing consulting and other professional services agreements charged to sponsored projects. Review the Award documents and the sponsor’s terms and conditions to ensure compliance with any provisions that deviate from or add to this guidance.

Determining the Relationship

It is important to determine if the relationship is appropriately established as a consulting or subaward relationship.

A consultant is an individual or entity who provides professional advice or services for a fee, but normally not as an employee of the UW. Characteristics indicative of a consulting arrangement may include the following.  

If the consultant:

  • Provides the services within normal business operations;
  • Provides similar services to different purchasers;
  • Operates in a competitive environment;
  • Provides services that are ancillary/secondary to the operation of the Award; and
  • Is not subject to compliance requirements of the award.

Characteristics indicative of a subaward may include the following.  

If the UW:

  • Determines to whom they may subaward;
  • Measures their performance against whether the objectives of the award are met;
  • Has responsibility for programmatic decision making;
  • Has responsibility for adherence to applicable compliance requirements; and
  • Uses Award funds to carry out a program for a public purpose specified in authorizing statute, as opposed to providing goods or services for the benefit of the UW.

The substance of the relationship is more important than the form of the agreement (subcontract, subgrant, subaward). It is not expected that all of these characteristics will be present in any one situation, and judgment should be used in determining whether an entity is a subcontractor or a consultant/contractor. 

Determining Allowability

The costs of consulting and professional services are generally allowable when costs are reasonable in relation to the services provided, and the service is directly allocable to the award. In addition to the Sponsor’s terms and conditions, the provisions of UW APS 32.3 "Independent Contractor Policy" are to be followed.

The rate of pay should be comparable to the normal and customary fees charged for comparable services, regardless of the source of funding.

Minimum Requirements for Consulting Agreements

  1. The specific statement of work and deliverable(s) to be provided in order to receive payment.
  2. The period of time during which the consultation will occur.
  3. The agreed-upon cost and the basis for that cost (per hour, per deliverable, including travel reimbursement, etc.).
  4. Termination provisions.
  5. Any specific provisions required by the sponsored Award agreement.

Intra-University Consulting

Consulting services provided by other UW faculty members requiring the payment of extra compensation may be allowable when all the following conditions are met:

  1. The consulting arrangement is across departmental lines or involves a separate or remote operation.
  2. The consulting arrangement is provided for in the proposal, identified in the budget or budget narrative, and specifically approved by the Sponsor.
  3. The services rendered are reasonable and conform to the established written policy of the institution consistently applied to both federal and non-federal activities; see Executive Order 59: Excess Compensation to Faculty.
  4. The department has a consistent written definition of work covered by IBS which is specific enough to determine conclusively when work beyond that level has occurred. This may be described in appointment letters or other documentation.
  5. The supplementation amount paid is commensurate with the IBS rate of pay and the amount of additional work performed.
  6. The salaries, as supplemented, fall within the salary structure and pay ranges established by, and documented in writing or otherwise applicable to, the non-federal entity.


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