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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about Subawards

  • Can I add a new subaward that was not in the original proposal?

    It depends on the prime award. If the award is from NIH, we must get permission when adding a foreign subrecipient. Where NIH is the sponsor, we must also get approval for adding any new Fixed Price subagreement, or modifying a Cost Reimbursable Subagreement to a Fixed Price. Other prime awards may or may not require approval. Your Subawards Team member will review the prime award and work with you to make this determination.

  • Can I have a fixed price subaward on a cost reimbursable prime award?

    In most cases, yes. The payment type of the subaward does not have to match the payment type of the prime award. There may be other sponsor restrictions on issuing a fixed price subaward, however, including prior approval or a dollar threshold. Contact the Subawards Team for more information.

  • Can I have a subaward to the same entity if the Statements of Work are completely different?

    Yes.

  • How can I monitor the status of a modification once I submit all of the necessary forms?

    You will receive update emails from the Subagreement Checklist System, which will reflect the current status of the modification.

    The Subagreement Checklist System will send you automatic emails: when the sub checklist has been assigned; when the subaward is sent to the subrecipient; when JHU receives the partially executed back from the subrecipient; and when the subaward is fully executed and sent back to the site. The Subagreement Checklist System is available to allow departments read-only access to see what stage the subaward is currently in.

  • How can I monitor the status of my subaward?

    You can access the Subagreement Checklist System to check the status. Additionally, you will receive update emails from the Subagreement Checklist System, which will reflect the current status of the aaction, both for new subawards and modification of existing subawards.

    The Subagreement Checklist System will send you automatic emails at the following times:

    1. when the checklist has been assigned within JHURA to the individual who will draft the action
    2. when the subaward action is sent to the subrecipient for review and partial execution
      (usually same date as “all documents received”)
    3. when JHU receives the partially executed subaward action back from the subrecipient
    4. when the subaward action is fully executed internally within JHURA
    5. when the fully executed Subaward action is sent back to the subrecipient
      (with PO# if new Subaward). The Subagreement Checklist System is available to allow non-JHURA users to see the stage at which the subaward action stands in “read-only” format.
  • My subaward has ended. How do I remove my remaining encumbrance?

    JHURA is responsible for removing the encumbrance from the PO once the end date of the subaward has passed and the final invoice has been submitted and paid. Please send an email to the member of the Subawards team responsible for deobligating the remaining amount on the PO, currently Zach Tolley, ztolley1@jhu.edu.

  • Subaward vs. Vendor/Contractor

    The Uniform Guidance, 2 CFR Part 200.330 sets forth the criteria to determine whether a collaborator is a subrecipient or a vendor/contractor.

    Sponsored project awards made to JHU are generally conducted within the physical boundaries of JHU by University faculty and staff. Occasionally, however, a significant portion of the required work may need to be provided outside the University by a third party. The third party is made responsible for a discrete portion of the project award, providing the leadership and direction of a responsible investigator and the resources necessary to conduct that portion of the work. Costs associated with this work may include personnel costs, supplies, equipment, travel, and overhead. Such an arrangement is carried out through the issuance of a subaward.

    Comparatively, a contractor is an entity which performs the service it is offering to JHU to other customers in a commercial market. A contractor generally will not own anything it creates nor will it seek to publish.

    Subawards are handled through JHURA; contractor agreements are handled through Purchasing.

    If you have any uncertainty on the classification of the collaborator, please be in touch with Subawards team member.

  • What do I do if I have a non-competing continuation (from HHS) that changes the award from a “G” account to a “P” account and an existing subaward needs to be modified?

    You will need to submit the modification as a NEW SUBAGREEMENT in the Subagreement Checklist System. The prime award will have a new SAP grant number, and therefore the subaward will need to obtain a new PO number. You also will need to set up a shopping cart to obtain a new 96IO number for the new PO number.

    Please note in the “Verify and Submit” field of the Checklist that this is for a G to P, so that this action can be clearly identified as a modification even though the checklist says “new.”

    Also, please note in the “Verify and Submit” field if there is approved or restricted carry forward into the new PO, so that this can be noted in the action, and note the amount that you anticipate will be in the shopping cart.

  • What do I need to submit to JHURA to get a new subaward established?

    For a NEW Subaward, you must enter a record into the Subagreement Checklist System and attach:

    1. Subaward Determination Form (Learn more about this form in our Quick Guide)
    2. Subrecipient scope of work
    3. Budget with justification for cost-reimbursement subawards,
      or a milestone payment schedule for fixed price subawards
    4. Financial questionnaire, if new to JHU (see Controllers Risk Rating Spreadsheet)
    5. If approval is required for the Subaward, and you have such approval, please attach notice

    The prime award must already be set up in SAP.

  • What issues in a subaward are usually the most troublesome, and may require negotiation with the subrecipient?

    We have found that issues around intellectual property ownership and control of publications can be sticking points. See the Contracts Quick Guide for more information about JHU policies regarding these subjects.

  • What turnaround time can I expect to get my subaward issued?

    Average turnaround times change based on our volume at any given time, but, generally, your new subaward should go out the door to the subrecipient approximately three to four weeks after you submit the request via the Subagreement Checklist System. If the information in the checklist is not correct or is incomplete, however, the turnaround time will increase. Generally your subaward modification turnaround time should be within three weeks.

Frequently Asked Questions about Proposal Development

  • How do I set up a National Science Foundation (NSF) FastLane account?

    NSF now allows self-registration for a FastLane account. For a demonstration, please view this Video Tutorial from NSF. Frequently Asked Questions about setting up an account for FastLane are answered Here. If you have any questions, please contact your assigned Grants Associate.

  • I cannot remember my eRA Commons password, how do I obtain a new one?

    Contact your assigned Grants Associate who can go into eRA Commons and re-set your password for you. A generated email from eRA Commons will be sent to you automatically with a link to create a new password.

  • Is cost sharing allowed on my proposal?

    It depends. For Federal Agencies, the answer is almost always no unless specifically required in the program announcement.  All sponsors asking for a cost share commitment, approval needs to follow your schools cost share approval policy.  If you are unclear of your schools policy please contact your JHURA representative.

  • What are the current Federal Facilities and Administrative rates (F&A) for JHU?

    You can click on the link here to see JHU’s latest Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (“NICRA”) which includes the current F&A rates for the University. *Anticipated rates for fiscal years not listed on the rate agreement should not be used for proposal budgeting.

  • What are the minimum requirements for a COEUS record?

    Please see the link to our policy here.

  • What is JHURA’s Proposal Submission Policy?

    The complete and final proposal, including all the necessary School-level approvals, certifications and representations, as well as any other attachments or approvals required by the sponsor or the University, must be received by JHURA at least three (3) full business days prior to the sponsor’s due date.

    See the full policy here.

  • Who is authorized to execute sponsored agreements for the university?

    Alexandra M. Albinak, Associate Vice Provost for Research Administration, and certain delegates within JHURA, have the authority to sign agreements relating to research and related services conducted under JHURA purview, including without limitation: contracts, grants, cooperative agreements, subcontracts and contracts for goods or services that support such research activities at the University.

  • Who is eligible to serve as Principal Investigator (PI) in a proposal?

    Eligibility varies by School. Generally speaking, Professor Track faculty, Scientist Track faculty and, in some cases, Research Associate Track faculty can be listed as Principal Investigator (PI) on projects. Post-docs can only be listed as PI on post-doc fellowships. Graduate students cannot be PIs on proposals or awards. Contact your JHURA Associate for more information.

  • Who should be listed as the Authorized Official on my proposal?

    In most cases it can be your JHURA Grants or Contracts Associate. If the authorized official will also be the person responsible for signing the award then you should list:

    Alexandra M. Albinak, MBA, JD

    Associate Vice Provost for Research Administration

    Johns Hopkins University Research Administration (JHURA)

  • Who should I contact for an NIH eRA Commons account?

    You will need to fill out the eRA Commons Access Request form and submit it to jhura@jhu.edu.

     

Frequently Asked Questions about Award Management

  • A sponsor wants the right to approve publications resulting from a research project, is this okay?

    No. As a policy matter, the University must retain the right to publish its research without the prior approval of the sponsor.  However, we may be willing to allow the sponsor 30 –90 days to review any proposed publication to make sure that no confidential information is inadvertently disclosed.  In addition, if a student dissertation will be supported by a contractual agreement, no delays on publications supporting the dissertation are permitted without the General Counsel’s Office approval.

  • Do you have an agreement template that can be sent to a sponsor?

    Absolutely. JHURA has developed and maintains a library of model agreements that can be adapted to most situations. It is the strong preference of JHURA that these model agreements be utilized whenever possible, in order to minimize negotiation and expedite the review and signature process, reach out to your JHURA representative early in the process.

  • Does JHURA handle contracts and grants for the entire University?

    No. JHURA is the central research administration office at the University and is responsible for the Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Whiting School of Engineering, Jhpiego, the School of Education, the School of Nursing, the Carey Business School, the Peabody Institute, the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and other centers and institutes. Both the School of Medicine and the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences are serviced by their own divisional Offices of Research Administration.

  • How can I check the status of my agreement?

    Departmental personnel wishing to ascertain the status of any agreement being processed by JHURA may log into the JHURA Agreement Workflow System (JAWS), which can be found here.

  • How long will it take to get my agreement signed?

    There are a variety of factors that can affect the amount of time it takes to get agreements finalized and signed. These may include, but not be limited to, whether the sponsor has engaged contractually with the University previously; the nature of the sponsor (i.e., University, non-profit corporation, for-profit corporation, foundation, government agency); whether a JHURA model agreement is being utilized; whether JHURA has all information needed to understand the context of the project; the specific terms and conditions at issue; whether additional review is needed by an office other than JHURA (i.e. The Office of General Counsel, the Office of the Provost, The Office of Risk Management, the Institutional Review Board, etc); and whether the delay is on the part of the sponsor. JHURA does maintain an Agreement Review Process timeline that provides the general expected timeframes for reviewing agreements.

  • In a contract between the University and a corporate partner, is the Principal Investigator considered a party to the contract?

    No. The Principal Investigator is the University’s Project Director for that contract, but the actual parties to that contract would be the corporate partner and the University. This is true for all sponsor types, not just corporate partners.

  • What are the differences among fixed price and cost reimbursement agreements?

    Fixed price (FP) agreements have fixed payments based on a milestone payment schedule or the submission of deliverables. Cost reimbursement (CR) agreements are paid as costs are incurred and invoiced, typically monthly or quarterly. One significant difference between fixed price and cost reimbursement agreements is the allocation of risk. With FP agreements, the University assumes greater risk while the sponsor bears the greater risk with CR agreements. FP is appropriate if there can be a clear scope of work, a solid cost estimate, and well-articulated deliverables. These FP agreements, which involve lower administrative burden, are commonly used by for-profit sponsors and foreign entities. CR agreements are used where the work being performed cannot be precisely defined or the cost precisely estimated, which applies to much of the sponsored research projects the University undertakes. CR agreements are commonly used by other educational institutions, hospitals, and non-profits. They allow for greater flexibility, as additional funding or period of performance may be added as mutually agreed upon, and performance of the scope of work continues until funds or period of performance is exhausted.

  • What are the roles and responsibilities of JHURA, faculty and departmental staff, and Sponsored Projects Shared Services?

    Each of these functional areas plays an important part in the life cycle of an award. In the pre-award stage, the faculty member has principle responsibility for identifying funding opportunities, with JHURA’s Research Development team providing assistance as to limited submissions. The departmental administrative staff would then work with the faculty member in developing a proposal. Once completed, the departmental staff routes the proposal to JHURA through Coeus for review and approval. When an award is received, JHURA receives, reviews and negotiates (as needed) the award document, and signs on behalf of JHU. Post-award, JHURA routes the fully executed agreement to Sponsored Projects Shared Services (SPSS) for account set-up. During the life of the award, each of JHURA, SPSS and the academic department perform award management functions, such as issuing subawards, invoicing, and submitting required reports to the sponsor, respectively.

  • What is the difference between JHTV and JHURA, and how do I know which office to contact?

    JHURA is the central research administration office for the University. It reviews issues in sponsored project agreements, one of which is protecting the University’s intellectual property (IP) rights by including appropriate IP provisions in contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements. Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures (JHTV) is the University’s intellectual property administration center, serving University researchers and inventors as a licensing, patent, and technology commercialization office and acting as a liaison to parties interested in leveraging University research or materials for academic or corporate endeavors.

  • What kinds of support does JHURA offer?

    JHURA facilitates the submission of sponsored project proposals on behalf of JHU by reviewing for compliance with University, sponsor and federal policies and regulations, approves and signs proposals prior to submission, negotiates and executes agreements, provides coordinated advice and guidance regarding applicable rules and regulations, and assists faculty, staff, and students in proper stewardship of the University’s sponsored projects.

  • What types of agreements are not handled by JHURA?

    JHURA does not handle the procurements of goods and services from vendors, as this is the responsibility of the University’s Supply Chain Shared Service Center. Additionally, philanthropic gifts directed to the University are processed through divisional Offices of Development. Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures (JHTV) handles all Material Transfer Agreements for the University.

  • What’s the difference between contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements?

    Contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements are the three most commonly used instruments through which the University accepts sponsored funding. The purpose of a grant is to provide assistance; there is generally little involvement by the sponsor, and the award instrument refers to general terms and conditions. Cooperative agreements also provide assistance, but with substantial sponsor involvement, typically described in a set of specific terms. The basic purpose of a contract is to procure tangible good and services through an acquisition. The involvement by the sponsor may be extensive and the award instrument will contain detailed specifications, clauses, regulations, and expected results and deliverables.

  • Who can sign an agreement on behalf of the University?

    The authorized signatory for sponsored research agreements (contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements), as well as certain non-sponsored agreements (i.e. data use agreements, teaming agreements, material transfer agreements, nondisclosure agreements, memoranda of understanding) is the Associate Vice Provost for Research Administration (AVPRA), the Executive Director, or those staff members within JHURA to whom the AVPRA has delegated signature authority.

  • Who should I contact in JHURA and when?

    While you may contact any member of JHURA regarding your matter, please know that JHURA is comprised of four primary teams: the Workflow Team, the Proposal Team, the Agreements Team, and the Subawards Team. For the convenience and reference of the University community it services, JHURA maintains a Departmental Assignment list, complete with contact information, which can be found here. As we like to say in JHURA, please get in touch with us as early and as often as possible regarding proposed sponsored research projects.

Frequently Asked Questions about Compliance & Risk Management

  • Can I be held personally responsible, acting as a JHU employee, for violations of U.S. export control regulations?

    In some instances, yes.  If the U.S. Government believes that a tangible item or information has been exported to another country in violation of U.S. law, then it will investigate to determine how and why the export took place.  If it can be shown that you arranged for an unauthorized shipment of an item to another country, then you may be asked to account for your actions.  If it is then found that the unauthorized export was unintentional, for instance due to an oversight on your part, or insufficient training or screening practices generally at JHU, then JHU will likely be the only party that will be held accountable and may be subject to a warning or some kind of penalty (e.g., a fine).  If, however, it is found that you intentionally shipped an item, knowing that to do so was unauthorized, then you could be incarcerated and/or required to pay criminal fines.

  • How do U.S. export control regulations treat foreign persons who have Green Cards?

    U.S. export control regulations generally treat Lawful Permanent Residents (people who have “Green Cards”) as though they are Americans.  For instance, an Iranian citizen might not be able to access certain devices or technical know-how in one of our labs until she became a Lawful Permanent Resident.  The same approach would apply if she were lawfully in the U.S. under special protection, such as is offered to those who are allowed to stay in the U.S. as refugees, or those who have been granted asylum.

    However, please note that the U.S. Government may take an interest in Lawful Permanent Residents who are citizens of certain countries and with whom we expect to share certain controlled items or information that the U.S. Govt. believes an individual’s home country might use to undermine our national security.  It is for this reason that we will sometimes ask for an individual’s status in the U.S., as well as their current and past citizenships.

  • How do we know if our work involves “fundamental research?”

    Fundamental research is considered to be any basic or applied research in science and engineering with results that are ordinarily published and shared broadly within the scientific community (see National Security Decision Directive 189).  For those who need definitions of basic research and applied research, we offer the following (taken from an OMB guidance document)

    • Basic Research: Systematic study directed toward fuller knowledge or understanding of the fundamental aspects of phenomena and of observable facts without specific applications towards processes or products in mind.
    • Applied Research: Systematic study to gain knowledge or understanding necessary to determine the means by which a recognized and specific need may be met.

    The application of knowledge acquired through basic or applied research to meet specific requirements, such as for the production of useful materials or the deployment of certain systems or methods is not considered fundamental research.

    Additionally, in order to qualify as fundamental research, the activity must be conducted free of certain kinds of publication (or other types of dissemination) or access restrictions.

    If you are still uncertain whether your activity is fundamental research, please contact the Export Control Office.

  • How will I know if my research project is subject to U.S. export controls?

    Whether or not U.S. export controls apply to your research or other work at JHU depends upon four, primary factors:  1) the subject matter associated with your work, 2) the foreign countries that are likely to be associated with your work, 3) the foreign entities or individuals with which/whom you expect to share certain items or information; and 4) how you reasonably expect those entities/individuals to use what you share with them.

    When you carefully and fully answer the Research Compliance Questions that are asked for each proposal that is submitted through Coeus, the Export Control Office has an opportunity to assess whether your project might involve exchanges with foreign parties that would require export licenses.  This, however, is not a foolproof way to filter out restricted subject matter, countries, entities/individuals and end-uses from the thousands of proposals submitted yearly through Coeus.  We must depend upon a variety of checks and information sources (not to mention training) to help us identify research projects that are impacted by U.S. export controls.

  • If our proposed research or other activity is expected to have some kind of connection to a sanctioned country, does that mean that we can’t go through with our proposal?

    No, not necessarily.  We are usually able to interact with citizens of sanctioned countries when they are lawfully working or studying with us in the United States, although there might still be certain subject matter that we cannot share with them without a license.  There are typically more restrictions upon the interactions that we can have with citizens of sanctioned countries when they are located in their home countries.  Even so…

    Some U.S. sanctions programs are more restrictive than others.  Your project may involve a country that is subject to a sanctions program but one that does not restrict the kind of transactions into which you will need to enter with its organizations or people.  For instance…

    Iran is a comprehensively sanctioned country, and the regulations that embody the Iran sanctions program generally forbid any export/import of goods, services or technical know-how to/from that country.  There are a few exceptions to this broadly restrictive policy towards Iran, but it is typically quite difficult (if not impossible) for us to involve Iranian entities and individuals in our research, technical assistance and educational activities, if they are not lawfully in the U.S.

    Zimbabwe, on the other hand, is also a sanctioned country, but unlike the Iran sanctions program, the Zimbabwe sanctions program only targets certain entities and individuals and does so in such a limited way as to rarely prevent us from being able to pursue our professional goals in or with Zimbabwean organizations and individuals.

    If your research project or other work will involve a sanctioned country, the Export Control Office can help you to determine whether any or all of your proposed activities are forbidden in the absence of a license.  If a license is required, we can advise as to whether submitting a license application would be worthwhile, and if it is, we can assist with application drafting and submission.

  • If we’re going to be performing fundamental research, then why does the Export Control Office need to know details about the subject matter connected with our project?

    Remember that it is only the results/findings of fundamental research that are excluded from export controls.  It is possible that certain devices, materials or information used in the course of performing fundamental research cannot be shared with foreign persons because they are controlled for export to one or more countries and, in the case of information, it was not the product of fundamental research.

  • My office needs to send some items to another country or have them sent to us from another country. Can the Export Control Office help us?

    The Export Control Office is charged with preventing items and information from going to other countries in violation of U.S. export control regulations, and for that reason it wants to verify that items leaving the U.S. have been properly screened.  The Export Control Office is not responsible for addressing the numerous other issues that you should consider when shipping internationally, including customs (both U.S. and foreign), proper handling and packaging (e.g., hazardous or perishable materials) and insurance.  However, we encourage you to visit our international shipping page, which offers resources that you can use to ensure that your outgoing and incoming international shipments are managed with minimal cost and maximum compliance with the numerous regulations that apply to international shipping.

  • When Export Control Office forms ask us to describe any “technology” or “technical data” that we will be sharing with foreign person, what does that mean?

    U.S. export control regulations tell us that certain devices, materials (organic or inorganic) and software cannot be sent to certain other countries without a license.  They also tell us that we should not share technical information about those items with citizens of certain countries when they are working or studying with us in the U.S.  The kind of technical information that the regulations are referring to is that which a person could reasonably use to develop, produce or understand (very intimately) the devices, materials or software that are identified as being controlled.  Such information is referred to as “technology” in the Dept. of Commerce’s Export Administration Regulations (the “EAR”) and as “technical data” in the Dept. of State’s International Traffic in Arms Regulations (the “ITAR”).  We ask JHU personnel to disclose any technology or technical data that they believe they will need to share with foreign persons at JHU so that the Export Control Office might identify any such information that cannot be shared with a particular foreign person without a license.

  • Why am I being asked to create a Technology Control Plan, even if there will be no foreign persons on my research team?

    Technology Control Plans (TCPs) are created in order to ensure that JHU personnel are aware of and committed to practices that are designed to control access to, and dissemination of, export controlled tangible items and information.  Although a given research project on our Homewood campus may not formally include foreign persons, there may still exist the potential for controlled items and information to be intentionally or unintentionally accessed by foreign persons who are not working on the project.  When the Export Control Office sees this potential, especially when ITAR-controlled items are involved, it requests that the leader of a research project collaborate in the development of a TCP.

  • Why do I need a license to include a foreign student in my research project, even if he is already studying and working at JHU under a valid visa?

    A visa issued by the United States Government authorizes an individual to study and/or work at JHU, but it does not confer on them a right to access any technology with which our faculty might be working at any given time.  As an entity subject to U.S. export control regulations, JHU is responsible for monitoring the tangible items and information that it shares with foreign persons, including those who have visas authorizing them to study and work with us.

  • Why is it important for us to determine whether our work is “fundamental research?”

    The results of research that qualifies as fundamental research are generally not subject to export controls.  What this means is that a JHU research team could lawfully share with their peers at foreign universities new findings about export controlled items – such as certain harmful viruses or bacteria – if the findings arose in the course of performing fundamental research.  If the research was not fundamental, perhaps because JHU agreed to the imposition of publication or access restrictions on the project, then a license would be needed to share the discoveries with foreign parties.

Contact

Johns Hopkins University
Research Administration

1101 E. 33rd Street, B001
Baltimore, MD 21218

(443) 997-1922
Email: jhura@jhu.eduSend an email to jhura@jhu.edu

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