Once SPO releases a Prime Award, via the Phoebe Award Summary (PAS), the UC Berkeley Principal Investigator (PI), with their Research Administrator’s help, may begin setting up any subawards supported by that Prime Award. 

SPO does not automatically set up new subawards after releasing a Prime Award.

Requesting subaward setup

When you are ready to have SPO issue a subaward, submit a Subaward Request through Phoebe Search, using the Phoebe Subaward Request instructions.

Before requesting a new subaward:

  • Talk with the Subrecipient PI about any needed changes to the Subrecipient’s Statement of Work and/or budget, based on what the Prime Award can support.
  • Complete any required pre-award/just-in-time steps.
  • Direct any questions for the Subaward Team to subcontracts@berkeley.edu.
For Subrecipients named in the proposal For anticipated to-be-determined (TBD) Subrecipients For unanticipated after-the fact Subrecipients
Find the assigned subaward number on the Phoebe Award Summary, or under the Prime Award in Phoebe Search. Assign each subaward one of the TBD subaward numbers on the Phoebe Award Summary, or under the Prime Award in Phoebe Search.
Each subaward must have a unique subaward number.
Use only subaward numbers under the supporting Prime Award.
Contact the SPO CGO who manages the Prime Award if you need additional TBD subaward numbers.
Obtain a subaward proposal from the after-the-fact Subrecipient.
Email the subaward proposal to the SPO CGO who manages the Prime Award, and ask them to obtain sponsor approval (if required) and assign a subaward number.

After requesting a new subaward, respond as soon as possible to any SPO questions about in-process subawards.


During subaward setup

SPO’s Subaward Team will prepare a subaward that contains terms and conditions to:

  • Satisfy Federal and other applicable regulations.
  • Be consistent with sound business practices.
  • Ensure that the Subrecipient will not pose a financial or compliance risk to UC Berkeley.
  • Ensure the Subrecipient will comply with the terms and conditions of the Prime Award and the Sponsor’s policies.

To do this, SPO:

  • Collects and reviews institutional, financial, and audit information about the Subrecipient.
  • Reviews the Prime Award terms and conditions to determine which of those terms and conditions apply to the Subrecipient.
  • Compiles subaward terms that will enable the UC Berkeley PI to monitor the Subrecipient’s performance and invoicing.

SPO attempts to complete this process in a timely manner, but the amount of time it takes depends on many factors, including:

  • The completeness of the Subaward Request received from the Department.
  • The responsiveness of the Department in correcting any errors and providing additional information or documents.
  • The complexity of the Prime Award terms and conditions.
  • The financial and/or compliance risk posed by the Subrecipient and the responsiveness of the Subrecipient in providing information needed to asses these risks.

After SPO offers a subaward to the Subrecipient, the Subrecipient may request changes to some of the terms.  SPO will negotiate these changes independently, but may call upon the UC Berkeley PI or their Research Administrator for feedback on:

  • Changes to the budget, Statement of Work, performance period, or Subrecipient Key Personnel.
  • Changes to reporting and invoicing terms.
  • Issues or questions related to the technical aspects of the project, with which SPO is unfamiliar.
  • Issues that may require the UC Berkeley PI’s informed consent.

After a subaward is fully executed

Multi-Campus Awards (MCAs), which are issued to other University of California entities, become fully executed as soon as SPO issues them. They do not require either party’s signature.

All other subawards become fully executed once both the Subrecipient and UC Berkeley sign them. Subrecipients are always required to sign first. 

After completing any negotiations, the Subrecipient will send the signed subaward back to SPO. If the Subrecipient sends the signed subaward back to you, forward the email to subcontracts@berkeley.edu.

SPO will return the fully executed subaward to the Subrecipient, copying the UC Berkeley PI and their Department Financial Contact named in the subaward.

Next, the subaward status in Phoebe Search will change as follows:

  • Active: If the subaward terms do not require the Subrecipient to provide proof of insurance, the subaward will become “Active.”  Subrecipient work on the project may then begin.
  • Insurance Compliance: If the subaward terms do require the Subrecipient to provide proof of insurance, the subaward status will become “Insurance Compliance,” and will only become “Active” when SPO receives the proof of insurance. The Subrecipient may begin work, but you may not approve any payments to the Subrecipient until the Phoebe Search status changes to “Active.”

The UC Berkeley PI, their Department, and their Financial Contact named in the subaward will receive an email from SPO_Subaward@berkeley.edu, whenever a subaward becomes “Active.” Once this happens, the Financial Contact or other appropriate Department contact must:

  • Establish a BearBuy Purchase Order for the Subaward.
  • Communicate the Purchase Order number to the Subrecipient’s Financial Contact. (IMPORTANT: NEVER give the Subrecipient a copy of the BearBuy Purchase Order form. This contains terms and conditions that do not apply to subawards.)

Special financial issues

Certain subawards may involve special financial issues such as:

  • Working capital advances
  • Subawards issued in a foreign currency
  • Fixed-price subawards
  • Subawards resulting from UC Berkeley RFPs

See Subaward Special Financial Issues for details.


For the next step in the process, see Subaward Monitoring.


If you have questions, please contact the Subaward Team at subcontracts@berkeley.edu. If you have a suggestion on how we might improve SPO’s subaward services, please drop it in the Subaward Suggestion Box.