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Creating & Closing Out Subcontracts

What Is a Subcontract?

A subcontract is an agreement for collaborative, research-related services – often with other institutes and universities. Subcontracts are funded by federal and state agencies or by industry sponsors under an agreement with The Regents of the University of California. 

A subcontract:

  • Is a formalized agreement that specifies fiscal arrangements.
  • Defines the scope of work to be carried out by the subcontractor.
  • Delineates terms and conditions required by funding sources.

A subcontract – as opposed to a consulting agreement – should be used when a collaborator will:

  • Perform work as part of an institutional appointment.
  • Have programmatic decision-making responsibility.
  • Manage technical and administrative aspects of a portion of the overall project scope of work.
  • Use institutional resources: facilities, staff and students.

A collaborator is to use subcontract funds to carry out its portion of the scope of work. Subcontracts are not to be used to provide commercial goods or services to the University.


Requesting a Subcontract

Campus Purchasing issues subcontracts under the order class S. To request a subcontract, a department must take the following steps: 



1. Submit an R-class requisition via BruinBuy.

Use the following object codes:

  • 7310 for the first $25,000.
  • 7300 for the remaining balance.
  • Add $1 to leave the order open.

2. Submit a completed Subcontract Checklist and required supporting documents.

Send by fax or e-mail:

3. Draft subcontract is sent to principal investigator within 15 business days for review.

All documentation must be complete and correct in order for the draft subcontract to be issued. Written approval from the PI is required in order to proceed.

4. Approved subcontract is issued to subcontractor for review.

Campus Purchasing will conduct any negotiations with the subcontractor, whose signature is required.

5. Campus Purchasing co-signs the approved subcontract.

A purchase order is posted in BruinBuy for payment within five business days.

6. A fully executed subcontract is sent to subcontractor and department.

Work under the subcontract may begin.

Amending a Subcontract

To amend a subcontract, follow steps 2, 4, 5 and 6 above.

Closing Out a Subcontract

Follow these steps to close out a subcontract:



1. Submit an Subcontract Closeout Certificate.

Send by fax or e-mail:

2. Subcontract purchase order is closed.

Closure occurs within five business days after receipt of the certificate. Once the purchase order is closed, it cannot be reopened.