Collaborator Roles

The roles of Collaborator, Other Significant Contributor, and Consultant, though similar, have important differences that distinguish them in what they contribute to the project and in the way costs associated with their work should be budgeted and contracted.


TopicCollaboratorOther Significant ContributorConsultant
Contribution to project Is "jointly involved" with UMB's principal investigator (PI) in the scientific development and/or execution of the proposed work. Contributes to the scientific development or execution of the project but does not commit any measurable effort to the project. May be a UMB employee. Provides expert advice or services but is not heavily involved in the design or execution of the project. May not be a UMB employee. See below regarding UMCP, UMBC, and other system institution employees.
Responsibility Bears responsibility for progress of some portion of the project. Does not bear responsibility for the progress of the project. Does not bear responsibility for the progress of the project.
Effort Devotes a specific percent of effort to the project (within their 100 percent salaried effort). Does not promise measurable effort for the project. Contributes scientifically as part of their professional activities. Consults as an independent contractor, usually on a per-hour or per-day basis. For NIH grants, the consultant may be listed as Key Personnel, with measurable effort, or as an Other Significant Contributor.
Budget and costs Include salaries of UMB collaborators in the budget Personnel section. Enter project costs for external collaborators (salaries, supplies, travel, and other costs including indirect costs) as subaward costs. SPA will issue a subaward if the project is funded. If the collaborating organization will bear its own project costs, a collaboration agreement is recommended to document the commitments of each party. Not included in the budget. Consulting fees and reimbursement for travel and subsistence costs for individuals from external organizations are budgeted as “consultant costs.” Consultants may be contracted as individuals or through a consulting business. Some sponsors limit the amount that consultants can be paid (refer to sponsor guidelines). Payment is made via consulting agreement. Submit requisition to Procurement Services. Have the signed agreement in place before a consultant begins work on the project.
Other proposal requirements For external collaborators, a completed, signed Subrecipient Commitment Form‌ is required. A description of the collaborator's scope of work is required, as well as a budget and budget justification. The sponsor may require other information including biosketches. Biosketch is required (NIH) A letter from each consultant is required. The letter should include a statement of the consultant's willingness to participate in the project if funded, a description of the consulting activities, deliverables, and/or services to be provided, and the consulting rate.

University of Maryland Collaborators

If the collaborator is a UMB employee, salary costs are included in the Personnel section of the budget. UMB faculty and staff may not be paid as consultants.

Consulting by faculty or staff from other institutions of the University System of Maryland (USM) must conform with the USM Policy on Professional Commitment of Faculty. As a general rule, faculty or staff from other USM institutions will be paid through a subaward. They may be paid as consultants on a UMB award only with the approval of their institution's president.