Hiring Consultants

Current or former Duke employees may not be consultants on sponsored projects at Duke.

As opposed to subcontractors, consultants:

  • may be individuals or firms
  • may provide identical services to others as part of their primary business
  • provide expertise vital to the project, but do not have authority over the direction of the project
  • are provided with specifications defining their contribution to the project rather than a statement of work requiring discretion

Consultants should be listed by name in the budget and the following information provided:

  • daily rate of pay
  • number of days of employment
  • any additional amounts to be paid such as travel and per diem
  • the consultant's primary affiliation and expertise
  • justification of the need for consultant services


A. Services costing less than $2,500

No Purchase Order or Agreement is required. Invoices should be submitted via the Online Accounts Payable Check Request.

B. Services costing $2,500 - $10,000

Create a Buy@Duke Shopping Cart which will follow the departmental workflow for approval. Upon departmental approval of the Buy@Duke Cart, a Purchase Order will be created and sent to the Vendor.

C. Services costing $10,001 - $100,000

  1. Complete a Domestic Research Support Services Agreement (Domestic RSSA $10,001-$100,000) available for download on the Financial Services, Procurement > Forms website.

Before a consultant can be hired on a 2XX,  3XX, AXX code for an amount above $10,001, a contract for the consultant's services must be reviewed and approved by ORS.

In order to for the charges to be routed to the preaward office for review and approval, these two GLs must be used.

  • 622029 - Professional Services
  • 691629 - Contract Work

D. Services costing greater than $250,000

Purchases of more than the simplified acquisition threshold (SAT) (currently set at $250,000 per the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act) require coordination with Procurement Services. Please contact the Director of Procurement Services for further information.

For full details on purchasing services on sponsored funds, please see GAP 200.370, Purchasing Goods and Services on Sponsored Projects. For help with obtaining and paying for outside services please refer to the Service Contracts Decision Flow Chart.



  • In Duke @ Work Grants Management tab - GM completes RSSA, Independent Contractor Checklist (for individuals), and ReC/Rebudget CAS tool as needed
  • Routes to ORS


  • Determines if sponsor prior approval is required
  • If sponsor approval is not required, ORS reviews documents and award budget

If sponsor approval is required...


  • Writes letter to the sponsor requesting permission to hire consultant
  • Sends letter to ORS


  • Reviews letter
  • Co-signs


  • Forwards request letter to sponsor


  • Receives sponsor approval
  • Notifies ORS/DEPT of receipt


  • Completes RSSA attaching sponsor approval to the RSSA / Shopping Cart
  • Completes Rebudget Tool if needed


  • Reviews Shopping Cart and Rebudget Tool. Once ORS approves Shopping Cart, Procurement automatically receives Cart.


  • Reviews, negotiates, and signs off on RSSA contract. Any changes to the RSSA are negotiated through Procurement.


  • Keeps copies of all documentation