Key Takeaways 1. Subsidies and cooperation agreements are very similar. 2. The differences lie in the details of implementation (i.e., cooperation agreements are accompanied by „substantial participation“ by the federal agency). 3. There are also legal implications of these different agreements, so read the agreements carefully and discuss them with the lawyers. While the federal agency remains involved in the delivery, the task should never be postponed so that it is carried out for the Agency. The FGCAA expressly prohibits federal authorities from using co-operative contracts to acquire real estate or services for direct use or use by the federal government. This distinction distinguishes cooperative contracts from „purchase contracts“ or „acquisitions“ related to FAR. This distinction is also essential to limit the protest actions made available to disappointed bidders for cooperation agreements.
Both cooperation contracts and grants „transfer value from the federal awarding agency or pass-through-unit to the non-federal agency to fulfill a public purpose.“ With regard to cooperation agreements, a significant participation is expected between the IJ and the winner. The fellow is required to cooperate with the NIJ Grant Manager, who is the authorized representative of NIJ, who is responsible for the proper management of the prize. In addition, an NIJ scientist is responsible for collaborating with the recipient`s researchers on substantive issues related to the award – support, advice, coordination and participation in project activities to ensure success. The NIJ scientist may also publish and be present with the recipient`s investigators as representatives of the NIJ. A cooperation agreement can be a highly specialized research award, in which federal employees are among the relatively few experts in this field. In this case, the award can be defined as a „cooperation agreement,“ since federal officials and non-federal recipients will conduct the joint research in one way or another. Even with this restriction, cooperation agreements are a fascinating funding tool that contractors and national and local governments should oversee in order to find a new way to conclude contracts with the Confederation. The Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act of 1977 (P.L. 95-224, 31 USC 6301 and following) establishes the fundamental distinctions between purchase contracts, grants and cooperation contracts.