Contract Versus Cooperative Agreement

Cooperation agreements and grants are “a legal instrument of financial support between a federal awarding agency or transit agency and a non-federal agency” within the meaning of the OMB Uniform Guidance (§200.24 for the cooperation agreement and §200.51 for the grant agreement). The Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act of 1977 (P.L. 95-224, 31 USC 6301 et seq.) makes the fundamental distinctions between purchase contracts, grants, and cooperation agreements. Important conclusions 1. Grants and cooperation agreements are very similar. 2. The differences lie in the details of implementation (i.e. cooperation agreements are concluded with “substantial participation” by the federal authority). 3. There are also legal implications of these different agreements, so read the agreements carefully and discuss them with lawyers.

This means that where a federal authority exists, it is possible to structure its purchases as a cooperation agreement (a decision that has the right to be honored by Chevron U.S.A., Inc. Inc. Natural Res. Defense Council, 467 U.S.). 837, 865-66 (1984)), the only place where contractors can protest against a decision to award agencies, is the District Court under the Administrative Procedures Act. A cooperation agreement can be a highly specialized research award, in which federal staff are one of the few experts in this field. In this case, the award can be defined as a “cooperation agreement”, given that federal staff and the non-federal recipient somehow carry out the joint research. . . .