Contracts & Legal

Cooperative Agreement

A Cooperative Agreement is a legal instrument used to enter into a relationship between the government and the recipient when carrying out the activity contemplated by the cooperative agreement. A cooperative agreement is used when it’s expected there will be “substantial involvement” (unlike a grant) from the government.

Cooperative Agreements Substantial Involvement

Substantial involvement from the government can include:

  • Participate in program management
  • Participating in protocol design, data collection, and data analysis and interpretation
  • Approving a stage of a clinical trial or other collaborative project before the next stage starts
  • Coordinating or providing training to grantee staff

31 U.S. Code 6305 Using Cooperative Agreements

An executive agency shall use a cooperative agreement as the legal instrument reflecting a relationship between the United States Government and a State, a local government, or other recipient when—

  1. the principal purpose of the relationship is to transfer a thing of value to the State, local government, or other recipient to carry out a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by a law of the United States instead of acquiring (by purchase, lease, or barter) property or services for the direct benefit or use of the United States Government; and
  2. substantial involvement is expected between the executive agency and the State, local government, or other recipient when carrying out the activity contemplated in the agreement.

Difference Between Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) and Cooperative Agreement

A Cooperative Agreement is a legal instrument used to enter into the same kind of relationship as a grant, except that substantial involvement is expected between the DoD and the recipient when carrying out the activity contemplated by the cooperative agreement.  A Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) is a mechanism used by federal laboratories to engage in collaborative efforts with non-federal partners to achieve a technical goal but the government provides no funds.

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