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Award Administration

After a sponsored award is made, the Office of Sponsored Awards Management, working with Contract and Grant Accounting, continues to provide support as needed to successfully manage the sponsored project. Some of the most commonly requested award actions include creation of risk accounts (also known as advance accounts), no-cost extensions, rebudgeting, carry forward/carryover and principal investigator (PI) transfer requests.

 


NIH

Federal administrative requirements allow agencies to waive certain cost-related and administrative prior approvals; these are known as expanded authorities. In 2001, NIH extended expanded authorities to all NIH awards except for the provision to automatically carry over unobligated balances. Certain award instruments, grant programs, and types of recipients are routinely excluded from the authority to automatically carry over unobligated balances. This includes centers (P50, P60, P30, and others); cooperative agreements (U); Kirschstein-NRSA institutional research training grants (T); non-Fast Track Phase 1 SBIR and STTR awards (R43 and R41); clinical trials (regardless of activity code); and awards to individuals.

One or more of these authorities may be overridden by a special term or condition of the award. Recipients must review the NoA to determine if a particular authority is withheld for a specific grant.

Recipients must exercise proper stewardship over Federal funds and ensure that costs charged to awards are allowable, allocable, reasonable, necessary, and consistently applied regardless of the source of funds. NIH may disallow the costs if it determines, through audit or otherwise, that the costs do not meet the tests of allowability, allocability, reasonableness, necessity, and consistency.

Several authorities have specific deadlines for submission of reports or for timely notification to the NIH awarding IC. Recipients should be aware that any consistent pattern of failure to adhere to those deadlines for reporting or notification will be grounds for excluding that recipient from a specific authority.

Recipients should be aware that there is a difference between unliquidated obligations and unobligated balances. Unliquidated obligations are commitments of the recipient and are considered to be obligations and, therefore, should not be reported as unobligated balances.

The NoA will include a term and condition to indicate the disposition of unobligated balances. The term and condition will state whether the recipient has automatic carryover authority, or if prior approval is required by the NIH awarding IC. Note the authority to automatically carry over unobligated balances includes the authority to carryover from one competitive segment to another.

Automatic carryover of unobligated balances applies to all awards except centers (P50, P60, P30, other), cooperative agreements (U), Kirschstein-NRSA institutional research training grants (T), non-Fast Track Phase I SBIR and STTR awards (R43 and R41), clinical trials (regardless of activity code), and awards to individuals. For these grants, carryover of unobligated balances requires NIH awarding IC prior approval unless otherwise noted in the NoA. Other awards may be excluded from this authority through a special term or condition in the NoA.

For awards under SNAP (see Administrative Requirements-Monitoring-Reporting-Streamlined Non-Competing Award Process for applicability), funds are automatically carried over to the subsequent budget period. However, the recipient will be required to indicate, as part of the grant's progress report, whether any estimated unobligated balance (including prior-year carryover) is expected to be greater than 25 percent of the current year's total approved budget. The total approved budget amount includes current year and any carryover from prior years of the project period. If the unobligated balance is greater than 25 percent of the total approved budget, the recipient must provide an explanation and indicate plans for expenditure of those funds within the current budget year.

For awards that require an annual FFR, the amount to be carried over must be specified under item 12, "Remarks."

For both SNAP and non-SNAP, when a recipient reports a balance of unobligated funds in excess of 25 percent of the total amount awarded for the budget period, plus any approved carryover of funds from a prior year(s), the GMO will review the circumstances resulting in the balance to ensure that these funds are necessary to complete the project, and may request additional information from the recipient, including a revised budget, as part of the review.

If the GMO determines that some or all of the unobligated funds are not necessary to complete the project, the GMO may restrict the recipient's authority to automatically carry over unobligated balances in the future, use the balance to reduce or offset NIH funding for a subsequent budget period, or use a combination of these actions. The GMO also may indicate whether the balance may be carried forward to a budget period other than the succeeding one. The GMO's decision about the disposition of the reported unobligated balance will be reflected in the terms and conditions of the NoA.

All Federal agencies are required by 31 U.S.C. §1552 (a) to close fixed year appropriation accounts and cancel any remaining balances by September 30 of the fifth fiscal year after the year of availability. In order for the NIH to meet its obligation to close these accounts and cancel any remaining balances by September 30, recipients must report disbursements on the quarterly cash transaction report (using the FFR) no later than June 30 of the fifth fiscal year after the year of availability. At the end of five years, the funds are cancelled and returned to the Treasury. This provision may limit the availability of funds for carryover.

NIH prior approval is not required to rebudget funds for any direct cost item that the applicable cost principles identify as requiring the Federal awarding agency's prior approval, unless the incurrence of costs is associated with or is considered to be a change in scope.

The recipient may extend the final budget period of the previously approved project period one time for a period of up to 12 months beyond the original completion date shown in the NoA if:

no term of award specifically prohibits the extension,
no additional funds are required to be obligated by the NIH awarding IC, and
the project's originally approved scope will not change.
Such an action affirms that additional work remains to be completed on the project and that resources are available to continue to support the project, or that additional time is needed to provide for an orderly closeout. The fact that funds remain at the completion date of the grant is not, in itself, sufficient justification for an extension without additional funds.

With the exception of grant programs that have an effort requirement, or where terms and conditions prohibit such reductions, NIH will not require prior approval for the reduction in effort for Senior/Key personnel named in the NOA. The recipient is reminded that active awards must have a measurable level of effort.

Recipients must use the eRA Commons No-Cost Extension feature to electronically notify NIH that they are exercising their one-time authority to extend without funds the completion date of an award. This extension feature becomes available to the recipient 90 days before the project period end date. Extensions may be up to 12 months beyond the final budget period end date. In the eRA Commons, this notification can be made up to the last day of the current project end date. An e-mail notification is automatically sent to the GMO. No further action by the recipient is required.

Notifications may not be submitted via e-mail or fax. If a no-cost extension notification is submitted late, the eRA Commons No-Cost Extension feature cannot be used. Instead, the extension notification becomes a request and that requires the approval of the IC GMO. Recipients who miss the window (or opportunity) to extend the grant in eRA Commons must submit a written prior approval request to the NIH awarding IC for consideration.

In extending the final budget period of the project period through this process, the recipient agrees to update all required certifications and assurances, including but not limited to those pertaining to human subjects and vertebrate animals, in accordance with applicable regulations and policies. Recipients are reminded that all terms and conditions of the award apply during the extension period.

Recipients may not extend project periods that were previously extended by the NIH awarding IC. Any additional project period extension requires NIH prior approval.

All Federal agencies are required by 31 U.S.C. §1552(a) to close fixed year appropriation accounts and cancel any remaining balances by September 30 of the fifth fiscal year after the year of availability. In order for the NIH to meet its obligation to close these accounts and cancel any remaining balances by September 30, recipients must report disbursements on the quarterly cash transaction report (using the FFR) no later than June 30 of the fifth fiscal year after the year of availability. At the end of five years, the funds are cancelled and returned to the Treasury. This provision may limit or eliminate this authority to extend the final budget period when an entire project period is funded by a single award.

The provisions in this subsection do not apply to fellowship awards.

Prior approval by the NIH awarding IC is not required to transfer the performance of already peer reviewed programmatic work unless the activity constitutes a change in scope or results in the transfer of substantive programmatic work to a foreign component.

The salaries of administrative and clerical staff should normally be treated as indirect (F&A) costs. Direct charging of these costs may be appropriate only if all of the following conditions are met:

  1. Administrative or clerical services are integral to a project or activity;
  2. Individuals involved can be specifically identified with the project or activity;
  3. Such costs are explicitly included in the budget; and
  4. The costs are not also recovered as indirect costs.

Such charges must also meet the criteria for allowable costs described in 45 CFR 75.403.

NIH prior approval is not required to rebudget funds for this direct cost item post-award. Prior approval is only required when additional funds are being requested for such a position.

Supplemental Compensation under Written Institutional Policy for IHEs

IHEs may direct charge payments of incidental activities for which supplemental compensation is allowable under written institutional policy (at a rate not to exceed the institutional base salary) and not include them in the records described in 45 CFR 75.430 (h)(ii). Such activities must be specifically provided for in the Federal award budget.

IHEs may include charges for Intra-IHE faculty consulting on sponsored agreements that exceed a faculty member's base salary, but only in unusual cases where: (a) consultation is across departmental lines or involves a separate or remote operation; and (b) the consulting work is in addition to the faculty member's regular departmental load.

All requests for NIH awarding IC prior approval must be made in writing (including submission by e-mail) to the Grants Management Officer (GMO) no later than 30 days before the proposed change, and signed by the SAM Authorized Official Representative AOR. If the request is e-mailed, it must provide evidence of the AOR's approval; a cc to the AOR is not acceptable.

A request by a subrecipient for prior approval will be addressed in writing to the recipient. The recipient will promptly review such request and shall approve or disapprove the request in writing. A recipient will not approve any budget or project revision which is inconsistent with the purpose or terms and conditions of the Federal-award to the recipient. If the revision, requested by the subrecipient would result in a change to the recipient's approved project which requires Federal prior approval, the recipient will obtain the awarding IC's approval before approving the subrecipient's request. Failure to obtain required prior approval from the appropriate awarding IC may result in the disallowance of costs, termination of the award, or other enforcement action within NIH's authority. While the PD/PI signature is no longer required as part of the submission to NIH, the recipient must secure and retain such a signature for each prior approval request and make it available to NIH or other authorized DHHS or Federal officials upon request. When multiple PD/PIs are recognized for a particular grant, this requirement applies to all PD/PIs.

E-mail requests must be clearly identified as prior approval requests, must reflect the complete grant number in the subject line, and should be sent by the SAM/AOR to the GMO that signed the NoA. Contact information is provided on each NoA and is also available in the eRA Commons. E-mail addresses for NIH staff can be also obtained from the NIH Enterprise Directory at: https://ned.nih.gov/search/. E-mail requests must include the name of the recipient, the name of the initiating PD/PI, the PD/PI's telephone number, fax number, and e-mail address, and comparable identifying information for the AOR.

The GMO will review the request and provide a response to the SAM/AOR indicating the final disposition of the request, with copies to the PD/PI and to the cognizant NIH PO. Only responses provided by the GMO are considered valid. Recipients that proceed on the basis of actions by unauthorized officials do so at their own risk, and NIH is not bound by such responses.

Whenever recipients contemplate rebudgeting or other post-award changes and are uncertain about the need for prior approval, they are strongly encouraged to consult, in advance, with the GMO.

Under a consortium agreement or contract, the prior approval authority usually is the prime recipient. However, the prime recipient may not approve any action or cost that is inconsistent with the purpose or terms and conditions of the NIH grant. If an action by a consortium participant will result in a change in the overall grant project or budget requiring NIH approval, the prime recipient must obtain that approval from NIH before giving its approval to the consortium participant.

The NIH Standard Terms of Award provide the recipient the authority to extend the final budget period of a previously approved project period one time for a period of up to 12 months beyond the original completion date down in the NoA. Any additional project period extension beyond the initial extension of up to 12 months requires NIH prior approval.

The request should include:

  • a description of the project activities that require support during the extension and
  • a statement about the funds available to support the extension.
  • further any late notification of the initial no-cost extension provided by the NIH Standard Terms of Award also requires prior approval.

NIH prior approval is required if a recipient wishes to rebudget more than 25 percent of the total approved budget for a budget period into A&R costs. NIH prior approval also is required for lesser rebudgeting into A &R costs if the rebudgeting would result in a change in scope. If rebudgeting results in an A&R project exceeding $500,000, NIH always will consider the rebudgeting to be a change in scope.

Capital expenditures for land or buildings require NIH prior approval. In addition, real property acquired with NIH grant funds may not be conveyed, transferred, assigned, mortgaged, leased, or in any other manner encumbered by the recipient without the written prior approval of the NIH awarding IC or its successor organization.

The NoA will include a term and condition to indicate the disposition of unobligated balances. The term and condition will state whether the recipient has automatic carryover authority or if prior approval is required by the NIH awarding IC. When NIH prior approval is required, the AOR should submit a request to the GMO that includes at a minimum the following information:

A detailed budget by direct cost category with the F&A cost information (base and rate) for the proposed use of the carryover funds. If personnel costs are requested, include a detailed breakdown of personnel costs, including base salary, salary requested and effort to be spent on the project during the extension. In general, carryover action requiring prior approval will be approved using the F&A rate that was in effect at the time the initial funds were awarded for the year to which the funds are being carried over. For example, if the carryover is approved from year -01 to year -03, the F&A rate used to calculate the revised -03 year award will be the rate used to initially calculate year -03. However, actual expenditures will still be based on the rate applicable when the cost is incurred.
A scientific justification for the use of funds.
The reason for the unobligated balance.

In general, the PD/PI may make changes in the methodology, approach, or other aspects of the project objectives. However, the recipient must obtain prior approval from the NIH awarding IC for a change in scope. A change in scope is a change in the direction, aims, objectives, purposes, or type of research training, identified in the approved project. The recipient must make the initial determination of the significance of a change and should consult with the GMO as necessary.

Potential indicators of a change in scope include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Change in the specific aims approved at the time of award.
  • Substitution of one animal model for another.
  • Change from the approved use of live vertebrate animals.
  • Change from the approved involvement of human subjects that would result in an increased risk. This includes:
    • An addition or change that would result in changing the overall human subjects or clinical trial designation of the award;
      • From non-human subjects research to human subjects research (exempt or non-exempt);
      • From exempt to non-exempt human subjects research; or
      • From "No Clinical Trial" to "Includes a Clinical Trial." Requests for this change must be submitted to a clinical trial FOA as a competitive revision. See NIH definition of clinical trial and 2.3.5 - Types of Funding Opportunity Announcements.
    • The new inclusion of subject populations that are covered by additional regulatory protections under 45 CFR 46 subparts B, C or D (pregnant women, human fetuses, and neonates; prisoners; or children).
    • Any change to the study protocol that would increase the risk level for subjects including physical, psychological, financial, legal or other risks. This could include the addition of a new study population that would be at higher risk from existing research procedures, the addition of new study procedures that are greater than minimal risk, any modification of existing study procedures that would increase overall risk, or the addition of a new clinical study or a new clinical trial intervention arm not originally proposed that is greater than minimal risk.
    • New information indicating a higher level of risk to participants than previously recognized for a study intervention, procedure, or pharmacological treatment.
  • Shift of the research emphasis from one disease area to another.
  • A clinical hold by FDA under a study involving an IND or an IDE.
  • Application of a new technology, e.g., changing assays from those approved to a different type of assay.
  • Transfer of the performance of substantive programmatic work to a third party through a consortium agreement, by contract, or any other means. If the third party is a foreign component, NIH prior approval is always required.
  • Change in other senior/key personnel not specifically named in the NoA (see Change in Status, Including Absence, of PD/PI and Other Senior/Key Personnel Named in the NoA below for requirements for NIH approval of alternate arrangements for or replacement of named senior/key personnel).
  • Significant rebudgeting, whether or not the particular expenditure(s) require prior approval. Significant rebudgeting occurs when expenditures in a single direct cost budget category deviate (increase or decrease) from the categorical commitment level established for the budget period by 25 percent or more of the total costs awarded. For example, if the award budget for total costs is $200,000, any rebudgeting that would result in an increase or decrease of more than $50,000 in a budget category is considered significant rebudgeting. The base used for determining significant rebudgeting excludes the effects of prior-year carryover balances but includes competing and non-competing supplements. Significant rebudgeting does not apply to modular grants.
  • Incurrence of research patient care costs if costs in that category were not previously approved by NIH or if a recipient desires to rebudget additional funds beyond those approved into or rebudget funds out of the research patient care category.
  • Purchase of a unit of equipment exceeding $25,000.
 

The recipient is required to submit a prior approval request to the GMO if:

  • There is a significant change in the status of the PD/PI or other Senior/Key Personnel specifically named in the NoA including but not limited to withdrawing from the project entirely, being absent from the project during any continuous period of 3 months or more, or reducing time devoted to the project by 25 percent or more from the level that was approved at the time of initial competing year award (for example, a proposed change from 40 percent effort to 30 percent or less effort or in calendar months a change from 4.8 to 3.6 calendar months). Reductions are cumulative, i.e., the 25% threshold may be reached by two or more successive reductions that total 25% or more. Once agency approval has been given for a significant change in the level of effort, then all subsequent reductions are measured against the approved adjusted level. Selecting Yes in the RPPR constitutes a prior approval request to the agency and the issuance of a subsequent year of funding constitutes agency approval of the request.
  • There is a change from a multiple PD/PI model to a single PD/PI model.
  • There is a change from a single PD/PI model to a multiple PD/PI model.
  • There is a change in the number or makeup of the PD/PIs on a multiple PD/PI award.
    NIH must approve any alternate arrangement proposed by the recipient, including any replacement of the PD/PI or senior/key personnel named in the NoA, and the addition of any new PD/PIs.

NIH must approve any alternate arrangement proposed by the recipient, including any replacement of the PD/PI or senior/key personnel named in the NoA, and the addition of any new PD/PIs.

The request for approval of any additional or substitute PD/PIs or Senior/Key Personnel named in the NoA, or change from a multiple PD/PI model to a single PD/PI model, must be accompanied by a strong scientific justification related to the scientific project, including any proposed changes in scope, the biographical sketch of any new individuals proposed and other sources of support, and any budget changes resulting from the proposed change. A new or revised Leadership Plan is required if the request is to change from a single PD/PI model to a multiple PD/PI model, or to change the number or makeup of the PD/PIs on a multiple PD/PI award. The Commons ID must be provided for any new PD/PIs.

If the arrangements proposed by the recipient, including the qualifications of any proposed replacement, are not acceptable to the NIH awarding IC, the grant may be suspended or terminated. If the recipient wishes to terminate the project because it cannot make suitable alternate arrangements, it must notify the GMO, in writing, of its wish to terminate, and NIH will forward closeout instructions.

If the PI leave the University of South Carolina then he/she will have to request via the following chain approval: chair, dean (Attn: Lumi Bakos), and SAM (departmental SAM representative), transfer of the award(s) to the new institution, before it is submitted to NIH for approval.

USC’s responsibility: A request for a change of recipient organization must be submitted to NIH via SAM Office. USC must include an Official Statement Relinquishing Interests and Rights in a Public Health Service Research Grant (PHS 3734) (relinquishing statement). The relinquishing statement may be submitted in paper or electronically via the eRA Commons. Final FFR Expenditure Data and a Final Invention Statement are due to NIH from the relinquishing organization no later than 120 days after the end of NIH support of the project. Final FFR Expenditure Data should not be submitted until the original institution has received a revised NoA for the relinquished grant.

The new institution’s responsibility:  The proposed new recipient institution must provide the NIH with a change of institution application which may be submitted using the PHS 398 or PHS 416-1 paper application forms, or electronically via Grants.gov using the Parent Funding Opportunity Announcement listed at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/parent_announcements.htm.

If the original award was the result of a modular application and the recipient will submit a paper change of institution application, the modular procedures apply to the request for change of recipient. If the original award was the result of a modular application and the recipient will submit an electronic change of institution application, the recipient may submit a detailed budget or streamlined-detailed budget.

The paper application from the proposed new recipient institution should include, at a minimum, the following:

  • PHS 398 Face page
  • Budget pages (current and future years). (Under awards resulting from modular applications, the application should include narrative budget information for the current budget period, including total direct cost and the basis for computing F&A costs and, if applicable, future budget periods.) Budgets should not exceed the direct costs (plus applicable F&A costs) previously recommended for any budget period. For transfers in the middle of a budget period, the budget for the initial year may be based on the total costs relinquished only if the recipient has been instructed to do so by the awarding IC. For these applications, recipients will also need to include the Other Project Information and the Senior/Key Personnel components.
  • Updated biographical sketches for the PD/PI and existing senior/key personnel and biographical sketches for any proposed new senior/key personnel.
  • If transferring on the anniversary date, include the progress report for the current year including a statement regarding the goals for the upcoming year. For all transfer applications include also a statement indicating whether the overall research plans/aims have changed from the original submission, and, if so, provide updated information.
  • Updated "other support" page(s), if necessary.
  • Resources page, including probable effect of the move on the project.
  • Checklist page
  • Certification of IRB/IACUC approval, including OHRP and OLAW assurance numbers, if applicable.
  • Detailed list of any equipment purchased with grant funds to be transferred to the new organization (inclusion of this list in the transfer application from the new organization indicates its acceptance of title to that equipment).

The electronic application from the proposed recipient institution should include, at a minimum, the following:

  • SF 424 (R&R) Cover Component
  • SF 424 (R&R) Project Performance Site Location(s)
  • SF 424 (R&R) Other Project Information:
    • Certification of IRB/IACUC approval, including OHRP and OLAW assurance numbers, if applicable.
    • Facilities and Other Resources, including probable effect of the move on the project.
    • Detailed list of any equipment purchased with grant funds to be transferred to the new organization (inclusion of the list in the transfer application from the new organization indicates its acceptance of title to that equipment).
  • SF 424 (R&R) Senior/Key Person Profile:
    • Updated biographical sketches for the PD/PI and existing senior/key personnel and biographical sketches for any proposed new senior/key personnel, and updated "other support" page(s) as necessary.
  • Budget pages applicable for activity code (current and future years). If the budget for the original award was submitted in a modular format, use the R&R Detailed Budget form for all electronic applications. Recipients may either complete all of the fields in the R&R Detailed Budget as appropriate or complete only the costs for the PD/PI (Section A), and include the remainder of the direct costs under Section F (Other Direct Costs) Item 8, and Section H (Indirect Costs). (For awards resulting from modular applications, include narrative budget information for the current budget period, including total direct cost and the basis for computing F&A costs and, if applicable, future budget periods.) Budgets should not exceed the direct costs previously recommended for direct costs (plus applicable F&A costs) for any budget period. For transfers during the course of a budget period, the budget for the initial year may be based on the total costs relinquished only if the recipient has been instructed to do so by the awarding IC.
  • PHS 398 Research Plan
    • If transferring on the anniversary date, include the progress report for the current year including a statement regarding the goals for the upcoming year. For all transfer applications include also a statement indicating whether the overall research plans/aims have changed from the original submission, and, if so, provide updated information.
  • PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement
  • PHS 398 Checklist

And, as applicable:

  • PHS 398 Career Development Supplemental Form
  • PHS 398 Fellowship Supplemental Form
  • SBIR/STTR Information

 

NSF

Grantees may authorize a one-time extension of the end date of the grant of up to 12 months if additional time beyond the established end date is required to assure adequate completion of the original scope of work within the funds already made available. This one-time extension may not be exercised merely for the purpose of using the unliquidated balances. Grantees are not authorized to extend an award that contains a zero balance. The grantee shall notify NSF, providing supporting reasons for the extension and the revised period of performance, at least ten calendar days prior to the end date specified in the grant to ensure accuracy of NSF’s grant data. All grantee-approved extension notifications must be signed and submitted by the AOR via use of NSF’s electronic systems. For grantee-approved extensions, no amendment will be issued. The revised end date can be viewed via NSF's electronic systems.

(a) If additional time beyond the extension provided by the grantee is required and exceptional circumstances warrant, a formal request must be signed and submitted by the AOR via use of NSF’s electronic systems. The request should be submitted to NSF at least 45 days prior to the end date of the grant. All late requests must include a strong justification as to why it was not submitted earlier. The request must explain the need for the extension and include an estimate of the unobligated funds remaining and a plan for their use. As indicated above, that unobligated funds may remain at the end of the grant is not in itself sufficient justification for an extension. The plan must adhere to the previously approved objectives of the project. Such requests must be signed and submitted by the AOR via use of NSF’s electronic systems.

(b) The first no-cost extension request will be considered for approval by the cognizant NSF Program Officer. The grantee and the PI will be electronically notified of the disposition of this request by the cognizant NSF Program Officer (an amendment to the grant will not be issued). The second (or any subsequent) no-cost extension request will be subject to the approval of an NSF Grants Officer, and, if approved, will be in the form of an amendment to the grant specifying a new end date. Grantees are cautioned not to make new commitments or incur new expenditures after the end date of the award in anticipation of a no-cost extension. In addition, grantees must be aware that most NSF appropriated funds have a limited period of availability for expenditure before the appropriation cancels. No-cost extensions do not extend the period of availability for canceling funds.

1  Changes in Objectives or Scope

The objectives or scope of the project may not be changed without prior NSF approval. Such change requests must be signed and submitted by the AOR via use of NSF’s electronic systems. If approved by NSF, the Grants Officer will amend the grant. Prior written NSF approval also is required for changes to the Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources section of the approved proposal that would constitute changes in objectives or scope.

2.  Significant Changes in Methods or Procedures

NSF believes that the PI/PD and co-PI/co-PD, operating within the established policies of the grantee organization, should feel free to pursue interesting and important leads that may arise during the conduct of a research (or other grant-supported) project or to adopt an alternative approach which appears to be a more promising means of achieving the objectives of the project. Significant changes in methods or procedures should be reported to appropriate grantee official(s). The PI/PD also must notify NSF via use of NSF’s electronic systems.

3.  Significant Changes, Delays or Events of Unusual Interest

In the event there are problems, delays or adverse conditions that will materially impact the ability to attain the objectives of the project or to meet such time schedules as may have been proposed, the PI/PD should notify the appropriate grantee official(s). The PI/PD also must notify NSF via use of NSF's electronic systems.

The NSF decision to support a proposed project is based to a considerable extent upon its evaluation of the proposed PI/PD and any identified co-PI/co-PD’s knowledge of the field of study and his/her capabilities to conduct the project in an efficient and productive manner. This is reflected in the NSF merit review criteria. The named PI/PD (and co-PI/co-PD) should be continuously responsible for the conduct of the project and be closely involved with the effort.

If the grantee determines that there is a need for the addition of a new co-PI/co-PD, or the current PI/PD or co-PI/co-PD plans to, or becomes aware that he/she will: (i) devote substantially less effort to the project than anticipated in the approved proposal; (ii) sever his/her connection with the grantee organization; or (iii) otherwise relinquish active direction of the project, he/she shall advise the appropriate official at the grantee organization, who shall initiate action appropriate to the situation under the guidelines that follow.

a. Long-Term Disengagement of PI/PD or co-PI/co-PD

(i) In the event the PI/PD or co-PI/co-PD will be disengaged from the project for a period greater than three months (e.g. sabbatical leave) but intends to return, arrangements for oversight of the project must be signed and submitted by the AOR via use of NSF's electronic systems. This information must be provided at least 30 days before departure or as soon as practicable after the prospective disengagement is known.46 The cognizant NSF Program Officer will provide written approval to the grantee if the arrangements are satisfactory, but no formal amendment to the grant will be made. If the arrangements are not satisfactory to NSF, the grant may be terminated.

(ii) In the event the PI/PD or co-PI/co-PD will temporarily be working for NSF as an IPA (Intergovernmental Personnel Act employee) or VSEE (Visiting Scientist, Engineer or Educator), the appropriate officials at the grantee organization must contact the cognizant NSF Program Officer for procedural guidance regarding any existing grants or pending proposals of the PI/PD or co-PI/PD.

b. Changes in Person-Months Devoted to the Project

If the PI/PD or co-PI/co-PD will devote substantially less time to the project than anticipated in the approved proposal, (defined in the applicable grant terms and conditions as a reduction of 25% or more in time) he/she should consult with the appropriate officials of the grantee organization. Requests for changes to the person-months devoted to the project must be signed and submitted by the AOR via use of NSF’s electronic systems. If the grantee organization or NSF determines that the reduction of effort will substantially impair the successful execution of the project, the NSF Program Officer will consult the NSF Grants Officer. The NSF Grants Officer may:

(i) request the grantee to nominate a replacement PI/PD or co-PI/co-PD acceptable to the cognizant NSF Program Officer;

(ii) initiate the termination procedures; or

(iii) negotiate an appropriate modification to the grant.

c. Addition of co-PI/co-PD

In the event the grantee desires to add a new co-PI/co-PD to a project47, the AOR must sign and submit the request via use of NSF’s electronic systems. The new co-PI/co-PD’s name, biographical sketch, current and pending support from all ongoing projects and proposals, as well as a justification for the addition must also be included in the request. The contact information for the new co-PI/co-PD also should be included. If approved by NSF, the Grants Officer will amend the grant.

d. Withdrawal of PI/PD or co-PI/co-PD

In the event the PI/PD or co-PI/co-PD severs his/her connection with the grantee organization or otherwise relinquishes active direction of the project, the AOR must sign and submit a notification of the withdrawal of the PI/PD or co-PI/co-PD via use of NSF’s electronic systems. The grantee also must:

(i) initiate transfer of the grant;

(ii) nominate a substitute; or

(iii) initiate grant closeout procedures through submission of final reports.

e. Substitute (Change) PI/PD or co-PI/co-PD

In the event the grantee desires to continue the project with a substitute PI/PD or co-PI/co-PD, the AOR must sign and submit the request via use of NSF's electronic systems. The substitute PI/PD's name or co-PI/PD's name, biographical sketch, current and pending support from all ongoing projects and proposals, as well as a justification for the substitution must also be included in the request. The contact information for the substitute PI/PD or co-PI/co-PD also should be included. If approved by NSF, the Grants Officer will amend the grant. If not approved, NSF may take steps to suspend or terminate the grant.

In cases where a former NSF employee or IPA is being reappointed as PI or co-PI to an award they were previously involved with, the grantee must submit a "Change of PI" request using the FastLane Notifications and Requests module. The change in PI request should include documentation from the AOR designating a substitute negotiator for that award under the Associated Documents section. A co-PI request should designate the PI as the substitute negotiator.

f. Disposition of a Grant When a PI/PD Transfers from One Organization to Another Organization

(i) Policy. When a PI/PD plans to leave an organization during the course of a grant, the organization has the prerogative to nominate a substitute PI/PD or request that the grant be terminated and closed out. In those cases where the PI/PD's original and new organizations agree, NSF will facilitate a transfer of the grant and the assignment of remaining unobligated funds to the PI/PD's new organization. This should normally be done with a tripartite agreement (involving NSF, the PI/PD’s original organization and new organization), or by a subaward arrangement between the PI/PD's original and new organizations, subject to NSF's consent.

(ii) Procedures. When a PI/PD plans to leave an organization during the course of a grant, the PI/PD or the SPO, shall notify the cognizant NSF Program Officer. If the project is to continue with the original organization, the cognizant NSF Program Officer should advise the grantee to nominate a substitute PI/PD (see Chapter VII.B.2.d. If the project is to be continued at the PI/PD’s new organization, and if NSF and both organizations agree, formal notification of the impending transfer can be electronically initiated by either the PI/PD or the PI/PD's organization. The amount transferred has to be equal to or less than the unobligated balance. The request shall include a:

(a) brief summary of progress to date;

(b) description of work yet to be accomplished;

(c) completed on-line transfer request, including total disbursements and unpaid obligations to date (transfer amount will be automatically calculated, based on the amount entered in total disbursements). The original organization is responsible for including in the total estimated disbursements, any anticipated costs yet to be incurred against the original grant;

(d) detailed line item budget for the transfer amount and any outstanding continuing grant increments; and

(e) If funding is requested to support a postdoctoral researcher, then the request must include the requisite mentoring plan as described in Chapter II.C.2.j. The plan must be uploaded under "Mentoring Plan" in the Supplementary Documentation section of Fastlane. The PI must report on the mentoring activities provided to the individual(s) in annual and final project reports.

The original organization concurs with the transfer of the award by electronically forwarding the request to the new organization.

The new organization completes the request by providing a detailed budget for the transfer amount agreed to by both organizations. The AOR of the new organization must sign and submit the request via use of NSF’s electronic systems. Submission of the request constitutes agreement by the new organization to assume responsibility for completion of the project effort and to administer the grant (as originally awarded) from the transfer date to completion in accordance with any special terms and conditions and the applicable general terms and conditions that normally govern NSF grants made to the new organization. Special terms and conditions, as appropriate, cited in the original award will convey to the new grantee organization.

NSF will assign a proposal number at the time of submission. This proposal number will become the new grant number when the transfer is approved by an NSF Grants Officer.

(iii) Fund Transfer. Upon receipt of the above material, NSF will review the request and, if approved, deduct the specified transfer amount from the original grant and re-establish it under a new grant number at the new organization. Award notification by the NSF Grants Officer will constitute NSF approval of the grant transfer. The award notification also will specify the applicable general terms and conditions that govern the grant.

(iv) Monetary Discrepancies. Upon transfer of the grant to the new organization, any monetary discrepancies must be resolved between the original and the new grantee. NSF will not intervene in any disputes between the two organizations regarding the transferred amount.

(v) Equipment Transfers. Equipment purchased with NSF funds for use in a specific project should remain available for use for the duration of the project. PI/PDs who are in the midst of projects that included funding for equipment and who will continue the project at a new organization with NSF support, should arrange with their original organization to have the equipment transferred with them. Shipping costs for such equipment may be charged to the original or transferred grant as an allowable cost. Budgets should not include funds to "buy" equipment that had been previously obtained with Federal funds.

(vi) Possible Alternatives to the Transfer Process. When the amount of time and funds remaining in a project are modest, and if both the original and new organizations are in agreement, the original organization may issue a subaward to the new organization for completion of the project. This and other possible alternatives should be discussed with the NSF Grants Officer.

a. Upon receipt of a notification, NSF will consider, at a minimum, the following factors:

(i) The safety and security of personnel supported by the NSF award;

(ii) The overall impact to the NSF-funded activity;

(iii) The continued advancement of taxpayer-funded investments in science and scientists; and

(iv) Whether the awardee has taken appropriate action(s) to ensure the continuity of science and that continued progress under the funded project can be made.

b. Upon receipt and review of the information provided, NSF will consult with the AOR, or designee. Based on the results of this review and consultation, the Foundation may, if necessary, assert its programmatic stewardship responsibilities and oversight authority, to initiate the substitution or removal of the PI/PD or any co-PI/co-PD, reduce the award funding amount, or where neither of those previous options is available or adequate, to suspend or terminate the award.

c. When NSF invokes this authority, the grantee must nominate a substitute PI/PD or co-PI/co-PD via use of NSF’s electronic systems. The substitute PI/PD’s name or co-PI/co-PD’s name, biographical sketch, current and pending support from all ongoing projects and proposals, must also be included in the request. The contact information for the substitute PI/PD or co-PI/co-PD also should be included. If approved by NSF, the Grants Officer will amend the grant. If not approved, or a substitute PI/PD or co-PI/co-PD is not available, NSF may take steps, pursuant to Chapter XII.A to suspend or terminate the grant.

Excluding the purchase of items such as commercially available materials and supplies, equipment or general support services allowable under the grant, no part of an NSF award may be subawarded or transferred to another organization without prior NSF authorization. The intent to enter into such arrangements should be disclosed in the proposal.

If it becomes necessary to subaward, transfer or contract out part of an NSF award after a grant has been made, the grantee shall submit, at a minimum:

a. a clear description of the work to be performed by each subrecipient;

b. a separate budget and budget justification for each subaward; and

c. If funding is requested to support a postdoctoral researcher, and the original proposal did not include a mentoring plan, then the request must include the requisite mentoring plan. The plan must be uploaded under "Mentoring Plan" in the Supplementary Documentation section of Fastlane.

The request must be signed and submitted by the AOR via use of NSF’s electronic systems, and NSF authorization will be indicated by an amendment to the grant signed by the Grants Officer. The NSF grant terms and conditions will identify which articles flow-down to subrecipients.

If a grantee rebudgets funds to support a postdoctoral researcher and the original proposal included a mentoring plan, no further documentation is necessary. If the original proposal did not include a mentoring plan, then the grantee must send the cognizant NSF Program Officer the requisite mentoring plan.

If supplemental funding is requested to support a postdoctoral researcher and the original proposal did not include a mentoring plan, then the supplemental funding request must include the requisite mentoring plan.  The plan should be uploaded to the “Other Supplementary Documents” section of the FastLane Supplemental Funding Request module.

In all cases, the PI must report on the mentoring activities provided to the individual in the annual and final project reports.

 

 


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