I. General Guidelines
When a Principal Investigator (PI) leaves for another university or non-profit institution, he or she generally is allowed to take any active grant and/or pending proposal to the new institution. To determine the specific requirements, it is important to review the award terms and conditions and sponsor policies concerning change of grantee and relocation of PI.
Since awards are made to the UGARF/UGA and not directly to PIs, UGARF/UGA (as the relinquishing institution, via the Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA)) must agree to any transfers before transfer paperwork is submitted to sponsor for approval. Before UGARF/UGA agrees to the transfer, the new institution must give written notice to UGARF/UGA that it will accept the transfer, usually with no changes to the scope of work or the budget.
Sometimes, in the best interest of the project, the decision is made for UGA to retain the award when the PI leaves. Leaving a grant at UGA may involve rebudgeting to subcontract to the PI’s new institution for the PI’s continued work and collaboration on the project. When this occurs, the PI should make arrangements in concurrence with his/her UGA Department Chair to assign a new PI at UGA. In most cases the change of PI also has to be approved by the sponsor.
Unless specific sponsor permission is requested and granted, most grants with 12 months or less remaining until project end cannot be transferred. Special considerations and permissions are required for grants that have less than 12 months remaining in the project period or are already in a no-cost extension period.
In ALL instances, IN ADDITION TO agency-required forms, your Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA) requires a request to transfer letter written to the UGA Associate VP for Research (see A.1.d. below for information on contents of letter), signed by the PI and the Department Chair, documenting the request for transfer. The VP for Research is the only authorized person at UGA who may give approval to transfer equipment. A single letter can be used for multiple grant awards.
A. How to transfer an existing grant to another institution
1. Principal Investigator responsibilities
a. Review the award terms and conditions.
b. Notify UGA department chair and UGA OSP grant administrator of your intent to transfer the grant(s) from UGA.
c. Contact the sponsor’s Program Officer and inform him/her of your intent to transfer the grant from UGA to a new institution. The Program Officer will guide the PI as to the appropriate steps.
d. Prepare and submit to SPA transfer request letter, addressed to the VP for
Research, containing the following:
o Sponsor name
o Sponsor grant number
o UGA account or proposal number
o Cost sharing obligations, subcontracts
o Names of any students or other faculty who would be affected by the grant/contract transfer
o Equipment requested for transfer and to remain at UGA
o Intended disposition of grant/contract (e.g., transfer, terminate, appoint new PI at UGA)
e. Provide UGA SPA with contact name for SPA equivalent at new institution.
f. Notify the SPA equivalent office at the receiving institution. They will require that you complete all sponsor-required forms and will most likely require the completion of internal forms, as well.
g. Work with UGA SPA to prepare letter of relinquishment addressed to new institution and/or agency. Include estimated unobligated balance at time of departure. Coordinate this estimate of unobligated balance with SPA.
h. Confirm the status of any cost-sharing commitment made by the UGARF/UGA and ascertain requirements to transfer any remaining commitment to the new institution. Pro-rated cost share on expenses to date must be documented by UGA SPA.
i. Notify active sub-awardees of impending move. Their subaward with UGA will be terminated and, if necessary, reissued from new institution.
j. Discuss any technology developments with UGA’s Innovation Gateway.
k. If you want to move equipment, the department administrator must submit an inventory to the Property Control Office (PCO), which will coordinate with SPA. (See equipment transfer at B. below.) After review from PCO, follow up on your request for approval from the VP for Research (via Sponsored Projects Administration), (See A.1.d. above.)
l. Prepare documents for subcontract, if required, to cover obligations beyond the relinquishing date, if needed (transmittal form from new UGA PI with conflict of interest certification, statement of work, budget, budget justification) and submit to receiving institution.
m. Complete any application procedures required by the new institution’s Sponsored Projects Administration Office or the sponsor in order to complete the grant transfer process.
The general process is similar for all transfers, but NIH and NSF have specific instructions for the transfer process.
2. Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA) responsibilities
a. Request query for PI’s awards and proposals. This will provide a tracking mechanism for any transfers or PI changes.
b. Coordinate with PI, department, and SPA to be sure that appropriate documents are provided as required by the new institution, to verify equipment transfers and estimated unobligated balances, and to be sure that the relinquishing date is correct.
c. Review request to transfer letter from PI outlining existing grant(s) and proposal(s).
d. Notify the sponsor’s Program Director and SPA Representative for each grant to be transferred.
e. Prepare relinquishing letter to new institution (with the PI’s help) and review/sign the letter
f. Review subaward agreements and coordinate terminations with SPA. Process the subaward amendments, terminating the subaward with UGA.
g. Negotiate subcontract to UGA from the new institution if expenditures will occur after the relinquishing date (i.e. students’ payroll, animal per diems, etc.). Since the project PI will no longer be associated with UGA, he or she must designate a colleague to act as PI at UGA in such instances and the new PI must submit a Transmittal Form to SPA.
3. Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA) and Department Accounting Office (DAO) responsibilities
a. Determine the estimated amount of unexpended or un-obligated funds (SPA Post Award and DAO) and share this information with the PI and SPA Pre-Award contact handling the relinquishing statements.
b. Review commitments to personnel, particularly graduate students. A subaward from the new institution back to UGARF/UGA may be necessary to meet personnel obligations.
c. Critically review any cost sharing commitments and verify appropriate cost share has been documented.
d. Review agreement for equipment purchases. Approval from the VP for Research (via Sponsored Projects Administration) is needed for transfer of equipment. (See A.1.k.) Capitalized equipment purchased on the current award may move with the PI to the new institution. Any movement of equipment which has not been purchased with this award must be approved by the department chair and be accompanied by a loan agreement signed between the two institutions. Contact UGA’s Property Control Office.
B. Equipment Transfer for Active Grant
Equipment purchased with active grant funds can be transferred after completion of an inventory and with written approval by the department chair and approval of the VP for Research (See A.1.k. above) (via Sponsored Projects Administration – include in transfer request letter described in A.1. d. above). If equipment purchased on grants and contracts is titled to the sponsor, UGA must obtain prior approval from the sponsor for transferring the equipment to another institution. An inventory must be submitted to Property Control Office (PCO) and the transfer coordinated with PCO and SPA. Equipment not purchased with grant funds (i.e. state funds) normally is not transferable to the new institution unless approved by the department chair and coordinated with PCO. Several options are possible: 1) Arrangements must be made with the new institution to reimburse UGA for such equipment, if purchased; 2) If the equipment is loaned to the new institution, arrangement must include clear documentation that the new institution is financially responsible for all shipping costs (to and from) and maintenance costs.
II. Specific Agency Guidelines
A. National Institutes of Health
B. National Science Foundation
All requests for change of institution for awards from NSF must be submitted via FastLane under “Notifications & Requests.” The transfer can be initiated by the PI or SPA.
National Institutes of Health
National Science Foundation
U.S.Department of Agriculture
NOTE: Reference to the above guidelines does not preclude the required contact with the sponsor’s Program Officer and Contracting Officer, UGA’s Sponsored Projects Administration, or PI’s UGA department chair.