During an award, a Principal Investigator (PI) may want to make changes to the budget or to modify other aspects of the project. In some cases, the changes may require only internal approval by the University and in other cases such changes may require approval of the sponsor prior to the change. Re-budgeting and Prior Approvals policies vary from sponsoring agency to sponsoring agency and it is the responsibility of the PI to review and be familiar with the policies of their project sponsor (including non-government sponsors).
Most sponsors will require obtaining their approval prior to the following changes:
- Change in the objectives or scope of the project
- “Significant” re-budgeting which is often defined as transferring over 25% of the award among direct cost categories
- Absence of or significant change of PI or other key personnel effort
- Change of grantee institution
- Need for additional funding
- Transfer of a “significant part” of the programmatic effort to a third party
- Transfer of Participant Support costs to another budget category
- Application of new technology
- Change in the approved use of animals or human subjects
- Pre-award spending more than 90 days prior to the award start date
The University requires internal approval on the changes listed above in addition to the following budget revisions:
- Pre-award spending within 90 days of the award start date
- Re-budgeting which moves funds into salaries/support costs for the PI
The above constitutes some general rules. The following matrix also provides some direction as to prior approval and re-budgeting conditions. As policies do vary from sponsor to sponsor and are amended from time to time, PIs are ultimately responsible for being familiar with their sponsor’s requirements at the time the award is made.
All re-budgeting and prior approvals requests must (1) occur prior to any changes or actions and (2) be submitted through the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research (OSPR) whether they require sponsor approval or internal approval.
All requests should be emailed to the OSPR with a description of the change requested including a justification for the change. The OSPR will advise the PI as to next steps in obtaining approvals.
- In the case of re-budgeting requests requiring internal approval only, the request will be forwarded to the Dean of Research who will email the determination on the request to the PI and Grants Accounting.
- When sponsor approval is required, the OSPR will work with the PI to create the request. OSPR will contact the sponsor with the request in most cases. All requests must go through the OSPR.
Budget revision requests will be denied when:
- the requested revision does not comply with funder and/or university guidelines, requirements, and/or terms and conditions for allowable expenditures and/or budget revisions
- required prior approval from the funder is denied
- there is insufficient lead time to process and approve the request per funder guidelines
- there is insufficient documentation or justification for the request
- the timing of the revision is at such a point in the period of performance that the intended expenditure may not benefit the project to the extent intended by the funder during the award period
Updated July 2015