OGC works in coordination with the principal investigator and the funding agency to request and process any changes in the project (such as the change in the direction or the scope of work, budget, personnel, and other amendments in the terms and conditions of a grant). Written requests for grant amendment should be prepared and sent to the sponsor by OGC. When the sponsor requires prior approval, the PI should initiate a letter/email describing the need for the desired change with a justification, and forward it to OGC for processing and submission to the sponsor agency.
1. Project Extension - No Cost Extension
Ideally the principal investigator must plan the project so that it could be completed and budget expended by its end date. However, sometimes it is necessary to request an extension of the project period with, or without, a request for additional funds. Unless it is specified in the research agreement that extensions are prohibited, the OGC, upon the written request of the principal investigator for such a change, will send a letter to the sponsor requesting an amendment of project period with a valid and significant reason for the need to amend the expiration date. This request should be done well in advance of the project expiration date. Once an approval or disapproval letter from the sponsor is received, the PI will be notified immediately and a copy will be forwarded to him/her, and communicated to the Office of the Comptroller.
Procedures for Obtaining a No-cost Extension
As mentioned above, upon notification, the OGC will prepare and send a letter requesting a no cost extension on behalf of the PI. The PI must provide OGC with a justification for the need for an additional period of time to complete the project objectives. The letter must address programmatic issues and may describe justifiable delays. Such reasons as there may be money remaining in the project's account is not sufficient for an extension. In the Memo or Email to OGC, the PI must include the following information for his or her request for a no cost extension:
- The title of the project
- The name of the funding agency
- The project reference number or grant number assigned by the awarding agency (if available)
- The cost center number (provided by the comptroller's Office at the initiation of the project)
- A statement requesting a no-cost extension from the project end date to the expected new end date, the amount of additional time requested, and the reason for the request.
Most federal grants usually approve one-time extensions of the expiration date for up to twelve months but this request must be received by the agency at least 10 days before the expiration date of the grant, unless otherwise specified. Disapproval of project extensions apply when the terms and conditions of a grant prohibit extensions, when extensions require extra funds, or when the request for extension involves the change in project objectives or scope of the project.
2. Project Renewal - Cost Extension
In some cases, funding agencies require that requests for cost extensions with additional funds be submitted as applications or supplements. In other cases, a letter explaining the circumstances is sufficient to obtain a cost extension. It is best to check with the agency concerning the proper means of applying for this type of extension.
Requests for additional funding on existing projects are processed through OGC. You will need to submit the following items:
- a statement of work for the additional effort,
- additional budget, and
- an updated certification for all compliance issues if necessary such as the IRB.
3. Re-budgeting or Budget Reallocations
During the course of the project the principal investigator may need to make some budget reallocations (transferring funds from one budget line item into another). Some funding agencies allow flexibility in how funds are expended and permit needed changes for project implementation. If permission is not spelled out in the terms and conditions of the grant, the principle investigator must get a written approval for a budget reallocation. When in doubt PIs should seek guidance of the OGC. OGC in coordination with the PI is responsible for drafting and sending the budget reallocation request to the funding agency. Once an approval letter from the sponsor is received, a copy will be forwarded to the principal investigator and the Office of the Comptroller.
4. Budget Carry-Overs
Sometimes when funds remain unexpended by the end of the project period (project end date), some sponsors will allow the unspent funds to be carried into the next budget period without written approval, however some will not. It is important to check the terms and conditions of the grant for the sponsor's policy. If a funding agency requires permission to carry over funds then a letter of request must be issued and sent by OGC.
5. Leave of Absence
If the PI is directing a sponsored project and is planning to take a leave of absence he/she will need to notify the sponsor agency. The letter needs to address how the PI plans to implement and manage the project during his/her absence. This letter should be signed by OGC.
6. Change of Principal Investigator
When an award is made it is mostly based on the qualifications of the principal investigator and his/her proposed level of effort. Should the PI decide to withdraw from the project for any reason (reduce his/her stated level of effort, or take sabbatical leave for more than three months, or is ill), the situation must be communicated to the department Chairperson and the Dean, who should recommend appropriate action, such as a substitute PI or the termination of the project. These recommendations should be forwarded to OGC in order to obtain sponsor approval. If a change of principal investigator is required on a project, a letter must be sent to the sponsor. The letter should outline the qualifications of the new PI, and be endorsed by the out-going PI.
7. Project Transfer from AUB to Another Institution
If a principal investigator plans to leave the University, he/she should obtain AUB's administration written approval by filling out the Grant Transfer Form
. The form should be signed by the PI's Chair and Dean and then submitted to OGC. OGC will insure its routing to the Office of the Provost for his final signature on grant transfer. Once approvals are obtained OGC will issue an official letter to the Sponsor agency approving the grant transfer. The PI should also contact the sponsor agency project administrator as well to determine whether the grant or contract can be transferred to the new institution or university. The PI should attach sponsor agency and new organization approvals to the Project Transfer form.
8. Project Transfer from Another Institution to University (AUB)
A new principal investigator can transfer his/her award to AUB after seeking approval from the former institution and from the funding agency. The new PI should submit these approvals along with a signed Proposal Transmittal and Approval Form to OGC. OGC will then communicate with the funding agency and follow-up on the procedures to transfer the grant.