PI and Award Transfers
The transfer of an award from one institution to another is a complex and time-consuming task which requires the approval of multiple offices across the UC Riverside (UCR) campus. While there may be variations between awards and sponsors, this page provides guidance, information needed, and actions required to assist principal investigators (PIs) and their departmental analyst in requesting a transfer of an award.
All grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements (Awards), both Federal and non-Federal, are awarded to The Regents of the University of California, not directly to PIs. When a PI plans to move to another institution and terminates their affiliation with UCR, the PI will need to either request the transfer of their active Award(s) to their new institution or identify a replacement PI to oversee the completion of the Award at UCR. As the grantee institution, UCR must approve the relinquishment of an Award to formally transfer such Award to the PI’s new institution. The awarding agency or sponsor must also provide their approval of such a transfer. Rarely is an Award terminated due to the separation of a PI from UCR.
Outgoing Award Transfers
To initiate a transfer, first submit either a completed: Request for Approval to Transfer an Active Grant/Contract/Cooperative Agreement and Equipment form or Request for Approval to Transfer an Active Grant/Contract/Cooperative Agreement and Equipment with Subawards/Subcontracts form, as applicable, to the Contract & Grant Officer (CGO) assigned to your department. The CGO will then submit the request, using a process defined by each sponsor. If the sponsor approves the request, UCR will begin the process of closing out the Award. At the same time, the new institution will submit a proposal to the sponsor for the remaining funds. After completing both the closeout and proposal review stages, the sponsor will issue a new award to the new institution.
PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THE AWARD TRANSFER PROCESS IS NOT QUICK; it can easily take two to three months. Typically, such actions require the combined efforts of the PI, the sponsor’s representative, the PI’s department, CGO, and Extramural Funds Accounting (EMF). Thus, it is important to allocate sufficient time to the transfer process (i.e., the request should be made well in advance of the expected start date at the new institution).
There are several factors to consider, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Will the grant be transferred, or will a replacement PI be named at UCR?
- If the Award is staying at the UCR, will there be a subaward issued to the new institution of the separating PI?
- If the Award is transferring and there are project staff members staying at UCR, will there be a new subaward issued back to UCR from the new institution?
- Are there subawards on the current award being transferred? If so, all active subawards thereunder will need to be closed out prior to the relinquishment of the Award.
- What will be the relinquishment date? (Often, it is listed as the date of separation from UCR)?
- Has the PI stopped spending against the Award? Note: The unobligated balance that is to be transferred to the new institution must be firm in order to submit either the Request for Approval to Transfer an Active Grant/Contract/Cooperative Agreement form or the Request for Approval to Transfer an Active Grant/Contract/Cooperative Agreement with Subawards/Subcontracts form, as applicable, to the CGO.
- Are there any cost share obligations under the Award? Will the new institution agree to take these on?
- Has there been any intellectual property developed?
- Is there any equipment, associated with this Award, which needs to be transferred to the new institution?
- Are there any compliance protocols (e.g., IRB, IACUC, or IBC) to close out?
- Is there a lab to be closed?
- Will any related project staff members, such as graduate students, transfer to the new institution with the PI?
General Process for Transferring an Award
It is important to notify your CGO as soon as possible regarding the forthcoming separation of a PI from UCR to facilitate the timely transfer of Award(s) pursuant to all UCR and sponsor requirements, and to assist with possible options for a particular Award.
If an Award is to be transferred, all spending must discontinue as soon as practical. An Award cannot be relinquished by UCR until all expenditures, including payroll, have been posted to the general ledger.
The transferring PI should meet with the department chair and departmental analyst to develop a transition plan. This plan should address what will happen to all open Awards and must be approved by the Dean’s Office.
The Outgoing PI Transfer Checklist can serve as a guide as to what needs to be completed.
Develop the necessary documentation for each Award. The information below is not exhaustive, but is an attempt to highlight the more common issues/concerns.
If the award remains at UCR:
Prepare a change of PI request. If the replacement PI was already included on the initial eCAF, the CGO will obtain approval via email from the replacement PI’s Chair confirming their concurrence of the change. If the replacement PI was not included on the eCAF, then a “paper eCAF” will need to be completed to capture the regulatory and departmental approvals necessary to revise the lead PI for the Award. A justification for the change in PI, including any sponsor required documents (e.g., biographical sketch, current and pending support, etc.), will need to be forwarded to the CGO for sponsor’s approval. These documents will be sponsor-specific, and the request will need to be submitted by the CGO. Typically, the justification should be addressed to the sponsor’s grants specialist, signed by both the old and new PI, and developed on department letterhead.
If a portion of the funding will be provided to the new institution as an outgoing subaward, a subaward package signed by an authorized official of the new institution will be required as well as any necessary sponsor prior approvals.
If the award will be transferred out of UCR:
Prepare a Request for Approval to Transfer an Active Grant/Contract/Cooperative Agreement form for each Award the PI intends to transfer.
Prepare a Request for Approval to Transfer an Active Grant/Contract/Cooperative Agreement with Subawards/Subcontracts form for each Award the PI intends to transfer which has active subaward/subcontracts thereunder.
The heading below titled “Process/Information for Specific Sponsors” provides specific details for UCR’s most common sponsors. If you do not see the sponsor of your award listed, please contact your CGO for guidance.
For sponsors that require a letter of request: prepare a letter addressed to the sponsor’s grants specialist/contracting officer/program manager on departmental letterhead signed by the PI. Since the Award was issued to UCR, please leave a place for the CGO to add a signature block for the authorized official who will sign on behalf of UCR. This relinquishment letter should contain the following:
- The sponsor's award number
- The effective date of relinquishment
- The relinquished amount as of the date of transfer
- Justification for the need to transfer the award
- Send documentation to the assigned CGO for review and approval. The CGO will review, sign, and forward the request to the sponsor for their review.
Repeat this process for all Awards affected by the PI transfer.
Note on Transfer of Contracts
While federal grants may often be transferred between institutions based on the relocation of a PI, contracts are not typically transferable; instead, contracts may be terminated completely and re-issued to a new institution. Likewise, sponsors may require that UCR retain the original contract and name a replacement PI and issue a new subcontract to the PI’s new institution. Regardless of the award type, the process outlined above should be followed. Any questions regarding this process may be directed to the assigned CGO.
Note on Transfer of Awards with Existing Subawards/Subcontracts
When a subaward/subcontract is involved on a current project, a termination date must be established between UCR and the subrecipient and a firm unobligated balance determined. Contact your CGO to coordinate these efforts. Once the original subaward/subcontract between UCR and subrecipient has terminated, and the Award has been transferred to the new institution, a new subaward/subcontract will need to be initiated by the new institution based on their internal processes.
PROCESS/INFORMATION FOR SPECIFIC SPONSORS
NOTE: NIH expects both UCR and the new institution to disclose whether the Award transfer is occurring within the context of an ongoing or recent investigation of misconduct of any kind, including, but not limited to, professional or research misconduct.
Office of Naval Research (ONR)
• Contact the Program Officer
• ONR Award Closeout
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) & National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
• To transfer an award: The PI should prepare a letter of request with supporting documentation and submit it to your CGO who will review and forward it to USDA, as appropriate. The request should include the following: 1) A copy of the replacement PI curriculum vita; 2) a letter of commitment with a signature from the replacement PI; and 3) a Current and Pending Support Form for the replacement PI. If the replacement PI is already a co-PI in the award, only the letter and updated current and pending support form are necessary.
• To name a replacement PI: The authorized representative must request, in writing (on official letterhead), USDA’s approval of the replacement PI. The request should include the following: 1) A copy of the replacement PI’s curriculum vita; 2) a letter of commitment with a signature from the replacement PI; and 3) a Current and Pending Support Form for the replacement PP. If the replacement PI is already a co-PI in the award, only the letter and updated current and pending support form are necessary.
• Requests for transfer must be submitted, via STGMS (https://stgms.stsci.edu/), during the grant period of performance. Requests made after the grant expires are subject to denial. If the request is approved, the sponsor will issue a Grant Amendment containing the approved changes.
• Review applicable General Grant Provisions associated with the project for further guidance.
Department of Defense (DoD)
• Contact your assigned CGO.
Note: Transfer of DoD awards is rare. (DoDGARs, §33.30(D)(3), https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CFR-2011-title32-vol1/xml/CFR-2011-title32-vol1-subtitleA-chapI-subchapC.xml
Department of Education
• Contact the Program Officer
Department of Energy (DOE)
• Contact the Program Officer
Department of the Interior
• Contact the Program Officer
***If the sponsor is not listed above, please consult with your CGO for guidance.***
Incoming Award Transfers
The transfer process may begin before the PI’s official appointment date at UCR. SPA usually waits to hear from the PI’s former institution and the sponsor to confirm the relinquishment amount. However, if the PI did not complete all the necessary reports and paperwork to initiate the transfer at their former institution, SPA can assist in this process.
To initiate the transfer process and set up the award at UCR, SPA will need the following from the PI and the department’s Contract & Grant Analyst (CGA):
- An electronic Campus Approval Form (eCAF) for each award to be transferred.
- The scope of work or revised research plan for the research to be completed at UCR, including subaward/subcontract packages for any subrecipients.
- If available, a copy of the signed relinquishment statement from the PI’s former institution.
- Any agency required forms or other documents required by the sponsor.
Once the transfer is completed, SPA will receive a Notice of Award from the sponsoring agency reflecting the estimated balance of the award funds to be transferred. The amount of the award may differ based any adjustments made by the former institution; a modification or an unobligated balance letter may be issued to release the remaining funds at a later time. A Campus Award Notice (CAN) will be processed in PAMIS to establish the award in the financial system. All required regulatory protocols, required trainings as well as financial conflict of interest form(s) must be in place in order for the award to be released.
Outgoing and Incoming PI Checklists
PIs who separate from UCR should ensure that all appropriate actions are taken to allow for a smooth transfer to their new institution. Likewise, new incoming faculty will need to coordinate discussions between their old institution and UCR to facilitate the timely transfer of Awards to UCR (e.g., ensuring that all required prior approvals are in place).
Below are helpful checklists for PIs and Departmental Analysts which are intended to serve as a guide/tool when PIs are transferring to another institution or transferring in to UCR. These checklists may not include everything; however, they are an attempt to highlight the more common issues/concerns that complicate, and potentially slow down, the transition of a PI or cause problems when a PI transfers between institutions.