Awards are made to institutions, not directly to PIs. Therefore, the relinquishing institution must agree to transfer awards if/when its PI moves to another institution. One of the services provided by OSR includes assistance in transferring grants to Northwestern from other institutions (when a PI is arriving at Northwestern) or from Northwestern to other institutions or entities (when a PI is leaving Northwestern). In all cases, it is recommended that a PI and his/her departmental administrator consult with their OSR research administrator at least ninety days before spending needs to begin at the new location.
To initiate grant transfers, provide OSR with a list of all existing awards and all pending grant proposals, annotated to show the budget period and project period begin and end dates; the name of the agency(ies); award number(s); and the names and phone numbers of the agency program officers and grants management staff. In the case of incoming grant transfers, it is also helpful to include copies of the actual award notices, including award terms and conditions, a copy of the most recent monthly financial statement, and, if known, the name and phone number of the grants administrator in the grants office of the other institution.
OSR staff will first determine whether the terms of the grant allow it to be transferred, and then will work with their counterparts at the relinquishing institution (or, in the case of departing PIs, the new institution), as well as agency personnel to actually effect the transfer. In the case of NIH grant transfers, the relinquishing institution must sign an official PHS Relinquishment Statement (available at OSR) indicating the estimated unexpended balance as of the date of transfer, and itemizing the equipment that will move with the PI to the new institution. Normally equipment purchased on an ongoing grant is expected by the agency to move with the PI to the new institution; transfer of items of equipment purchased on previous grants and/or using institutional funds are subject to negotiation between the PI and his/her department chair.
Rules and regulations on grant transfers vary widely from funding agency to funding agency. Grant transfers (and transfers of contracts) can be quite complex, especially those involving subcontracts, graduate students who are continuing their education at the original institution, awards having co-PIs, or awards ending within a six month window. Consultation with OSR staff at least ninety days in advance of the transfer date is strongly encouraged to ensure a smooth transition.