Grant Transfers

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 grants, 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. Supplies and other materials which are related to the departing PI’s research program may be transferred to the new institution.  They must be itemized, replacement cost or other valuation method applied, requested by the PI and approved by the chair and department administrator.  All costs should be borne by the new institution.  Financial accounts must have neutral or positive balances prior to transfer; negative balances will need to be resolved.  After payment of these costs by the new institution, grant(s) may be transferred

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.

Transfer of NIH Grant to Another Institution

Excerpted from NIH Grants Policy Statement, Part (Administraive Requirements > Changes in Project and Budget > Prior Approval Requirements > Change of Grantee Organization)

NIH prior approval is required for the transfer of the legal and administrative responsibility for a grant-supported project or activity from one legal entity to another before the expiration of the approved project period (competitive segment). A change of grantee organization may be accomplished under most NIH grants if any of the following conditions are met:

  • The original grantee has agreed to relinquish responsibility for an active project before the expiration of the approved project period. This includes any proposed change of grantee as a result of a PD/PI on a research project transferring from one organization to another organization. The project under the same PD/PI may be supported at a new organization for a period up to the remainder of the previously approved project period in an amount not to exceed that previously recommended for direct costs (plus applicable F&A costs) for the remaining period.
  • The grant to be transferred has been terminated in accordance with 45 CFR part 74.61 or 92.43.
  • A non-competing continuation award that is within an approved project period has been withheld because of the grantee's actions.

The proposed new grantee institution must provide the GMO with a change of institution application which may be submitted using the PHS 398 or PHS 416-1 paper application forms, or electronically via using the Parent Funding Opportunity Announcement listed at If the original award was the result of a modular application and the grantee will submit a paper change of institution application, the modular procedures apply to the request for change of grantee. If the original award was the result of a modular application and the grantee will submit an electronic change of institution application, the grantee may submit a detailed budget or streamlined-detailed budget (as described in the FOA).

NIH may request additional information necessary to accomplish its review of the request. Acceptance of a relinquishing statement by NIH does not guarantee approval of a transfer application for the continued funding of a project.

NIH will accomplish a change of grantee organization by issuing a revised NoA to the original grantee reflecting the revised budget/project period end dates, deletion of any future-year support, and deobligation of remaining funds, if applicable. (A deobligation of funds will be based on the estimated grant expenditures through the relinquishment date, as determined from the relinquishing statement or the available balance in PMS, whichever is less.)

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