Principal Investigator Transfers

Grants and contracts are awarded to the grantee (The University) on behalf of Principal Investigators (PI). If a PI is transferring to or from another institution, the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP) will work with the PI, the department and college to retain or transfer his/her awards.

The awarding agency, or sponsor, must give prior approval for all grant/contract transfers. Although exceptions may apply, in general, contracts (not grants) must be terminated at the original institution before they can be reissued to the new institution. Normally, grants can be transferred; however, the grantee can request a substitute PI to the sponsoring agency. In this case, the funded project may be related to the university and not just to the PI.

As an alternative to a transfer, the original grantee may issue subawards for the rest of project if time and funds remaining are modest and both sides agree.

Transfers may take longer than anticipated in order to coordinate with the sponsor, URI and the new institution.  A sponsor cannot transfer an existing award until the original institution formally closes out the project and institutions typically have 90 days past the end date for close out. Thus, transfers of an award may take 3-12 months.  Some sponsors such as NIH and NSF have specific forms that must completed, while others have no formal guidelines.  The PI should work with his home department and OSP.  Please see detailed information below.

Federal Sponsor Guidance on Award Transfer:


Transfer of Awards to Another Institution from University of Rhode Island

The PI must contact the College at his/her current institution for prior approval.

The PI must notify OSP about the transfer request to be made.

The PI responsible for arranging meeting with VP of Research and Economic Development.  Contact Associate VP of Research and/or Associate Director of Pre-Award to schedule meeting

The PI must review the original award documentation for the following information:

  • Cost sharing requirements: Determine if these have been met and whether any unmet requirements will be transferred.
  • Equipment purchased: Produce a list of equipment purchased on the current award (cost, acquisition date, property tag number and funding source) and obtain approval from the Department Chair and URI Property and Support Services to authorize the transfer.
  • Subrecipient: Inform collaborator of move. Determine status of the subrecipient’s part of the project.
  • Material and data transfer: Work with the legal office at either institution to initiate a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA), if needed.
  • IRB and IACUC protocols: Close out protocols at the current institution and ensure protocols are satisfied at the new institution.
  • Co-PI: Determine the role of the Co-PI that will remain at the current institution and if a subrecipient agreement for him/her will be required.

The PI must create a transfer letter to be given to OSP. The letter should document the following information:

  • The effective date of termination.
  • The name of the new institution.
  • List of grants requesting to be transferred and grants to remain.
  • List of equipment requesting to be transferred.
  • Signature line for Dean/Chair approval of transfer of funded project and equipment.

The PI must create an incoming letter for the new institution. The letter should document the following information:

  • The effective start date at the new institution.
  • List of grants to be transferred.
  • List of equipment/material to be transferred.
  • Any other relevant information that will help the new institution to facilitate the transfer.

The unobligated balance must be confirmed by the OSP Post-award Specialist prior to initiating the formal relinquishing statement. PI must have completed all outstanding interim/final progress reports and all cost-sharing commitments must be met.

The PI must submit to their new institution all required agency forms and reports for the transfer. NIH requires that the new institution review and provide signature approval on the PI transfer application packet.

  • NIH forms – Grant Form PHS 398 Grant Application Kit
  • NIH PI transfer instructions – Change of Grantee Organization
  • The PI must submit to their old institution all required agency forms and reports for the transfer. NSF requires that the PI first route the PI application packet through the old institution for approval before it is routed to the new institution for acknowledgement before issuing the award.
  • NSF Fastlane online forms – Login Portal
  • NSF PI transfer instructions – D. Transfer of PI

The PI must work with their department to provide and OSP to determine the relinquishment amount of the award to be moved to a new institution.

Once relinquishment amount is determined and forms completed, OSP will contact the sponsor and send an official letter/email to relinquish the award. The letter to the sponsor will stipulate that the transfer will be properly affected in accordance with applicable law, and indicate that the transfer relinquishes all rights and interests in all of the affected grants. It will also request that the awarding office(s) modify its records to reflect the transferee as the grantee of record and give the effective date of the transfer. If available and necessary, the letter also will provide the sponsor with the transferee’s Entity Identification Number/Name, and include verification of the transferee’s compliance with applicable requirements (e.g., research misconduct). Lastly, the letter will provide the sponsor with a list of the grant(s) to transfer (active and pending) with the following information for each and any necessary documentation attachment needed by the sponsor:

  • Complete grant number.
  • Name of PI.
  • Current budget period and project period.
  • De-obligation amount. (For NIH use the PHS 3734 de-obligation form that lists the estimated amount to be released and equipment.)
  • Any final invention or IP issues. (For NIH use HHS 568 Final Invention Statement and Certification form.)
  • For NIH and any other agency requiring it, 90 days after the end of the final budget period at UH, RFS will submit, a final Financial Status Report. (For NIH, Form 425.)

Transfer of Awards from Another Institution to University of Rhode Island

The transfer process may begin before the PI’s official appointment date at URI. OSP usually waits to hear from the old institution and the sponsor to confirm the relinquishment amount. However, if the PI did not complete all of the necessary reports and paperwork to initiate the transfer at the old institution, OSP can assist in this process. In order to initiate the transfer process and set up the award at URI, OSP will need the following from the PI and the URI department:

  • A transmittal for each award to be transferred with the incoming letter from the old institution.
  • A complete copy of the original proposal to the sponsor, including copies of procurement process/ documentation for any existing and continuing paid collaborators/contractors/consultants on the award.
  • If available, a copy of the signed relinquishment statement from the other institution. If one is available, interim funding may be requested.
  • Any agency required forms. Above are the specific agencies forms and instructions for NIH and NSF.

Any subawards issued off an award that is being transferred must be terminated and reissued from the new institution if they will continue to be part of the project.

Once the transfer is completed, OSP will receive a Notice of Award from the sponsoring agency reflecting the estimated balance of the award funds to be transferred. The PI and department will receive a Notice of Award from OSP. The amount of the award may be more or less than the original estimate. A modification to the awarded amount may later be issued.

Retaining an Award when a PI is Leaving the University of Rhode Island

If the award is to stay at URI and the PI is leaving, the Chairman and Dean in collaboration with the PI will propose a new PI for the award to the sponsor. OSP will submit the request to the sponsor for approval. If approved, OSP will be issued an amendment to the award naming the new PI. The following information is needed to submit to the sponsor for approval:

  • An administrative transmittal copied from the original transmittal with the approvals of the individuals that approved the initial proposal, including the original PI.
  • A statement from the PI/Chairman/Dean stating the reason/benefit of retaining the award and showing how the new PI selected is suitable to continue the project.
  • The biographical sketch of the individual proposed as the new PI.
  • Other sources of support of the new PI. In the case of NIH, a PHS 398 application Format Page 7.
  • Any budget or cost center changes resulting from the proposed change.
  • If applicable, any change in level of effort (a reduction of 25% or more must be reported).