Award Transfer Process

Grant/Contract Transfers (when the PI leaves the institution)

Grants and contracts are awarded to the University of Arizona (UA), not to individual principal investigators. If a principal investigator is leaving the University, and wishes to transfer the award to the new institution, UA will determine whether to retain or transfer the award.

The University must approve the relinquishing of awards and equipment to the PI's new institution. The sponsoring agency must also approve these transfers, prior to the project start date at the new institution. After an award is transferred, a subaward may be established back to the UA to complete work at UA.

Award Transfer Out Procedure

Award transfers take time as there are numerous UA compliance checks to be completed before UA can release the award. The sponsor and new institution will then have their own steps to process and accept the transfer. Our advice is to be patient with the process. The checks and balances have a reason, and any mistakes along the way are almost impossible to correct after-the-fact. 

To initiate a transfer, The PI and Department are responsible for preparing and submitting the Grant Transfer Memo to Sponsored Projects Postaward as soon as the transfer is knownThe memo includes:

  • Department/College approval for the transfer
  • Effective date of transfer and last date of PI employment at UA
  • Name of new institution and contact information of sponsored projects at new institution
  • List of equipment purchased on the grant that is to be transferred to the new institution
  • Institutions that UA has issued Subawards to
  • Estimated unexpended balance as of the effective date of transfer. Accuracy is critical. The sponsor will use this amount to deobligate the UA's award, and make an award to the new institution. Sponsors usually deny requests to amend this amount after-the-fact.

Sponsor Specific procedures:

NSF Transfer Procedures

The principal investigator initiates the FastLane request and forwards it to Sponsored Projects Services for review and institutional approval. Follow FastLane PI Transfer Instructions. The transfer request cannot be submitted until all expenses have posted to the account.

See the NSF Award and Administration Guide, Section II.B.2.g, Disposition of a Grant When a PI/PD Transfers from One Organization to Another Organization, for more information.

NIH Transfer Procedures
The principal investigator and department provides SPS Postaward information to initiate a Relinquishing Statement and completion of the Final Invention Statement and Certification

See the NIH Grants Policy Statement, Section, Change of Grantee Organization, for more information.

Sponsors with no specific format/guidelines
For sponsors with no specific format or instructions, contact your Sponsored Projects Services postaward team with the required information listed above under Transfer Process.

Sponsor approval is required for all grant/contract transfers, so in lieu of a specific format, draft a letter to your sponsor requesting approval to transfer the award. The letter should contain identifying information about the award (PI Name, Title, Grant/Contract Number), the effective date of the transfer, the new institution, unexpended balance (direct and F&A costs), and the list of equipment to be transferred (if any). Send the letter to Sponsored Projects Services for review and institutional approval.

Pending Proposals

When leaving the University of Arizona, a PI may have pending proposals that have a chance of being funded. Some sponsors require that the UA relinquish their interest in the proposal, so that if it is funded, the new institution will receive the award. Contact Sponsored Projects Services, Preaward Services if your sponsor requests a letter relinquishing your proposal to the new institution.

What happens next?

The principal investigator and Sponsored Projects Services will be required to complete final progress (principal investigator) and financial reporting (SPS). SPS will refund the unexpended balance to the sponsor, if applicable.

In general, when the sponsor approves of the transfer, they will:

  • Issue a revised award or modification to the old institution (original grantee) that shows the revised end dates and deobligates the unexpended balance, if any. The deobligation amount is the unexpended balance reported to the sponsor when the transfer was requested.
  • Issue an award to the new institution. The award will include the unexpended balance from the UA, and may include reference to future funding, if applicable.

Assigning a new PI/Keeping the Award at the UA

The administering UA department has the option of nominating a replacement PI to take over responsibility for the award. A subaward can be issued to the transferring PI to complete research at their new institution.

The preponderence of activity should determine whether an award is transferred to a new institution and a subaward issued back to UArizona, or if the award is kept at UArizona and a subaward issues to the new institution. The sponsor must approve either arrangement. 

Roles and Responsibilities

The Grant Transfer Roles and Responsibilities chart defines roles for the principal investigator, department, Sponsored Projects Services, the Contract & Research Support Program, Property, and Research, Discovery & Innovation.

Transfer of Gift/Fixed Price Balances

Gift funds and funds remaining at the end of a fixed-price contract are considered University funds and are not available for transfer to the new institution.

Equipment Transfers

Equipment purchased with sponsored funds for use on a specific project normally remains available for use for the duration of the project. Principal Investigators who are in the midst of projects that included funding for equipment and who will continue the project at a new institution may, with sponsor support, arrange to have the equipment transferred with them. Remember, however, that if the transfer is to an entity outside the United States, an export license may need to be obtained from the United States government. Approval of the department head, dean, Sponsored Projects Services Property Administrator, and the Senior Vice President for Research is needed before the equipment may be transferred. Reference the University Policy and Procedures Regarding Transfer of Equipment purchased with sponsored funds, state funds, and/or a combination of funding sources.

  • Equipment purchased on grants and contracts may still be titled to the sponsor agency. When this is the case, the UA must obtain sponsor approval for transferring it to another institution.
  • Only the Senior Vice President for Research is legally authorized to give approval for transferring grant/contract-related equipment to another institution. If appropriate signatures are not obtained, legal action can be taken by the state.
  • Transfers of equipment and technology outside the United States may require prior United States government approval (contact UA Export Control).
  • It is important to begin the approval process early, since it may take time to move the request through the University process and obtain the appropriate government approvals, if required.
  • Research equipment cannot be transferred to a for-profit institution.
  • Transfer equipment to a new institution using the Equipment Transfer Letter Template. Other sponsor specific forms may be required.

Contact Sponsored Projects Services for further assistance with the transfer process.

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