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 of Arizona, and wishes to transfer grants and/or contracts to the new institution, the University will determine whether to retain or transfer the award. The University of Arizona must approve the relinquishing of grants/contracts 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.
Grant and contract transfers can be complex, especially those involving cost sharing, subcontracts, graduate students who are continuing their education at the original institution, awards having co-principal investigators, exports to foreign entities, or awards ending within a six month window.
The principal investigator and departmental administrator should consult with Sponsored Projects & Contracting Services (SPCS) well in advance of the anticipated transfer date to ensure a smooth transition.
Roles and Responsibilities
The Grant Transfer Roles and Responsibilities chart defines roles for the principal investigator, department, Sponsored Projects & Contracting Services, the Contract & Research Support Program, Property, and Research, Discovery & Innovation.
If the Department and College approve of the transfer, the PI and Department are responsible for initiating the transfer process, completing sponsor requirements, and gathering appropriate institutional approvals. (Roles/Responsibilities Matrix)
To begin, contact your Sponsored Projects & Contracting Services fund accountant and provide a list of the grants/contracts, using the Grant Transfer Memo. This list summarizes what information is needed for the transfer memo:
- 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.
Each sponsor has different procedures/formats for transferring an award from one institution to another.
NSF Transfer Procedures
The principal investigator initiates the FastLane request and forwards it to Sponsored Projects & Contracting Services for review and institutional approval. Follow FastLane PI Transfer Instructions.
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 initiate the Relinquishing Statement and complete the Final Invention Statement and Certification. Submit both forms to Sponsored Projects & Contracting Services for review and institutional approval.
See the NIH Grants Policy Statement, Section 220.127.116.11, 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 & Contracting Services fund accountant 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 & Contracting Services for review and institutional approval.
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 & Contracting Services, Proposal Services if your sponsor requests a letter relinquishing your proposal to the new institution.
Requests for other arrangements will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
What happens next?
The principal investigator and Sponsored Projects & Contracting Services will be required to complete final progress (principal investigator) and financial reporting (SPCS). SPCS 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. The sponsor, however, makes the final determination based on the credentials of the initial PI and the proposed replacement PI.
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 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 & Contracting 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 & Contracting Services for further assistance with the transfer process.