U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Grants Management Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to the most common Grants Management questions.​​​​​​

Changes During Award

Can I take my grant with me if I move?

​You must have prior approval from your NIDDK program director to take your grant with you.  This is because your grant was awarded based on not only your qualifications and your research project, but also upon your mentor’s expertise and your research environment.  When the possibility of moving comes up, or when you start to look for positions at other institutions, contact your program director immediately to avoid the possibility of having the transfer request disapproved.  Our instructions for transferring a fellowship (F30, F31, F32) and career development (K) awards are slightly different.  Please refer to NIDDK Instructions Requesting Relocation (Transfer) of ​​Fellowships (F32) and NIDDK Instructions for Requesting Relocation (Transfer) of K-series Projects ​for more information.

A trainee has decided to leave the program after only six months. Can I use the remaining funds to support a new trainee?

​No.  The NIDDK has a one-person, one-slot rule.  When a trainee signs a Statement of Appointment form (PHS 2271) and the NIH confirms the appointment, 12 months of funding from the T32 is obligated to support that trainee.  If the trainee leaves before 12 months, the remaining funds are reported in the Financial Status Report and returned to the NIDDK.  If the trainee leaves before completing 3 months of training, contact your Reserach Training & Career Development​ program director.​

Can I submit an administrative supplement request?

​Supplemental funds can be requested for emergency or other situations which result in unforeseen costs, such as natural or manmade disasters that damage the PI's lab or other research resources, failure of essential equipment, or unexpected or increased costs of recruiting subjects or performing laboratory analyses. Requests must be within the scope of research proposed and reviewed in the parent grant. 

Prior to submitting a supplement request, it is strongly recommended that Principal Investigators (PIs) speak with the program official associated with the parent grant to discuss eligibility, alignment with Institute expectations/priorities, and availability of funds.

Please note the following regarding administrative supplement requests:

  • NIDDK has prioritized its budget to maintain funding of investigator-initiated grants at the highest possible level. Therefore, the institute has little flexibility to support administrative supplements. 
  • Given this prioritization the number of successful administrative supplement applications will be extremely low and generally limited to rare unforeseen circumstances (e.g., requests to replace key pieces of equipment following a natural disaster). 
  • Other specialized administrative supplement programs such as Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (PA-08-190) and Research Supplements to Promote Re-Entry into Biomedical and Behavioral Research Careers (PA-08-191) are separate from the announcement cited below and are submitted and considered under different circumstances.
  • Applicants who are successful in receiving supplemental funds will be informed of the NIDDK’s decision via a Notice of Award.

For application instructions and other requirements please visit the Administrative Supplements to Existing NIH Grants and Cooperative Agreements Funding Announcement (PA-12-100)​.

I would like to add a new training faculty member to my T32 program. How do I request this?

​You may send a request at any time, co-signed by your business office, requesting the addition of training faculty.  Please include a current biosketch in the NIH format for the new training faculty member.  Alternatively, you may add new faculty at the time of your noncompeting renewal (i.e. progress report).  Your progress report constitutes an official request because it is submitted by your institution.​

I have a family emergency and must leave my institution for several months. Can I keep my K award?

You may keep your K award under the following circumstances: 

  • you intend to return
  • your institution agrees to grant you a leave of absence
  • your mentor concurs
  • your research project can be put on hold for that period of time

The NIDDK will leave your grant in place.  When you return, you can begin to use your grant funds.  Your business office will track the finances and request the carryover of funds each year as necessary.  In the final year of funding, before the end date, your business office can extend the project period to allow you to spend the remaining funds.


Since my salary is covered by my department, can I use the salary money for supplies or a technician?

​No.  If you do not need the salary support to protect your research time, you should not apply for a K award.

Change of Grantee Institution

Funding Opportunity Announcement:


*General Information:
When an investigator transfers and requests continued support for a previously approved project at a
new location, the NIH requires that a transfer application be submitted through the new institution. This application will receive administrative review to determine if the transfer is appropriate and to determine the level of NIH funding. The decision to authorize transfer of the grant will be based upon the following criteria:

(1) The project has been relinquished by the original institution;
(2) The facilities and resources at the new location allow for the successful performance of the project; and
(3) The investigator plans no significant change in research objectives and level of expenditures from those described in the previously approved project. If the proposed change of institution does not meet these criteria, competitive review will be required.
(4) The budget should not include any additional funds.  No additional direct costs will be provided as NIDDK awards transfers within the direct cost commitment previously awarded.

The change of grantee institution application cannot be processed until both the transfer application and relinquishing statement/letter have been received. An award cannot be issued until the NIDDK staff have reviewed and approved the application. We ask that these documents be submitted no later than two (2) months prior to the anticipated start date at your new institution to allow for our administrative review.

To request continued support at a new institution and to accomplish closeout at the original institution,
the following must be submitted:

The Original/Former Institution must submit the following documentation:

1. Relinquishing Statement (PHS Form 3734) or countersigned letter in lieu of form.  If applicable, attach a list of equipment that is transferring to the new institution. http://grants2.nih.gov/grants/phs3734.pdf

Electronic submission is encouraged https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uI-FOJWwbog&feature=youtube_gdata

2. Final Invention Statement (PHS Form 568). http://grants2.nih.gov/grants/hhs568.pdf

3. The final Federal Financial Report (SF 425) is due 90 days following the termination date of the project. http://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms.htm

NIH requires all financial expenditure data to be submitted via eRA Commons. http://era.nih.gov/commons/user_guide.cfm

The New Institution must submit the following documentation:

​If the original award was the result of a modular application, modular procedures also apply to the request for change of grantee. The application from the proposed grantee should include, at a minimum:

1. Application face page (PHS Form 398) with "CHANGE OF GRANTEE INSTITUTION" typed in capital letters across the top of the page. http://grants2.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html

2. A progress report for the current year, including a statement regarding the goals of the upcoming year. Note: For partial year transfers, this requirement is at the discretion of NIDDK. 

3. A resources page including a description of the facilities at the new institution and the probable effect of the move on the project. 

4. Budget pages (current and future years). For modular grants, narrative budget information, including total direct costs and F&A costs for the current budget period 

5. A statement concerning the current research plan and an indication of whether the original plan has changed. If changed, appropriate details should be provided. 

6. Updated biographical sketches for new key personnel. 

7. Updated other support pages for all key personnel (if necessary). 

8. A checklist page. For modular grants, information regarding the number of modules and the basis for computing F&A costs should be provided for future years on the checklist page. 

9. An approved human/animal assurance(s), and IRB/IACUC approval date(s).
10. Human subjects education certification for key personnel, if applicable. 

11. A list of equipment (which was purchased in whole or in part with grant funds and has an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more) to be transferred from the original grantee institution. Such a listing in the application represents acceptance of title to the transferred equipment.


NIH Grants Policy Statement http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps_2013/

Change of Program Director/Principal Investigator

Definition of Change of PI

The grantee is required to submit a prior approval request to the Grants Management Specialist (GMS) if:

  • The PD/PI or other Senior/Key Personnel specifically named in the NoA will withdraw from the project entirely, be absent from the project during any continuous period of 3 months or more, or reduce time devoted to the project by 25 percent or more from the level that was approved at the time of initial competing year award (for example, a proposed change from 40 percent effort to 30 percent or less effort or in calendar months a change from 4.8 to 3.6 calendar months). Once approval has been given for a significant change in the level of effort, then all subsequent reductions are measured against the approved, adjusted level.
  • There is a change from a multiple PD/PI model to a single PD/PI model.
  • There is a change from a single PD/PI model to a multiple PD/PI model.
  • There is a change in the number or makeup of the PD/PIs on a multiple PD/PI award.

NIH must approve any alternate arrangement proposed by the grantee, including any replacement of the PD/PI or senior/key personnel named in the NoA, and the addition of any new PD/PIs.

When to submit for Change of PI

​The grantee should immediately notify the Grants Management and Program in writing if the PI will withdraw from the project and a new PI has been selected.

What do we need to submit for Change of PI

​A change of PI requires prior approval from NIH.  The Authorized Organizational Representative of the grantee institution must send a signed request to the GMS seeking approval to change the PI on a grant. The request must be reviewed and approved by both program and grants management prior to executing the change.  The submission should include:

  • A strong scientific justification related to the scientific project, including any proposed changes in scope
  • The biographical sketch of the individual proposed
  • Other sources of support
  • Any budget changes resulting from the proposed change.
  • The Commons ID must be provided for any new PD/PIs

Change of Multiple PD/PI model to single PD/PI model.

A change from a multiple PD/PI model to a single PD/PI model, must be accompanied by:

  • A strong scientific justification related to the scientific project, including any proposed changes in scope
  • Biographical sketch of any new individuals proposed
  • Other sources of support
  • Any budget changes resulting from the proposed change
A new or revised Leadership Plan is required if the request is to change from a single PD/PI model to a multiple PD/PI model, or to change the number or makeup of the PD/PIs on a multiple PD/PI award.

What to expect after we submit our request for change of PI

The grantee’s request for change of PI will be reviewed by program and grants management. If the prior approval request is approved, the grantee will receive a revised Notice of Award (NOA) reflecting the change. 

If the arrangements proposed by the grantee, including the qualifications of any proposed replacement, are not acceptable to the NIH awarding office, the grant may be suspended or relinquished. If the grantee wishes to relinquish the project because it cannot make suitable alternate arrangements, it must notify the GMO, in writing, of its wish to relinquish, and NIH will forward closeout instructions.

The NIH Grants Policy Statement:


Key Personnel

Definition of: Key Personnel

  • The program director/principal investigator (PD/PI) and other individuals who contribute to the scientific development or execution of a project in a substantive, measurable way, whether or not they request salaries.
  • NIH specifically designates certain key personnel on the NOA. Program officials use discretion in identifying in the NOA senior/key personnel other than the PD/PI(s). Generally, these are individuals whom the IC considers critical to the project, i.e., their absence from the project would be expected to impact the approved scope of the project.
  • Generally, a consultant is not considered senior/key personnel. However, if the consultant contributes to the scientific development or execution of a project substantively and measurably, he/she should be designated as senior/key personnel and would be included in the Senior/Key Person Profile Component.

Documentation/Information Required for

  • Biosketches and levels of effort greater than zero person months are required of all personnel designated in the application as senior/key.
  • If the applicant is notified that an application is being considered for funding by NIH, the applicant organization will need to submit other support information for all personnel identified as senior/key in the application as part of the Just-in-Time process.

Change in Status

  • Prior approval is required for a change in status of any key personnel.
  • The prior approval requirement for changes in status of personnel applies only to the PD/PI and those senior/key personnel named in the NOA.
  • Change in status is defined as withdrawal from the project, absence from the project for any continuous period of three months or more, or reduction of time devoted to the project by 25 percent or more from the level that was approved at the time of initial competing year award.
  • If the individual is not named on the NOA, or is not the PD/PI of the award, you do not need prior approval from NIH to make changes in status.

Measurable Effort/Person Months

  • Measurable effort is based on the type of appointment of the individual with an organization, e.g., calendar year (CY), academic year (AY), and/or summer term (SM); and the organization’s definition of such.
  • To calculate person months, multiply the percentage of your effort associated with the project times the number of months of your appointment.
  • Personnel with over 12 person months are considered over-committed (i.e. 12 person months translates to 100% effort).

Reporting in Non-Competing/Competing Applications

  •  Person months reported in the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) should be reported in whole numbers (1-12). Effort should be rounded to the nearest whole person month; e.g., 1.6 person months would be entered as 2 person months.
  • Person Months reported in the PHS 2590 may be reported using decimals.
  • For both the RPPR and PHS 2590, person months less than one should only be reported if that individual is the PD/PI.
  • The SF424 (R&R) budget accommodates partial months up to two decimal places (e.g., 2.55 is an acceptable value) and less than a full month (e.g., .50 is an acceptable value).
  • The person months presented should represent the total effort on the grant regardless of compensation.

Helpful Links

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps_2013/nihgps_ch8.htm#_Toc271264935 – NIH Grants Policy Change in Status, Including Absence of PD/PI and Other Senior/Key Personnel Named in the NOA

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/senior_key_personnel_faqs.htm - Senior/Key Personnel FAQs (last updated May 16, 2011)

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/person_months_faqs.htm - Usage of Person Months FAQs (last  updated Feb. 20, 2013)

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/person_months_conversion_chart.xls - Percent of Time & Effort to Person Months Calculator

No Cost Extensions

Submission of Initial and subsequent No-Costs Extension

​Effective October 1st 2011, grantees must electronically submit an initial No-Cost extension through the eRA NIH Commons. The NIH Commons allows submission no earlier than 90 days before the end of the project and up to the last day of the current budget/project period.
The notification request should be submitted by the authorized organizational representative. The request should include the number of months requested for the extension.

Subsequent No-Cost extension

If the initial request for a No-Cost extension is less than 12 months, the subsequent request would be considered a request for a second no-cost extension and require written prior approval.

Grantees seeking a second or subsequent no-cost extension (without additional funds) are required to submit a request from the Authorized Organizational Representative at least 30 days prior to the end date of the budget/project period of the grant. The request should include the amount of the unobligated balance available, an explanation of the work to be performed during the extension, as well as updated IRB and/or IACUC certifications and assurances, if applicable.

Grantees are expected to keep up to date all required certifications and assurances including those pertaining to human subjects and animal welfare for initial and subsequent no-cost extensions.

If a grantee submits an initial and/or subsequent no cost extension beyond the expiration of the project/budget period, then  a written request is needed from the grantee along with justification and updated IRB/IACUC certifications and assurances.  It is the Institute’s discretion in awarding such an extension.

What should a grantee expect after submission of a No-Cost Extension?

Initial No-Cost Extension

If grantee submits their notification through the eRA NIH commons, the new budget and project period end dates are automatically entered into IMPACII. The assigned grants management specialist receives an email notification from the NIH Commons stating the request has been completed.  A revised Notice of Award will not be issued.

Subsequent No-Cost Extension

The request with concurrence from the authorized organizational representative, will be reviewed and approved by program and grants management in accordance with internal NIDDK processes.

A revised Notice of Award will be issued reflecting the new budget/project period end  dates and the proper terms and conditions pertaining to a no-cost extension (without additional funds).

In no case should a project period be extended beyond September 30 of the fifth fiscal year in which the original award was issued due to the limitation on the use of obligated Federal funds as provided under Title 31 United States Code, Subtitle II, Chapter 15, Section 1552. For example, an FY 2005 award should not be extended beyond September 30, 2010 since unobligated funds automatically revert to the U.S. Treasury no matter if a budget/project period end date extends beyond this date or not.

The NIH Grants Policy Statement