Skip Navigation.


Change in Personnel

Occasionally, it is necessary to change the Principal Investigator (PI)/Project Director (PD) or key personnel of an awarded grant or contract. This may be the result of a PI withdrawing completely from a project, taking a leave or sabbatical for a continuous period of three (3) months or more, or at the request of University leadership.

Most federal sponsors require the grantee to notify them prior to any changes with the PI or other key personnel named in the notice of award, as well as approval of any alternate arrangement to the PI or other key personnel proposed by the grantee before such changes can be implemented. Departments should refer to the terms and conditions of the award to determine if the sponsor will allow the award to be retained in the absence of the original PI. Generally, sponsors reserve the right to terminate a grant if approval for a leave of absence has not been sought or if the replacement PD/PI or key personnel is not acceptable. 

When the sponsor requires prior approval, such requests should be sent in writing to Pre-award for review and approval before they are submitted to the sponsor. Contact your Pre-award Sponsored Projects Specialists for assistance.

Change in Principal Investigator

To request a change in PI/PD, the current PI must initiate the request and route it to Pre-award. Such requests must be on University letterhead and signed by the Department Chair. If the request is initiated by the department chair, it must be signed by the dean.

A request to a sponsoring agency for designation of a new PI/PD will typically state the reason(s) for such change. The letter should also include a clear outline of the new PI's qualifications to lead the program and accomplish the objectives as outlined in the original proposal. For NIH grants, a strong scientific justification related to the scientific project, including any proposed changes in scope and any budget changes resulting from the proposed change should be included in the letter. Additionally, these items may be required for submission to the sponsor in support of the proposed PI:

  • Curriculum vitae (CV).
  • Current and pending support.
  • Letter signed by the department chair justifying the change. Also include a signature block for a University authorized signing official.

Submit this letter, plus a Research Conflict of Interest Certification form for the new PI, to Pre-award. Upon receipt of the letter, Pre-award will submit the request to the sponsor in accordance with their guidelines. Upon sponsor approval for change of PI, Pre-award will notify all of the appropriate business officials of the change and make necessary updates to all data systems and files.


Change in Key Personnel

Key personnel are defined as individuals who contribute to the scientific development or execution of the project in a substantive, measurable way, whether or not salaries are requested. Consultants should also be included, if they meet the same definition.

Change of other key personnel on the project also requires either approval or notification. The dean and department chair must approve all key personnel changes before Pre-award will submit to the sponsor.

Contact the assigned Pre-award Sponsored Projects Specialist for assistance in determining the proper communication for notification and approval.