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Change in Scope

Almost without exception, a change in scope of work requires a prior approval from the sponsoring agency.

In general, the Principal Director (PD)/Principal Investigator (PI) may make changes in the methodology, approach, or other aspects of the project objectives. However, a change in scope almost always requires sponsor approval unless special permission is given within the award agreement. A change in scope is a change in the direction, aims, objectives, purposes, or type of research training, identified in the approved project.

Actions likely to be considered a change in scope or objectives include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Change in the specific aims of the project and approved at the time of award.
  • Substitution of one animal model for another.
  • Any change from the approved use of animals or human subjects.
  • Shifting the emphasis of the research from one disease area to another.
  • Applying a new technology, or changing assays from those approved to use of a different type of assay.
  • Transferring the performance of substantive programmatic work to a third party by contract or any other means.
  • Change in key personnel whose expertise is critical to the approved project.
  • Significant re-budgeting whether or not it requires approval under rules governing budget changes. Significant re-budgeting occurs when the cumulative amount of transfers among direct cost categories for the current budget period exceeds either 25 percent of the total amount awarded or $250,000, whichever is less.
  • Incurrence of patient care costs not previously approved and/or when a grantee desires to re-budget funds out of the patient care category.

All requests for prior approval must be in writing, well-justified, and accompanied by supporting documentation to ensure that changes are reasonable and appropriate. The written requests have to be submitted to Pre-award to be reviewed, processed, and submitted.

To obtain sponsor approval, the PI must draft a justification letter on University letterhead. The letter must be signed by the department head and forwarded to the assigned Pre-award Sponsored Projects Specialist. Also include a signature block for a University authorized signing official.

Requests to change the scope of work should include:

  • An explanation and justification for the changes.
  • An explanation regarding any changes in funding and/or categorical reallocations.