PI/Award Transfer to Another Institution

The transfer of an award from one institution to another is a complex and time-consuming action, and a number of potential issues should be addressed prior to the transfer. An award transfer to a new institution is not simply the change of a name on the award or a check sent by UT to the new institution.

Federal grants and contracts are awarded to The University of Texas at Austin (UT), not directly to Principal Investigators. If a PI wants to change institutions, UT will determine on a case-by-case basis whether it will retain, transfer, or terminate the award. As grantee institution, UT must approve the relinquishment of the award and formally relinquish the award and equipment to the PI’s new institution. The awarding agency or sponsor must also approve all grant/contract transfers.

To initiate a transfer, UT first submits, using a process defined by the each sponsor, a transfer request. If the sponsor approves the request, the sponsor will begin the process of closing out the award at UT. At the same time, the new institution will submit a proposal to the sponsor for the remaining funds. After completing both the closeout and proposal review stages, the sponsor will issue a new award to the new institution. This is generally not a quick process, and it can easily take two to three months. It is important to allocate enough time to the transfer process; therefore, the request should be made well prior to the expected start date at the new institution.

As straightforward as this process sounds, there are several factors to consider, including the following:

  1. Will the grant be transferred, or will a new PI be named at UT?
  2. If there are project staff members staying at UT, will there be a new subaward issued back to UT from the new institution?
  3. Are there subawards on the current award? All active subawards will need to be closed out prior to the transfer (Note: Closeout of a subaward requires the receipt of an invoice from the subawardee marked “Final.”)
  4. What will be the relinquishment date (generally, last day at UT)?
  5. What is the unobligated balance to be transferred to the new institution? This is the amount unspent/unencumbered at the relinquishment date and may involve some estimates by the PI. The amount will be verified by Post-Award.
  6. Are there any cost share obligations under the award?
  7. Has there been any intellectual property developed?
  8. Is there any equipment associated with this award that is to be transferred to the new institution?
  9. Are there any compliance protocols (IRB, IACUC, rDNA, etc.)to close out?
  10. Is there a lab to be closed?
  11. Will any related project staff members, such as graduate students, transfer to the new institution with the PI?
  1. Stop all spending on the award as soon as is practical.
  2. Notify the Office of Sponsored Projects as soon as possible. Note that transfers take much more time than you would expect.
  3. Complete the Exit Checklist (see below). This must be complete before OSP can submit any transfer request to the sponsor.
  4. For those sponsors that require a letter of request, prepare, on UT letterhead and signed by the PI, a letter addressed to the sponsor’s grants specialist or contracting officer and program manager. Remember that the award belongs to UT, so leave a place for OSP to add a signature block for the authorized official who will sign on behalf of The University. This relinquishment letter should contain the following:
    • The sponsor’s award number
    • The effective date of relinquishment
    • The relinquished amount as of the date of transfer
    • A statement of intent concerning the transfer of equipment
  5. Send the transfer request letter to the osp@austin.utexas.edu. Your request will be forwarded to the Grants and Contracts Specialist assigned to the award.
  6. Repeat this process for all awards to be transferred.

Note that while federal grants are often transferred between institutions based on the relocation of a Principal Investigator, contracts are generally not transferrable, but instead may be terminated completely and re-issued to a new institution. Likewise, sponsors may require that UT retain the original contract and issue a new subcontract to the Principal Investigator’s new institution. Regardless of the award type, the steps outlined above should be followed. Any questions regarding this process may be directed to the Grants and Contracts Specialist assigned to the award.

Department of Defense (DoD)

  • Contact the Program Officer

Department of Education

  • Contact the Program Officer

Department of Energy (DOE)

  • Contact the Program Officer

Department of the Interior

  • Contact the Program Officer

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Office of Naval Research (ONR)

Faculty who leave the University should obtain appropriate clearances in order to exit the University in good standing. Faculty/researchers should:

  1. Contact the appropriate department chair/center director as soon as possible to begin the process of closeout. The department chair/center director should indicate in the enclosed checklist what items require clearance. As applicable, the faculty/researcher must contact:
    1. The Office of Environmental Health & Safety for orderly laboratory closure and proper handling, transfer, or disposal of chemicals, radioactive and biological materials, controlled substances, lasers and radiation generating equipment.
    2. The Office of Research Support and Compliance to terminate studies involving human subjects or animals.
    3. The Office of Sponsored Projects to transfer or terminate sponsored projects and to finalize any financial requirements.
  2. Notify the appropriate departmental/center inventory contact person regarding the handling of equipment, such as computers or other research equipment. Any requests for the transfer of equipment to another institution must be processed through the Controller’s Office.

This process supplements existing internal inventory checks that each department chair or center director has developed for faculty/researchers leaving the University. Such faculty should meet with his/her department chair/center director or designee to obtain final clearance for all remaining relevant issues.

The clearance procedure involves obtaining the signatures of representatives of the clearing offices on the exit checklist (See Exit Checklist).

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