It is the responsibility of the PI to adhere to the conditions of the sponsored award. Occasionally, the PI identifies a need to change or deviate from the sponsor-approved proposal. In some instances, these changes require prior approval of an authorized official at the sponsor. In other cases, prior approval from the Office of Research Services (ORS) and/or the Office of Grants and Contracts is sufficient. The level at which approval may be granted depends upon the type of grant and the sponsor’s specific policies for that type of grant.

When Award is under Expanded Authority

Many federal agencies have adopted expanded authority policies that waive the normally required sponsor prior approval for specific actions.  It is the responsibility of the PI to review the conditions of the sponsored award to confirm whether or not prior approval is needed.  The level at which approval may be granted depends upon the type of grant and the sponsor’s specific policies for that type of grant.

When Prior Approval from the Sponsor is Required

Those changes requiring approval from the awarding sponsor should be described in a formal correspondence from the PI to the appropriate sponsor official. The ORS must review and approve each request. If the sponsor requires a signed written letter it must be submitted to ORS via ORSWeb.  Once approved, the signed letter will be returned to the department to forward to the agency.  In lieu of a signed written letter, many agencies will now accept email requests (refer to the Notice of Award for specific guidance).  See How to Request Prior Approval from NIH via email.

Federal Agency Prior Approval Matrices: