Principal Investigator & Award Transfers



The transfer of a Principal Investigator (PI), and subsequently 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 documents.

Intended for research administrators, this page covers the information needed and actions taken when a PI transfers institution. Here you will find information to effectively facilitate the transfer of a PI into, or out of, the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF).

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

To initiate a typical transfer, the UAF first submits, using a process defined by each sponsor, a transfer request. If the sponsor approves the request, the UAF will begin the process of closing out the award. 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, but not limited to, the following:

  1. Will the grant be transferred, or will a new PI be named at UAF?
  2. If the award is staying at the UAF, will there be a subaward issued to the new institution?
  3. If the award is transferring and there are project staff members staying at UAF, will there be a new subaward issued back to UAF from the new institution?
  4. Are there subawards on the current award? All active subawards will need to be closed out prior to the transfer.
  5. What will be the relinquishment date (generally, last day at UAF)?
  6. 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.
  7. Are there any cost share obligations under the award? Will the new institution agree to take these on?
  8. Has there been any intellectual property developed?
  9. Is there any equipment associated with this award that is to be transferred to the new institution?
  10. Are there any compliance protocols (IRB, IACUC, IBS etc.) to close out?
  11. Is there a lab to be closed?
  12. Will any related project staff members, such as graduate students, transfer to the new institution with the PI?


General Process for Transferring an Award


  1. Stop all spending on the award as soon as is practical. An award cannot be relinquished by the UAF until all expenditures made at the UAF have been paid and posted to the account.
  2. Notify the OGCA as soon as possible. The OGCA can assist in laying out the options for that particular award.
  3. The transferring PI should meet with the department chair and administration to develop a transition plan. This plan should address what will happen to active awards, and needs to be approved by the Dean’s/Director’s Office.
  4. Develop the necessary documentation for each award. The information below may not include everything, however it is an attempt to highlight the more common issues/concerns.


    • If the award will stay at the UAF:
      • Prepare a change of PI request using the Award Request (AwaRe) Form. The justification should be addressed to the sponsor’s grants specialist found on the Notice of Award. If the outgoing PI has already left the UAF, we can proceed without it. Submit the AwaRe Form to OGCA, who will submit the request to the sponsor.
      • Prepare outgoing sub-award documentation, if applicable. Submit the documentation Procurement and Contract Services (PCS). PCS will review and issue the new subaward.


    • If the award will be leaving the UAF:
      • Prepare the transfer/relinquishment materials as specified by the sponsor. The heading below titled “Process for Specific Sponsors” provides specific details for some of the major Federal funding agencies. If you don’t see the sponsor of your award listed, please contact the OGCA for more details.
      • For sponsors that require a letter of request, use the AwaRe Form and OGCA will prepare a letter addressed to the sponsor’s grants specialist or contracting officer and program manager. Remember that the award belongs to the UAF. This relinquishment statement should contain the following:
        • The sponsor's award number
        • The effective date of relinquishment
        • The relinquished amount as of the date of transfer
        • Justification for the need to transfer the award
  1. Send documentation to OGCA for review and approval. All transfer/relinquishments should be submitted to the OGCA. OGCA will review, sign, and forward the request to the sponsor for their review.
  2. Repeat this process for all awards affected by the PI transfer.


Note on Transfer of Contracts

Please 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 UAF 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 OGCA.


Process for Specific Sponsors

If you don’t see the sponsor you are working with below, please refer to the terms and conditions listed in the award document or the sponsor’s website for additional information.

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)

OGCA is not automatically notified of this submission in FastLane. Please remember to email OGCA to notify them of the request.

Office of Naval Research (ONR)