Award Transfers

Investigators who resign from Columbia University have several options to consider if they have sponsored funding. 

In addition, new faculty coming to Columbia University who intend to continue their active sponsored research will have similar considerations.

It is very important to contact your SPA Project Officer as soon as possible to discuss these considerations and next steps to ensure a smooth transition.  Refer to the guidance below.

The two main considerations when transferring to another institution are whether the investigator’s funded projects remain at the University under the direction of a new investigator, or whether the funding is transferred to the new institution where the project is then continued. As all sponsored funding is formally awarded to the University and not to the PI, the University must be involved in any decision to transfer funding to another institution.

When resigning from the University, faculty must follow the termination guidelines set forth by the Provost’s Office in the Faculty Handbook:
Officers of Instruction:
http://www.columbia.edu/cu/vpaa/handbook/instruction.html#termination

Officers of Research:
http://www.columbia.edu/cu/vpaa/handbook/research.html#termination

When leaving the University, a PI must contact his/her SPA Project Officer to initiate the process of moving his/her sponsored projects to the new institution. This will normally involve initial discussions with the sponsor. SPA will also ensure that the appropriate Dean/Chair of the department is aware and approves of the transfer of sponsored projects.

The sponsor has the overall authority over whether a grant or contract may be transferred to a new institution. If you have institutional grants, such as training grants or program project or center grants, the applicable Dean’s office or the Office of the EVPR should be contacted prior to contacting your SPA Project Officer.

Some factors to consider:

  • Is the departmental chair at the new institution aware of the PI’s current funding?
  • Does the department of the new institution have the resources and staffing available to assist on a project currently in progress?
  • Can the materials, supplies and equipment be transferred to the new institution?
  • When using human subjects, can new subjects be recruited at the new institution? Will that be necessary at the point of transfer?

The above questions will, in all likelihood, be asked by the sponsor. Sponsors differ in their requirements for transferring out a grant. The following items are typical for a sponsor to request when the funding is being transferred to a new institution:

  • Formal letter, signed by the PI and his/her SPA Project Officer.
  • New grant application, signed by a Signing Official of the new institution, requesting the remaining funds and describing how the project will continue. The application should contain all relevant information as outlined in the questions above.
  • Final Progress Report.

All administrative requirements must be completed, including effort certification for the period up to departure from the University.

Most sponsors require that a formal statement be completed to release an award from one institution before it can be awarded to another institution. Many sponsors have specific forms (Relinquishing Statements) that must be used for this purpose. A Relinquishing Statement is required when a PI leaves the University, relocates to another institution and takes a sponsored project to that institution. In such cases, the school or department must prepare a Relinquishing Statement and send it to the appropriate SPA Project Officer with the PI’s signature for review and transmittal to the sponsor. Prior to transmitting it to the sponsor, SPA will forward the statement to SPF for a review of the reasonableness of the unexpended balance projected by the PI as reflected on the Relinquishing Statement. Upon approval of the project transfer by the sponsor, SPF will request a final reconciliation from the school or department, prepare the final Financial Status Report and begin the award closeout.

In addition to transferring the sponsored project to another institution, the relocation of a PI to another institution sometimes involves the transfer of equipment to that institution. The Equipment Inventory Adjustment Form is used to request the transfer of equipment to another institution. No equipment may be moved from Columbia until approval has been obtained. Once approved, the Controller’s Office will provide the receiving institution with a listing of the equipment, requiring that organization to acknowledge receipt and to accept responsibility for the equipment. The Controller’s Office will obtain any necessary approvals of the transfer from the sponsor. Before shipment, any University or government identification must be removed from the equipment. The transferee institution is responsible for all transportation costs.

If there is any inconsistency between University policies and the terms of the grant or contract under which equipment was funded, the terms of the grant or contract govern.

When using animals and human subjects, discussions need to take place with the IACUC and the Institute of Comparative Medicine or the IRB, to discuss the procedures for transferring a funded project.

You should work with your assigned SPA Project Officer to gather all materials necessary. They will be communicating with the sponsor on the investigator’s behalf to ensure all administrative documents are filed.

Documents required:

  • Cover Letter - PI prepares a formal letter of request to relinquish the institution’s interests and rights to the grant based on instructions from the NIH awarding office and SPA Project Officer.  This letter should have a signature line for the SPA Project Officer as the Authorized Official.
  • Relinquishing Statement (PHS Form 3734)
  • Final Invention Statement (PHS Form 568)
  • Final FFR Expenditure Data - submitted by Sponsored Projects Finance (SPF)

The Relinquishing Statement can be submitted via the NIH eRA Commons.  Only the SPA Project Officer (as Signing Official) can initiate a Relinquishing Statement in the eRA Commons. A PI can view, edit, save, cancel changes, and route the Relinquishing Statement to the SPA Project Officer to submit it through eRA Commons.

See For Grantees - Submit Relinquishing Statement for eRA instructions.

See NSF Policy from the PAPPG (17-1), Chapter VII, B(2)(f)

When coming to Columbia, the same questions apply as mentioned above. SPA will require:

  • New grant application to the sponsor, containing all requested sponsor forms and detailed budget
  • A signed Relinquishing Statement from the other institution
  • A copy of the final Financial Status Report from the other institution
  • Finalized Rascal PT Record
  • Completed FCOI reports
  • Completed IRB or IACUC protocols in Rascal (if applicable).

A transfer application is submitted to NIH either electronically through grants.gov or by email to the Grants Management Specialist at the applicable NIH Center or Institute using PHS forms.

Electronic transfer applications are submitted in response to Funding opportunity announcement (FOA) Number PA-16-285:

https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-16-285.html

Minimum required sections for electronic submission include:

  1. SF 424 (R&R) Cover Component
  2. Project Performance Site Location(s)
  3. SF 424 (R&R) Other Project Information
    1. Human and Animal Assurances numbers and IRB and IACUC approval dates, if applicable
    2. Facilities and Other Resources, including probable effect of the move on the project.
    3. A list of equipment, as presented on the old institution’s Relinquishing Statement, to be transferred
  4. SF 424 (R&R) Senior/Key Person Profile:
    1. Updated biographical sketches for new key personnel.
    2. Updated other support pages for all key personnel, if applicable.
  5. R&R detailed budgets for current and future years.
  6. PHS 398 Research Plan
    1. For anniversary transfers, a progress report for the current year is required, with a statement regarding goals for upcoming year
    2. A statement indicating whether the overall research aims have changed from the original submission, and if so, provide details.
  7. For Multiple Principal Investigators projects, a revised Multiple PD/PI leadership plan is required indicating how the transfer will affect the governance of the leadership team.
  8. PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement
  9. PHS 398 Checklist

For email submissions based on PHS 398 forms, the following documents are submitted:

  1. Application face page (PHS Form 398)
  2. PHS398 Form Page 2—Project Performance Site Primary Location information.
  3. For anniversary transfers, a progress report for the current year is required.
  4. A statement confirming if current research plan has changed or not. If changed, provide details.
  5. For Multiple Principal Investigators projects, a revised Multiple PD/PI leadership plan is required indicating how the transfer will affect the governance of the leadership team.
  6. A resources page describing resources at Columbia University.
  7. A list of equipment, as presented on the old institution’s Relinquishing Statement, to be transferred. Such a listing in the application represents acceptance of title to the transferred equipment.
  8. Budget pages (current and future years).
  9. Updated biographical sketches for new key personnel.
  10. Updated other support pages for all key personnel, if applicable.
  11. A checklist page
  12. Human and Animal Assurances numbers and IRB and IACUC approval dates, if applicable
  13. Human subjects education certification for key personnel, if applicable.

Additional information is available at NIH Policy on Change of Recipient Organization.