PROCESS FOR E-MAIL SUBMISSIONS OF PRIOR APPROVALS FOR NIH GRANTS AND 
COOPERATIVE AGREEMENTS

Release Date:  January 6, 2000

NOTICE:  OD-00-009

National Institutes of Health

Introduction
This Notice implements the process by which grantees may submit prior 
approval requests for NIH grants and cooperative agreements via e-mail.  It 
is intended that, whenever practical and efficient, all steps in the 
submission of prior approval requests from grantee institutions and the 
replies from NIH to such requests be done electronically.  This Notice does 
not represent a change in policy with regard to prior approval requirements 
discussed in the NIH Grants Policy Statement (NIHGPS), "ADMINISTRATIVE 
REQUIREMENTS, Changes in Project and Budget" (page II-52, located at 
http://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps/part_ii_5.htm#adminreq).  Rather, it 
is a change in formal procedure to allow these requests to be submitted and 
replied to via e-mail.  The procedures for submitting such requests are 
detailed below.

All requests for NIH awarding office prior approval must be made, in writing, 
to the to the awarding office Grants Management Officer listed on the Notice 
of Grant Award no later than 30 days before the proposed change.  Failure to 
obtain prior approval, when required, from the appropriate NIH awarding 
office may result in the disallowance of costs, termination of an award, or 
other enforcement action within NIH's authority.

Grantee Procedures:

o The Principal Investigator (PI) initiates the request, and includes his/her 
title, institution, telephone number, fax number and e-mail address.  
Internal institutional guidelines for the evaluation and approval of the 
request are the responsibility of the grantee institution.  The request, when 
submitted to NIH, must be transmitted by the authorized institutional 
official.

o When transmitting the request, the authorized institutional official's 
name, title and institution, telephone number, fax number and e-mail address 
must be included.  It is understood that the transmission of electronic prior 
approval requests is a clear expression of institutional approval and that 
all internal procedures have been properly completed.  Additionally, the 
grantee will be responsible for any internal distribution of the request.  

o The request should include the complete grant number in the subject line of 
the e-mail.

o All information and justification must be included in plain text in the 
body of the e-mail request.  If unable to transmit the entire request in the 
body of the e-mail message then the request in its entirety must be submitted 
via "hard-copy." 

o The requests should be sent to the Grants Management Officer who signs the 
Notice of Grant Award.

E-mail addresses for NIH staff can be obtained from the National Institutes 
of Health Directory and E-mail Forwarding Service, located at 
http://directory.nih.gov/

NIH Procedures:

o When the Grants Management Officer receives an e-mail prior approval 
request, it will be routed or distributed in accordance with internal 
Institute/Center procedures.  A determination will be made to approve, 
disapprove or seek additional information, as required.  

o If for any reason NIH staff has a concern about the authenticity of an e-
mail prior approval request they will contact the authorized institutional 
official to confirm that the e-mail message in question is genuine.  An 
example of a reason that may prompt such a call would be if the e-mail 
address of the sender does not clearly indicate the domain of the grantee 
institution.  

o Once a decision has been reached, the Grants Management Officer or his/her 
designee will reply directly to the authorized institutional official, with a 
copy to the PI and the NIH scientific program official.  If necessary, NIH 
will revise the appropriate Notice of Grant Award.  The grantee institution 
will be responsible for any internal distribution of the NIH response.  

o The normal NIH response time should be within 30 days of the receipt of the 
e-mail request, and NIH's acceptance of the request. 

o All replies from NIH grants management staff will include the Grants 
Management official's name, title, NIH Institute or Center, telephone number, 
fax number and e-mail address.

o All e-mail requests for prior approval and subsequent replies will be filed 
in the NIH official grant file, and will be available for future reference.

Content of Prior Approval Requests

The following outline is intended to be helpful to grantees in presenting the 
content necessary for NIH staff to properly evaluate requests that require 
prior approval.  This is a reiteration of current practice and does not 
represent a change in prior approval policy requirements stated in the 
NIHGPS.  If all required information, outlined below, is not provided in the 
initial request, it may be necessary for NIH staff to request additional 
information from the grantee.  This could result in a substantial delay of 
any decision being rendered on the original request.

This is not an all-inclusive list of actions requiring prior approval.  The 
ability to submit a prior approval request to NIH via e-mail, whenever 
practical and efficient, applies to all prior approval actions, which are 
discussed in the NIHGPS, "ADMINISTRATIVE REQUIREMENTS, Changes in Project and 
Budget."  If you have a question about the content of a prior approval 
request please discuss the nature of your request with the Grants Management 
Specialist listed on your Notice of Grant Award.

Change in PI or other key personnel named in the NGA
o Scientific justification
o If applicable, describe the change in effort level
o Updated other support, submitted in the format described in the PHS 398 
application, Format Page 7.
o Biographical sketch information for proposed PI or key personnel, if not 
previously available from the grant application. o o Biographical sketch 
information is as follows: 
1. Name, position, title
2. Education/training: begin with baccalaureate or other initial or other 
professional education (such as nursing) and include postdoctoral training.  
List as follows: institution and location, degree (if applicable), year(s),  
field of study 
3. Research and professional experience: concluding with present position, 
list, in chronological order, previous employment, experience, and honors. 
Include present membership on any Federal Government public advisory 
committee. List, in chronological order, the titles, all authors, and 
complete references to all publications during the past three years and to 
representative earlier publications pertinent to this application. If the 
list of publications in the last three years exceeds two pages, select the 
most pertinent publications.

Significant reduction in effort  Grantees are required to notify NIH if the 
PI or other key personnel named in the Notice of Grant Award (NGA) will 
reduce his or her time devoted to the project by 25 or more percent from the 
level that was approved at the time of award
o Scientific justification
o Role of personnel involved
o Describe the change in effort level 
o Describe the duration of change
o Indicate what rebudgeting may occur as a result of the significant 
reduction in effort (not applicable to modular awards)

Establish a consortium or transfer of substantive programmatic work to a 
third party  Please note that for awards under expanded authorities or the 
FDP, prior approval to establish a consortium is only required when the 
consortium represents a change in scope. 
o Scientific justification
o Statement of intent to establish the necessary inter-institutional 
agreement consistent with NIHGPS policy.
o Indicate the status of the appropriate assurances for the consortium entity
o Indicate the effect on the budget as a result of establishing a consortium 
o Indicate whether or not the establishment of a consortium will result in a 
change in scope. 
o Assure that request will not change the existing total cost commitment for 
current and future budget periods

No-cost extension requests  This is not applicable for the first no-cost 
extension for awards under expanded authorities or the FDP.  Extensions 
beyond the first no-cost extension of a competitive segment are highly 
unusual and only approved with strong justification.
o Scientific justification, including progress to date
o Length of extension requested
o Amount of and reason for the unobligated balance
o Plan for use of funds during extension period.  Include categorical budget 
detail, in text format, of requested direct and F&A costs.

Carryover requests  Please note that this action is generally allowable 
without prior approval under expanded authorities or the Federal 
Demonstration Partnership (FDP) unless restricted on the terms of award.  
Contact the Grants Management Specialist identified on the Notice of Grant 
Award to discuss issues related to individual requests for carryover.
o Scientific justification for carryover
o Amount of funds requested for carryover. 
o If balance is significant (25% of the current budget period's total costs), 
provide explanation of why funds available for the requested carryover were 
not used
o Plan for use of carryover funds. Include categorical budget detail, in text 
format, of requested direct and F&A costs

Significant rebudgeting requests  For awards under expanded authorities or 
the FDP, prior approval for significant rebudgeting is only required when the 
rebudgeting represents a change in scope.  Awards issued under SNAP are 
required to notify NIH of significant rebudgeting as a part of the 
noncompeting award process.  Please note that prior approval of significant 
rebudgeting no longer applies to awards issued from modular grant 
applications. 
o Scientific justification
o Amount of funds to be rebudgeted
o Indicate which budget categories funds will be moved from and to
o Indicate the implications on F&A costs
o Indicate whether there will there be a change in scope
o Assure that request will not change the existing total cost commitment for 
current and future budget periods

Questions regarding this Guide Notice may be directed to the Grants 
Management Specialist identified on the Notice of Grant Award.


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