Project Changes

During the course of a sponsored project, there may be changes to the project that will require prior approval from the sponsor.  The types of approvals needed vary by sponsor and award.  Federal sponsors may provide additional permissions to us, these are referred to as expanded authorities.  Please contact your Post Award Team  for guidance on the authorities and requirements for your award.  They will coordinate requests with the PI and unit administrators and complete the submission to the sponsor.

Programmatic Changes

Simply put, this is a change in the scope of work, or work plan, for the project.  Sponsor approval is likely needed when the PI determines that the direction of the project must change based on the results obtained to date. The examples below are considered programmatic changes, but there may be other circumstances as well.

  • changes in the model, the physiological or pathological condition being studied
  • changing or adding additional components to the scope of work
  • adding human subject research or animal research to a project 

Budgetary Changes

Changes to the financial plan for an award may also require prior approval from the sponsor.  Typical changes that require approval are listed below.  These can be award-specific requirements; review your award documents carefully and contact your Post Award Team for determinations.

  • expenditures are required in budget categories that were not included in the proposal budget
  • adding equipment purchases, foreign travel, food purchases
  • changes in budgeted categories that exceed the sponsor's threshold (see budget revisions)
  • adding a subrecipient
  • changes to the participant support category
  • expenditures for overtime or overload compensation

Administrative Changes

Administrative changes are more general award changes regarding the project, such as project and budget periods, and personnel changes.  The most common changes in this category are listed below.

  • expenditure of funds before receipt of the formal award
  • expenditure of funds prior to the start date of the award
  • extension of the project period (no cost extension)
  • changes in the effort of the PI or other key personnel named in a notice of award
  • carryover of unexpended funds from one budget period to another

Justifying and Evaluating Project Changes

Principal Investigators (PIs) are responsible for providing and maintaining written justification that changes are scientifically necessary and appropriate.  The justification should include the information below, and must be retained with project records for the life of the award and the records retention period.

  • Correlation of the expenditure to successful completion of the project
  • Explanation of the project changes in terms of the science or programmatic needs

To determine if prior approval is needed for a change, your Post Award Team will review the following sources as applicable to the award.

  • funding announcement and proposal documents
  • award documents, including any requirements referenced in the award document
  • sponsor general terms and conditions, policy statements, guidance, etc.
  • federal requirements as applicable (OMB Circular 2 CFR Part 200)
  • University of Oregon policies and procedures