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Sponsored Projects

Reduction in PI/Co-PI Effort

Federal Awards

If Principal Investigator (PI) and/or Co-PI effort on an award is reduced by more than 25% of the effort committed in the funded proposal, federal regulations require that prior approval be obtained from the federal sponsor.

  • Example 1: A PI indicates 30% effort commitment on a funded proposal. After the award is made the PI wishes to reduce his/her effort to 25% (a reduction which is less than 25% of the originally proposed effort).

    Shift Calculation: (30% - 25%) ÷ 30% = 16.6% change in effort (The federal sponsor does not need to be notified.)

  • Example 2:  A Co-PI indicates 20% effort commitment on a funded proposal. After the award is made the Co-PI wishes to reduce his/her effort to 10% (a reduction which is greater than 25% of the originally proposed effort).

    Shift Calculation: (20% - 10%) ÷ 20% = 50% change in effort (The federal sponsor should be notified.)

When a federal sponsor needs to approve a reduction in the PI’s/Co-PI’s time, the PI/Co-PI should contact his or her assigned Research Administrator in the Sponsored Projects Office as soon as possible. SPO will require the PI/Co-PI to provide a letter requesting approval in the reduction in time; SPO will then submit the request for approval on the PI’s behalf.

Failure to involve SPO in this process can result in delays in sponsor approval as well as audit issues if the sponsored project is selected for review under the University’s annual A-133 audit.

Note: For NIH awards these requirements also apply to senior or key personnel designated by NIH in the Notice of Award.


Nonfederal Awards

Nonfederal sponsors also anticipate that the PI and/or the Co-PI will spend the time and effort on the funded project that was committed in the funded proposal.  The terms and conditions of the nonfederal award will govern whether changes in PI/Co-PI or other personnel effort will need to be reported or if sponsor approval will be required for a reduction in effort. 

PIs and departments should review the specific terms and conditions of their award and consult with SPO if they have any question about the sponsor’s requirements.