Most subawards will require one or more amendments (modifications) during their lifetime. Understanding when amendments are usually needed will help you avoid work delays caused by late amendments.

When you are ready to have SPO amend a subaward, submit a Subaward Request through Phoebe Search, using the Phoebe Subaward Request instructions.

When requesting a subaward amendment, be sure to review the original subaward document and any prior amendments in Phoebe Search, to refresh your memory of the subaward’s history.


Key things to know about amendments

  • Amendments modify the original subaward and any prior amendments; they will generally only contain changes to the terms in these prior documents.
  • Amendment actions must follow logically from the terms and budgets in original subaward and any prior amendments.
  • The original subaward document and all its amendments are treated as a single unified agreement, and should be considered in their entirety when reviewing the subaward.
  • In amendments, SPO must clearly explain changes being made to the subaward terms. For this reason, you should provide information in your amendment request that will help SPO understand any non-standard or unusual changes you are requesting (e.g. partial-funding, de-obligations, budget revisions).
  • New budgets are only needed in subaward amendments, if you are changing the budget. If the budget is not changing, the amendment will simply reference the budget(s) previously incorporated into the subaward.
  • Some amendment actions may require sponsor prior approval. You should review the terms of both the subaward and the supporting Prime Award, to determine which changes require such prior approval. Some typical examples are:
    • Significant changes to the budget (e.g. equipment purchases, changes to the participant support line item; line-item changes >10%).
    • Changes that alter the Statement of Work.
    • Changes to Key Personnel’s effort commitment.
    • Change in the Subrecipient PI’s institution.
    • Carryover approval, when carryover is not automatic.
    As soon as you learn of such changes, use the Phoebe Award Action Request instructions to contact SPO about any required sponsor prior approvals. Request your subaward amendments after the sponsor provides their prior approval.
  • Subawards constitute a legally-binding agreement between UC Berkeley and the Subrecipient. The terms of a subaward, including the Subrecipient’s Scope of Work, may not be informally changed; SPO must issue an amendment to make such changes.

Common amendments

The most common circumstances that may require you to amend a subaward are listed below.

You may include multiple amendment actions in a single amendment request. Be sure explain any complex amendment actions, in the Comments section of your Subaward Request.

Contact subcontracts@berkeley.edu if you have any questions about how to request other subaward changes.

Amendments for annual funding increments and budget-period extensions

To minimize financial risk to UC Berkeley, SPO obligates funds to Subrecipients in annual increments, and with annual authorized performance periods, usually tied to those of the Prime Award.

Typically, you will need to submit a Subaward Amendment Request annually, asking to SPO to obligate incremental funding to the Subrecipient and extend the subaward’s authorized performance period .

Amendments for funding/budget changes

Sometimes, during the course of a subaward, you may need to change the obligated funding amount or previously approved budgets.

Such budget changes may happen randomly or at the time of the subaward’s annual amendment for funding.

Amendments for deobligation of funds

Deobligating funds means that you are taking away approval for a Subrecipient to spend funds that were previously obligated to them.

Be sure to provide a brief explanation about why the deobligation is happening. You do not need to provide a revised budget document when deobligating funds from a completed budget period. The subaward budget information will remain as originally documented, but the amendment will reflect that only a portion of the funds shown in the budget are available to the Subrecipient. SPO will also change the obligated amount displayed in Phoebe Search.

You do not have to deobligate unspent funds from a subaward, at closeout or early termination, except if the UC Berkeley PI believes there is a risk that the Subrecipient will incorrectly or fraudulently invoice for those unspent funds.  If this is a concern, please contact SPO, at subcontracts@berkeley.edu, for further guidance.

Amendments for carryover approval

Amendments to approve the Subrecipient’s carryover are only needed if the subaward terms require it.

Generally speaking, if a Prime Award allows UC Berkeley to carryover unspent funds without sponsor approval, the Subrecipient will be allowed to carryover unspent funds without UC Berkeley approval, unless the UC Berkeley PI has asked to approve carryover:

Some key things to be aware of, regarding carryover funds, are:

  • Carry-forward funds are already obligated to the Subrecipient, so they must not be included in budgets for new funding being obligated to the Subrecipient.
  • If the UC Berkeley PI wishes to specify how the Subrecipient is to spend carryover funds, you may provide a Carry-Forward Budget in your amendment request. This budget should be clearly marked as a “CARRY-FORWARD BUDGET.”

Amendments for performance period extensions

If the sponsor extends the Prime Award performance period, either by a supplement or a no-cost extension, you may extend a subaward performance period accordingly.

Remember that a subaward performance period may end before the Prime Award performance period end date, but it cannot be extended beyond the Prime Award performance period end date.

Amendments to change the Subrecipient institution or Subrecipient PI

If the Subrecipient PI moves to a different institution, and you wish to continue collaborating with that PI at their new institution, you must:

If the Subrecipient PI departs the project, and you wish to collaborate with a different PI at the same Subrecipient Institution, you must:

Amendments for other subaward changes

Subaward monitoring may sometimes bring to light other issues that require changes to a subaward. Some examples include:

  • Changes to the Subrecipient’s ability to perform the Statement of Work.
  • Additional responsibilities assigned to the Subrecipient (e.g. Statement of Work supplements)
  • Additional reporting requirements imposed by the sponsor that affect the Subrecipient.
  • Additional reporting requirements UC Berkeley needs to impose on the Subrecipient.
  • Change in UC Berkeley’s PI.
Be sure to include an explanation of any unusual circumstances.

For the next steps in the process, see Subaward Suspension or Early Termination or Subaward Closeout.


If you have questions, please contact the Subaward Team at subcontracts@berkeley.edu. If you have a suggestion on how we might improve SPO’s subaward services, please drop it in the Subaward Suggestion Box.