Transfer an Award from Another Institution

When a Principal Investigator (PI) moves from one institution to another, existing awards may transfer to the new institution with prior approval of the original institution and the sponsor. Planning and collaboration between incoming/outgoing researchers and research administrators can help make the transition smoother for all.

NCURA magazine article covers the questions on this page in more detail. NCURA Magazine Article: Award Transfers: Anticipate Issues to Forestall Them (Oct/Nov 2018) Authored by Cornell OSP Grant & Contract Officers Bella DiFranzo and Jamie Sprague.

Can and Should an Award Transfer?

Before initiating an award transfer, considerations should include:

  • Terms and conditions. Will the terms and conditions allow an award to be transferred? 
  • Agreement from original institution. Awards are issued to institutions, not PIs directly. In some cases, the original institution may not agree to the transfer. 
  • Other project personnel. Project personnel may or may not transfer to the new institution with the PI. In those instances, care should be taken to ensure plans are made for continued support for research staff and especially for students supported by the award.  
  • Time remaining. Transferring an award can be complex, and sometimes time consuming. In some cases, it may be best to retain the award at the original institution. 
  • Other options. Consider other options, including retaining the award at the original institution and assigning a new PI, issuing a subaward to the new institution, or giving the PI a temporary appointment at the original institution. 

Common Issues

Each award and relationship is unique, but this list includes some of the issues encountered when transferring an award.
Note: See the linked article for more detail about each

  • Compliance issues
  • F&A rate differences
  • Cost share
  • Subawards
  • Equipment and other tangible materials
  • Intellectual Property (IP)
  • Institutional policy differences