Changing your effort on an award: NIH and more

It’s not uncommon for an effort commitment to change over the course of a project. Since effort levels are part of the award documents and a commitment that needs to be met, changes need to be documented with the sponsor. Read on to find out how to easily request an effort change.

If you are planning on changing a commitment more by more than 25 percent, you must notify the agency. Deviations within in 25 percent are acceptable and do not need to be approved. For example, if you have a 10 percent effort commitment, you can report as low as 8 percent without notifying the sponsor.

For NIH awards, we are required to get approval for effort changes including withdrawal from the project, absence for any continuous period of three months or more, and reduction of time devoted to project by 25% or more from level in approved application. We are required to request agency approval for these changes, so the best way to obtain approval is to write a letter to the NIH Program Officer when the change is first known.

If, for some reason, you are not made aware of the key personnel changes until you complete the progress report, then notification via the report is necessary. For awards under SNAP, the only way to notify NIH of a change in Key Personnel via SNAP is to answer Question #2 of the SNAP report. (“Will there be, in the next budget period, a significant change in the level of effort for the PI or other personnel designated on the Notice of Grant Award from what was approved for this project?”) Please note: the absence of a PI or Key Person from the Personnel Report portion of the eSNAP does not meet the NIH reporting requirement. Question #2 must be answered “yes” with a detailed explanation of the changes requested.

For awards not under SNAP, a supplemental cover letter explaining the change must be included.

To construct your effort change request letter, please use the Effort Change Template on the CALS Research Division website. If you have any questions, please contact the CALS Effort Coordinator Laurel Norris at 0-1677,