Office of Sponsored Programs
The Ohio State University

Unusual Circumstances

Absence of the Principal Investigator

The principal investigator named in a sponsored agreement is the person to whom both the agency and the university look for appropriate direction, oversight, and management of the award. Most sponsors require that the principal investigator named in the agreement be available to conduct the project for its entire duration.

The sponsor must be informed if the principal investigator will not be available for any continuous period of more than three months (due to sabbatical leave, illness, or other approved leave) or when the principal investigator either withdraws from the project entirely or proposes to devote substantially less effort to the project than was anticipated at the time of award.

In most cases, it is necessary to obtain sponsor approval before making a change in the principal investigator status. Sponsors may elect to terminate any project for which the university is unable to identify a suitable alternative investigator to continue a project.

Transfer of the Principal Investigator

When a principal investigator on a sponsored project transfers from The Ohio State University to another institution, the Office of Sponsored Programs must be notified as soon as is practical. Sponsored projects may be transferred to the new institution, remain at The Ohio State University under a new principal investigator, or be terminated. The fate of each sponsored project is determined by decision of the principal investigator, the sponsor, and the departments/colleges involved. The Office of Sponsored Programs will assist the principal investigator in determining how best to proceed, including ensuring that the sponsor is notified of the impending move. Regardless of the fate of the sponsored agreements, the principal investigator should leave contact information at the new institution with the Office of Sponsored Programs sponsored program officer in case the Office of Sponsored Programs needs to contact him/her after leaving the university.

Transfer of sponsored agreements to the new institution

If the principal investigator would like to transfer an active project to the new institution or organization, the Office of Sponsored Programs requires agreement, in writing, from the department(s) and college(s) involved in the award to transfer the agreement to the new institution. The principal investigator must receive assurance from the new institution that it will accept the sponsored project(s), as well.

The Office of Sponsored Programs may be required to formally relinquish the award back to the agency before it can be awarded to the new institution. There may also be other issues, such as the transfer of equipment purchased using sponsor funds, that need to be addressed within the department and college.

The requirements for transferring a sponsored agreement to a new institution are determined by the sponsor’s rules. If the sponsor agrees to transfer the award to the new institution, the sponsor will normally plan to terminate the sponsored agreement at The Ohio State University and issue a new agreement to the principal investigator at the new institution. It may be necessary for the new institution to submit a new application to the sponsor for support of the project before it can be awarded to the new institution.

The Office of Sponsored Program’s role in this transfer process is to assist the principal investigator with any administrative paperwork required to close the award at The Ohio State University and transfer the award to the new institution.

If the principal investigator would like to subcontract some of the work back to The Ohio State University, the Office of Sponsored Programs is responsible for establishing that contractual agreement.

Change of PI on sponsored agreements that will remain at Ohio State

In some cases, it may not be possible for the principal investigator to transfer the sponsored agreement to the new institution (large equipment or building grants and many clinical trials, for example) and the sponsor may wish to work with us to name a new principal investigator. In this case, it is the responsibility of the department and/or college to find a principal investigator who is willing to be responsible for the award. The Office of Sponsored Programs will need written agreement from the replacement principal investigator and all the departments and colleges involved before the sponsor is notified of the suggested replacement principal investigator. After this approval is obtained, the Office of Sponsored Programs will work with the sponsor to formalize the change.

It may be necessary to subcontract some of the work to the original principal investigator at the new institution. The Office of Sponsored Programs is responsible for establishing that contractual agreement.

Termination of sponsored agreements

If the sponsored agreements should be terminated, the normal closeout processes apply. It is important, however, that principal investigator submits all the required reports and deliverables before leaving The Ohio State University.

Transfer of Property to Other Institutions

The Ohio State University’s ability to conduct research programs depends, in part, on access to research equipment obtained through sponsored agreements. Therefore, it is not always possible to release property to another institution when a principal investigator transfers. In exceptional cases, specialized items of research property may be essential to the continuation of a principal investigator’s research program at his/her new institution and such property may be authorized for transfer if not required by Ohio State for other projects and if approved by the sponsor.

To initiate the transfer process, the principal investigator first contacts Office of Sponsored Programs Procurement to obtain a list of all property purchased with grant funds. The principal investigator selects those items to be transferred and obtains approval from his/her department or college to make the transfer. Arrangements should be made with the new institution for the physical transfer of authorized property. The next steps depend on the status of the project (see transfer guidelines below).

Any principal investigator considering transferring a project or equipment to a new institution is encouraged to discuss the matter with the assigned sponsored program officer.

Transfer of Equipment on Active Projects

The principal investigator must submit a letter of request to the department chair and dean which includes:

  • the purpose of the transfer
  • the name of the intended receiving institution
  • the name and address of the property administrator at the new institution
  • Programs Property Status Change form (PR-036) for all Office of Sponsored Programs tagged equipment
  • a proposal for compensation to other contributors if any of the items were acquired with funding from multiple accounts

Once approved by the department chair and dean, the request is forwarded to the Office of Sponsored Program’s property administrator for processing. Transfer of equipment or property on an active grant or contract must be approved in writing by the sponsoring agency. The Office of Sponsored Programs property administrator will alert the property administrator at the receiving institution of the pending transfer and request written acknowledgment of the transfer and the institution’s willingness to provide relief of accountability for the items. The principal investigator makes arrangements with the receiving institution for the physical transfer of authorized property.

Transfer of Equipment on Inactive Projects

The principal investigator must submit a letter of request to the department chair and dean which includes:

  • the purpose of the transfer
  • the name of the intended receiving institution
  • the name and address of the property administrator at the new institution
  • a Release of Surplus Property form for all Office of Sponsored Programs tagged equipment
  • a negotiated proposal for university compensation from the receiving institution or request for donation to the receiving institution that has been approved by the department chair and dean

Once approved by the department chair and dean, the request is then forwarded to the Office of Sponsored Programs property administrator who will secure Office of Sponsored Programs approval before forwarding the request to the Office of Surplus Materials Disposal. Surplus Materials Disposal will review the proposed offer of compensation or request for donation for final approval and processing. The principal investigator is responsible for making arrangements with the receiving institution for the authorized physical transfer of equipment.