Conversion of Grants to Cooperative Agreements SOP

This standard operating procedure (SOP) includes the following sections: PurposeProcedureContacts, and Links.


To convert grants to cooperative agreements when NIAID staff need to have substantial involvement in the research.


A cooperative agreement is an award in the U series for which scientific or programmatic NIH employees are substantially involved in the research. For more information, go to the NIAID Cooperative Agreements Staff Portal and see Determining When to Use a Cooperative Agreement for examples of normal and substantial involvement.

Occasionally, NIAID may need to convert a grant to a cooperative agreement. It usually does this only if one or more of the following conditions exist:

  • Investigator proposes an investigator-initiated clinical trial, a prevention, education, or control intervention, or an epidemiologic study for more than $500,000 in direct costs in any year.
  • NIAID holds the investigational new drug application and gives regulatory support to a grantee.
  • Subjects in clinical research have more than a minimal risk.
  • Grantees will acquire, store, modify, or use dangerous biological agents.
  • There is substantial involvement by an intramural scientist(s).

Both NIAID and the principal investigator (PI) must agree to the terms and conditions of award for a cooperative agreement. A PI may request more money if the new terms and conditions may increase research costs.

Use the following process to convert a grant to a cooperative agreement.

Principal Investigators and Institutional Officials

  • Sign and send your acceptance of the terms and conditions of award to the grants management specialist.

Program Officers

  • Identify applications that should be converted. Such applications must:
    • Meet one or more of the conditions in the bulleted list above.
    • Have an initial peer review or Council recommendation to use a cooperative agreement.
  • Do not convert a grant to a cooperative agreement unless you are certain your division has the resources.
    • Discuss the reasons for the conversion with your supervisor(s) and get guidance on the process and divisional approvals needed. 
    • Make sure funds are available.
    • Be sure your division can commit staff time and other resources needed for a more involved role. Your division must have qualified staff to do the additional work so that a grantee's research is not unreasonably delayed.NIAID Clinical Terms of Award
    • Draft the written programmatic terms and conditions of award, and if clinical studies or trials are involved, include appropriate NIAID clinical terms (see NIAID Clinical Terms of Award).
    • Discuss the reasons for conversion and the proposed terms and conditions of award with the grants management specialist and iron out any issues.
    • Contact the PI and let him/her know you would like to convert the research grant to a cooperative agreement and discuss the proposed terms and conditions.  Explain that institutional approvals must be obtained before formally obtaining their agreement.
  • Prepare an NIAID Conversion of Grant to Cooperative Agreement Request Memorandum for the NIAID DEA director’s approval.
  • Indicate on the Program Officer Checklist whether the PI needs to address NIAID clinical or biodefense-related terms of award.

Grants Management Staff

Grants Management Specialists

  • Develop the administrative terms and conditions of award.
  • Review the programmatic terms and conditions of award and ensure that both programmatic and administrative terms and conditions meet grants policy requirements.
  • Once the conversion is approved by the DEA director and NIH, negotiate the final terms and conditions of award (and possibly budget revisions) with PI and institutional official.
  • Once the grantee has signed and returned the terms and conditions, upload the agreement to the official grant file.

Grants Management Officers

Division of Extramural Activities OD Staff


  • Receive the NIAID Conversion Request Memorandum and the NIH Request for Conversion Memorandum from the Grants Management Officer.  Review the memoranda for completeness and justification.
  • Forward the NIAID Conversion Request Memorandum and the NIH Request for Conversion Memorandum to the DEA director.
  • Once the DEA director has signed the NIH Request for Conversion Memorandum, forward it to the Office of Extramural Programs, OD, NIH.
  • Once NIH approves, forward the entire approval package to the Grants Management Officer.

DEA Director

  • Review both the NIAID Conversion Request Memorandum and the NIH Request for Conversion Memorandum and sign, if you approve.
  • Send the signed memoranda to DEA OERPO.


Grantees with questions should contact the program officer or grants management specialist listed in the eRA Commons. For more information, read Contacting Program Officers and Grants Management Specialists

Contact for NIAID Staff

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Investigator-Initiated Clinical Trial Planning and Implementation Awards SOP

Investigator-Initiated Clinical Trial Resources

NIAID Conversion of Grant to Cooperative Agreement Request Memorandum

NIAID Cooperative Agreements Staff Portal

NIAID Intramural Scientist Collaboration on Extramural Funded Grants and Contracts SOP

NIH Cooperative Agreement (CA) Kiosk

NIH Policy Topic: Cooperative Agreement Awards

Sample of Memorandum for the conversion of a research grant to a Cooperative Agreement


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