Deviations and Waivers to Grant Policies SOP

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

Some links will work for NIAID staff only.


To obtain an exception to grant regulations, policies, or procedures when highly beneficial to either NIH or a project's scientific goals or fiscal stewardship.


When grantees make a prior approval request for an action that conflicts with NIH regulations, policies, or procedures (from here on referred to as "policy") or NIAID policy, Institute staff may consider writing a deviation or waiver request.

  • Single-case deviation—an exception to NIH policy involving a single grant or multiple grants that responded to the same request for applications. Examples include:
    • Simultaneous change of principal investigator and grantee institution.
    • Provision of facilities and administrative (F&A) costs to a conference grant.
    • Change of institution on a program project grant.
  • Class deviation—an exception to NIH policy involving multiple grants or a group of grants awarded under an ongoing program with multiple receipt dates. These grants share terms and conditions of award. An example of this type of deviation: limiting reimbursement of F&A costs for a class of awards.
  • Waiver—an exception to NIAID policy. Examples include:
    • Change of institution during a no-cost extension.
    • Approval of a third no-cost extension.

Grantee Institution

  • Business officials submit prior approval requests in writing to the grants management specialist (GMS) and program officer (PO).

Program Officers

  • Provide scientific justification for deviation or waiver to grants management specialist using the Email Template for Deviation or Waiver Request.
    • State the rationale for deviating from a policy and the unusual circumstances that justify it.
    • Address why a deviation is necessary to accomplish the scientific goals or fiscal stewardship of the project or how it will benefit NIH.
    • Send your request to the GMS.

Grants Management Staff

  • Review program officer’s deviation or waiver request, including the scientific justification.
  • Complete the Email Template for Deviation or Waiver Request.
    • Include the regulation, policy, or procedure we are deviating or waiving and your rationale for approving the request.
    • Email the request to your GMP division coordinator, who will review the request and work with the PO and GMS as necessary to ensure it is strong and sound before forwarding it to the chief grants management officer for approval, disapproval, or request for higher-level review.
  • Email the grantee with a copy to the program officer and division coordinator stating whether a request is approved.
  • If required, revise the Notice of Award.
  • Document the approval process and rationale in the electronic grant file.
  • For more responsibilities, see the GMP Policy Deviations and Policy Waivers SOP.


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

Chief Grants Management Officer—Contact for NIAID Staff


NIH Grants Administration Manual, Chapter - Applicability

Single-Case Deviation from PHS/NIH Policy, OER Policy Announcement 1997-02

Prior Approvals for Post-Award Grant Actions SOP

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