Change of Principal Investigator SOP

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

Some links will work for NIAID staff only.


To change the principal investigator (PI) on a grant.


When a PI will be absent from a project for three or more consecutive months or reduce effort by 25 percent or more, grantees must request NIAID approval to appoint a permanent replacement or an interim PI who will step down when the original PI returns.

They must also request approval to change from a single PI to a multiple PI award or remove PIs from a multiple PI award. NIAID may approve this change without peer review of the new leadership team and Leadership Plan.

If NIAID denies a request, it gives its justifications for the rejection. Grantees can either fix the problems with their proposed new PI or nominate another investigator, but if they can't find an acceptable replacement, they must ask NIAID to terminate the grant.

In response, NIAID issues a revised Notice of Award with a project period end date that coincides with the PI's departure date.

Principal Investigators

  • Request a change in PI by sending a letter or email to your grants management specialist with a copy to your program officer. Include the following information:
    • Reason for the change
    • Updated other support
    • Any changes in the level of effort
    • Date the original PI will return, if applicable
    • Biographical sketch of the proposed new PI
      • For permanent replacements, include birth date, last four digits of social security number, and other sources of support
      • For interim PIs, include only other sources of support
    • Certification of human subjects training if the proposed new PI will be working with human subjects
    • Budget changes resulting from the change in PI
  • For a change of PI on a construction grant, do the following:
    • Make sure the proposed new PI has the following roles:
      • Highly-placed institutional official at the level of dean or equivalent
      • Responsibility and authority for research activities at the grantee organization
      • Authorization to commit institutional funds and resources
    • Your organization should submit a justification via letter or email signed by an authorized business official.
  • To change from a multi-PI to single PI award, send your grants management specialist the following information:
    • Scientific justification for the change
    • Description of how the loss of PIs will affect the capacity to carry out the project
    • Budgetary implications of the change
    • Proposed changes in scope
  • To change from a single PI to multi-PI award, send your grants management specialist the following information:
    • Scientific justification for the change
    • Leadership Plan as detailed in the competing instructions
    • Designation of a contact PI who is located at the grantee institution
    • Biographical sketches and other support information for additional PIs
    • Budgetary implications of the change
    • Proposed changes in scope
  • Sign the request.
    • Letters should include signatures of the current PI, the proposed replacement PI, and the authorized organizational official.
    • Emails must reflect the concurrence of the authorized organizational official and his or her signature block, as required by policy.
  • If NIAID does not approve a permanent change of PI, your business official must notify the director of the NIAID Grants Management Program (GMP) in writing that the grant should be terminated.
    • Send letter or email to
      • Emily Linde
        National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH
        BG 5601FL, Room 4E10, MSC 9824
        5601 Fishers Lane
        Rockville, MD, 20892-9824
      • Email:
    • Submit the required closeout documents within 120 days of the project period end date.

Check the NIH Grants Policy Statement for more information on change in PI status.

Program Officers

  • Refer grantees to the appropriate grants management specialist
  • Review requests to determine if a proposed new PI has enough expertise and time to devote to the project
  • Recommend approval or disapproval of the request to the grants management specialist

Grants Management Specialists

  • Review a change of PI request to ensure the following:
    • Proposed PI has a formal written agreement with the grantee organization
      • The agreement should specify an official relationship between the parties even if the relationship does not involve a salary or other form of remuneration.
      • The PI is not required to be an employee of the grantee.
    • Proposed PI is not listed as an excluded party in the System for Award Management (SAM)
    • Proposed budget changes are acceptable
    • Total time and effort will not exceed 12 person months
    • Certification of human subjects training, if applicable, is included
  • Complete a change of PI request within 30 days.
  • If the request is for an interim PI, send written approval to the grantee. An email will suffice.
    • Do not issue a revised Notice of Award
    • Make sure the interim PI has the appropriate qualifications and available time and effort
  • If the request is for a permanent replacement, or you cannot approve the interim PI, follow the instructions on the GMP Change of Principal Investigator SOP (accessible to GMP staff only).

For more information, see staff guidance How-To: Change of Principal Investigator on the NIH Extramural Intranet.



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.

Use the contacts listed above for questions about your specific situation. If you have a general question or a suggestion to improve this page, email the Office of Knowledge and Educational Resources at


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