Clarification of NIH's Policy Regarding a Change in Program Director's/Principal Investigator's Status

Notice Number: NOT-OD-18-172

Key Dates
Release Date:  May 1, 2018

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH)


The purpose of this Notice is to remind recipients of NIH’s prior approval policy for changes in the status of PIs and senior/key personnel, and to clarify the situations in which NIH’s prior approval is required.

The NIH Grants Policy Statement (GPS), Change in Status, Including Absence of PD/PI and Other Senior/Key Personnel Named in the NoA, outlines several scenarios in which prior approval is required, including the PD/PI’s withdrawal from the project, an absence for a continuous period of 3 months or more, and the reduction in time devoted to the project by 25 percent or more from the level that was approved at the time of initial competing award. These examples are not meant to be all inclusive nor an exhaustive list of changes in status that require NIH’s prior approval. 

Through this announcement NIH seeks to remind the extramural community that prior approval is required anytime there is a change in status of the PD/PI or other senior/key personnel where that change will impact his/her ability to carry out the approved research at the location of, and on behalf of, the recipient institution. In particular, changes in status of the PI or other senior/key personnel requiring prior approval would include restrictions that the institution imposes on such individuals after the time of award, including but not limited to any restrictions on access to the institution or to the institution’s resources, or changes in their (employment or leave) status at the institution. These changes may impact the ability of the PD/PI or other senior/key personnel to effectively contribute to the project as described in the application; therefore, NIH prior approval is necessary to ensure that the changes are acceptable.

Any questions about the need for prior approval should be directed to the Grants Management Officer named in the Notice of Award.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Office of Policy for Extramural Research Administration
Telephone: 301-435-0949