Change of Program Director/Principal Investigator, Change to Multiple PI Plan, and Other Key Personnel Named in Notice of Award

A request for a change of program director/principal investigator (PD/PI) or senior/key personnel named on the Notice of Awards is subject to the prior approval of the NIDA program officer (PO) and grants management specialist (GMS) assigned to the grant.

Recipients are expected to submit these prior approval requests 30 days before the proposed change when:

  • There is a significant change in the status of the PD/PI or other Senior/Key Personnel specifically named in the NoA including but not limited to withdrawing from the project entirely, being absent from the project during any continuous period of 3 months or more, or reducing time devoted to the project by 25 percent or more from the level that was approved at the time of initial competing year award (for example, a proposed change from 40 percent effort to 30 percent or less effort or in calendar months a change from 4.8 to 3.6 calendar months). Reductions are cumulative, i.e., the 25% threshold may be reached by two or more successive reductions that total 25% or more. Once agency approval has been given for a significant change in the level of effort, then all subsequent reductions are measured against the approved adjusted level. Selecting Yes in the RPPR constitutes a prior approval request to the agency and the issuance of a subsequent year of funding constitutes agency approval of the request
  • There is a change from a multiple PD/PI model to a single PD/PI model.
  • There is a change from a single PD/PI model to a multiple PD/PI model.
  • There is a change in the number or makeup of the PD/PIs on a multiple PD/PI award.

The following grant mechanisms are not eligible to request a change of PD/PI: DP1s, DP2s, career (K) awards, ROOs, MERIT (R37) awards, and PECASE awards. 

NIH must approve any alternate arrangement proposed by the recipient, including any replacement of the PD/PI or key personnel named in the Notice of Award (NoA), and the addition of any new PD/PIs.

Please note that the requirement to obtain NIDA prior approval for a change in status pertains only to those personnel NIH designates in the NoA regardless of whether the recipient designates others as senior/key personnel for its own purposes.

Submitting Your Change of PD/PI Request (Two options)

  1. Electronic submission of change of PD/PI requests is strongly encouraged, Please see the eRA Commons Prior Approval Module.
  2. Prior approval request submitted by email from the authorized organizational representative (AOR) for a change of PD/PI or a change in the MPI plan are submitted to NIDA grants management specialist and program official from the recipient’s AOR and must include the following:
    • a strong scientific justification related to the scientific project, including any proposed changes in scope
    • the biographical sketch and updated other support of any new individuals proposed and any budget changes resulting from the proposed change.
    • A new or revised Leadership Plan is required if the request is to change from a single PD/PI model to a multiple PD/PI model, or to change the number or makeup of the PD/PIs on a multiple PD/PI award.
    • The Commons ID must be provided for any new PD/PIs.
    • Certification of human subjects training if the proposed new PI will be working with human subjects
    • In addition, because NIH recipients are expected to provide safe and healthful working conditions for their employees and foster work environments conducive to high-quality research, the request for approval should include mention as to whether change(s) in PD/PI or Senior/Key Personnel is related to concerns about safety and/or work environments (e.g., due to concerns about harassment, bullying, retaliation, or hostile working conditions). NIH will in turn be better positioned to enable informed grant-stewardship decisions regarding matters including, but not limited to, substitute personnel and institutional management and oversight.
    • If the proposed replacement PI is not an employee of the recipient organization, please include an assurance that a formal written agreement is in place between the recipient organization and the proposed replacement PI, that specifies an official relationship between the parties even if the relationship does not involve a salary or other form of remuneration.

NIDA Staff Responsibilities

Both the assigned PO and GMS will review the AOR-submitted request. If the request is approved, your institution will receive a revised NoA. If the request is denied or additional information is necessary, you will receive email notification from your GMS.

Recipients are strongly encouraged to contact your NIDA program official and grants management specialist with any questions about a possible change of PD/PI or changes to an MPI leadership plan. The telephone number and email address of your NIDA Program Officer and your NIDA Grants Specialist are available in the eRA Commons.