Prior Approval & Other Requests

During the life of a grant project, it is likely that modifications to the award will be needed that deviate from the submitted proposal. Many of these changes require prior approval from the sponsor before Harvard can process the change. For more information on prior approvals from the most common federal sponsors, please refer to the NSF Research Terms & Conditions (Research Terms and Conditions Appendix A - Prior Approval Matrix).

Requests for modifications that require sponsor approval also require that a GMAS request be entered. The most common requests types are:

  • No Cost Extensions
  • Changes to Key Personnel
  • Changes to Effort
  • Re-budgets
  • PI Changes or Leaves of Absence
  • Addition of subagreements (foreign or domestic) 
  • Early Termination
  • Carry-forward
  • Pre-Award Expenditures

Examples of circumstances requiring prior approval from a sponsor, and therefore a GMAS request include, but are not limited to:

  • Changes in the scope or the objective of the project
  • Changes in the Principal Investigator or Key Personnel
  • Absence for more than three (3) months, or a 25% reduction in the time devoted to the project by the Principal Investigator or Key Personnel
  • Transfers of funds allocated for training expenses (direct trainee payments, stipends, tuition, fees) to other budget categories
  • Subcontracting a substantive programmatic portion of the work, which results in a change in scope, unless described in the application and funded in the approved award 
  • Subcontracting with a foreign entity
  • Equipment not approved in the original award with a cost above $25,000 constitutes a change in the scope of work, mandating approval

For questions about whether something requires prior approval or a GMAS request, please contact your OSP Awards Management Portfolio Owner.