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Reviewed December 29, 2015
Carryover is the process by which unobligated funds remaining at the end of a budget period may be carried forward to the next budget period to cover allowable costs in that budget period. The carryover of funds enables grantees to use unexpended prior year grant funds in the current budget period.
Most grants have automatic carryover authority, and grantees do not have to request approval from the NIH in order to carry over funds from one budget period to the next. Grantees that do not have automatic carryover authority are required to submit a written request. The following mechanisms typically do not have automatic carryover and require NIH prior approval:
- Cooperative Agreements (U)
- Program Centers (P30, P50, P60)
- Awards to Individuals, including Fellowships (F)
- Non-Fast Track, Phase 1 (one-year) SBIR (R43) and (one-year) STTR (R41)
- Training Grants (T) Carryover requests for trainee slots will not be considered, but in rare circumstances, carryover for trainee-related expenses and travel could be considered.
- Clinical Trials (regardless of activity code)
Prior to submitting a request for carryover, the grantee is encouraged to discuss it with their Program Officer (PO) and Grants Management Specialist (GMS). In addition, the grantee must ensure that the Federal Financial Report for the last (and all prior) budget period(s) has been submitted and accepted by the NIH Office of Financial Management. Carryover requests must be limited to actual needs for the current budget period. Subsequent needs would be considered in future budget periods.
All carryover requests must be made in writing (or via e-mail) to the GMS assigned to the project and signed by the Authorized Organization Representative from the grantee institution. Requests should be submitted in a timely manner, within one year of the end of the budget period from which the funds were unexpended, and must include the following information:
- Grant number and PI name
- Amount of funds to be carried over
- Explanation for the unobligated balance
- Plan for expenditure, including a description of activities to be carried out during the carryover period, and how the activities relate to the aims of the project
- Detailed budget in PHS 398 format (Form Page 4) and justification for all items, including detailed budget pages for any subcontract costs
- Checklist page reflecting the requested F&A costs for the prime grantee and any subcontracts
When preparing a justification for a carryover request, grantees should answer the following questions:
- Why were the funds not spent in the past year?
- What additional work will be done during the current grant year that is not possible with the budget currently allotted to this year? Thought must be given to how the work will be accelerated; for example, will more staff be hired, effort increased or more assays run?
- Is the request essential? Are costs reasonable, allowable, necessary and in line with the existing budget? Are there new costs that were previously unforeseen? How will the work be impacted if the funds are not carried over?
If the request is approved, a revised Notice of Grant Award will reflect the additional authorized funds for the current budget period. If carryover is denied, you will receive correspondence from the GMS.
The carryover process should take no more than 30 days from receipt to notification of a decision.
Contact information for your PO and GMS can be found on the Notice of Grant Award.