NIH prior approval is required for any reduction of effort of 25% or more from the level that was approved at the time of the initial competing year award, or a change of 25% or more from a previously approved reduction in effort level as reflected in a revised Notice of Award (NOA). For example, a proposed change from 12 person months (100% effort) to 9 person months (75% effort) or fewer would require prior approval. Prior approval is only required for a change in effort for the PD/PI or other senior/key personnel specifically named in the NoA. Other personnel, if not named in the NoA, do not need prior approval.  Note that prior approval is not needed for a reduction in effort during a no-cost extension period. 

There are two ways to submit a request: through your grants or contracts office or via the Research Performance Progress Report.

Grants or Contracts Office

A reduction in effort request should be routed and submitted from your Grants and Contracts Office, or equivalent, and include the following information:

  • Statement indicating the previous approved level of effort and the requested new level of effort reflected in person months. Indicate the duration of the effort reduction (when such reduction is less than the remaining project period).
  • Description of the remaining work that needs to be accomplished on the grant and a statement that the requested new level of effort is sufficient to complete the remaining work described.
  • Updated Other Support page, incorporating the requested change in effort, explaining how this change in effort affects the overall level of effort on other grants.
  • Provide an explanation as to how the funds will be utilized, if funds are being freed up from salary.

Research Performance Progress Report

Grantees may use the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) to request prior approval for a reduction in the level of effort for the PD/PI and other senior/key personnel named in the NoA under Section D.2 of the RPPR. When a grantee selects “yes” to question D.2.a, this constitutes a prior approval request. The issuance of a subsequent year of funding constitutes agency approval of the request. Once a prior approval to change has been granted, the new approved level of effort becomes the basis for any subsequent measure of effort reduction.

Last Updated: September 2021