It is not uncommon for a PI to determine that for efficient performance of the project, he/she must rebudget funds from one budget line or category to another. Many federal agencies have delegated authority to approve these changes or modifications to the University. A matrix of rebudgeting requirements and other prior approvals is available at the National Science Foundation Prior Approvals Matrix (PDF).
However, some federal awards and sponsors require that the University (OSP) formally submit a budget modification to the sponsor with an explanation of the need for the budget modification and the anticipated impact, if any, on the conduct of the work. For example, NSF requires ‘prior approval’ to move funds out of participant support category. Most New York State awards and USED awards require prior approval of budget modifications of a specified dollar amount or percentage of the budget line or award amount, which ever is greater.
Guidance on applicable rebudgeting and prior approval procedures is presented in the “Sponsor Regs” summary document included with the award materials. The PI or his/her designee should first check the sponsor’s award documentation to see if the sponsor has specific guidelines for when a revised budget for rebudgeting is required. When required, it should be submitted to the appropriate OSP research administrator (RA) for review. The OSP RA will then work with program staff and other offices as necessary on the revision and submission of budget modification to the sponsor.