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Carryover Unobligated Funds

Carryover is the process by which unobligated funds remaining at the end of a budget period may be carried forward to cover allowable costs in the next budget period. The carryover of funds enables recipients to use unexpended prior year grant funds in another budget period.

Grants Requiring NIH Prior Approval

Most grants have automatic carryover authority, and recipients do not have to request approval from the NCI to carryover funds from one budget period to the next. Recipients that do not have automatic carryover authority are required to submit a prior approval request. The Notice of Award indicates whether automatic carryover is authorized for the grant.

Carryover requests must be limited to actual needs for the current budget period. Budgetary overlap (duplicative or equivalent costs approved for the current budget period) is not allowed and should not be requested.

How to Submit an NCI Carryover Request

The NIH eRA Commons Prior Approval module is available for electronic submission of a carryover request. The Prior Approval module includes the ability for the request to be routed within the institution for Principal Investigator input and submission by the Authorized Organization Representative (AOR). The system automatically tracks all requests for the institution and notifies the assigned NCI staff that a request has been submitted. The eRA Commons video for Carryover Requests offers step-by-step instructions for using the system to submit requests.

Timing of Carryover Requests

Carryover requests should be submitted in a timely manner with enough time in the budget period to complete the work proposed, and should be submitted after the Federal Financial Report (FFR) has been submitted.

Requests must include the following information:

  • Provide the grant number and PI name
  • Note the amount of funds to be carried over (direct and indirect)
  • Identify if any funds were restricted
  • Provide an explanation for the unobligated balance; if there are supplements, break out the balance by parent and each supplement
  • Include an expenditure plan with a description of activities to be completed and how those activities relate to the aims of the project
    • Give reasons why the work cannot be accomplished through rebudgeting of current budget period funds
  • Complete a detailed budget in PHS 398 format and provide justification for all items. If subrecipients are applicable, include separate detailed budget pages and justification for each. NCI will generally not consider ‘To Be Named’ personnel.
  • Include a checklist page in PHS 398 format reflecting the requested F&A costs

When preparing a justification for a carryover request, recipients should consider the following:

  • Why weren’t the funds spent in the past year?
  • Budget and scientific justifications:
    • Will the proposed use of the carryover funds result in a change of scope?
    • What additional work will be done during the current grant year that is not possible with the current award amount? For example, thought should be given to how the work will be accelerated, will more staff be hired, effort increased or more assays run etc.?
    • How will recurring expenses that go beyond the budget period such as supplies and personnel, be paid for in the future?
    • 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 approved for carryover?

Once submitted, the Grants Management Specialist (GMS) and Program Official will review the request. If the request is approved, a revised Notice of Award will reflect the additional authorized funds. If carryover is denied, the GMS will provide written notification to the AOR. Only responses from the GMS are considered valid.

Contact information for the GMS and Program Official assigned to the grant may be found in the eRA Commons.

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