The UQ Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) is the key contact point in working with researchers to notify project and fellowship variations to a funding agency. Project and fellowship variations may involve a wide variety of changes, including, but not limited to changes to the investigator team, changes to the budget, changes to the organisations involved, transfers of the project or fellowship and changes to the completion date.

The nature of the variations permitted will depend on the funding agency involved and the contractual arrangements which govern the project or fellowship. Depending on the types of changes proposed, some variations may require the contractual arrangements to be updated.

Change in investigator

Changes to investigator and/or investigator location/role on a research project are relatively frequent, and may result from changes in eligibility to hold a particular role, for example Chief Investigator (CI) or Partner Investigator (PI) status, from staff movement, or from the desire to add or remove personnel to/from the project. 

Change in budget

Sometimes investigators seek to change the budget of a funded project or fellowship (i.e. how the budget is being expended). Where the budget change is material in nature, a formal variation request is normally submitted to the funding agency.

Very minor budget changes (e.g. adjusting expenditure when an agency only partially funds the grant) can normally be reported in the annual/progress report without the need for a variation request, although the requirement to notify/vary differs based on the individual contractual provisions governing the funding. If any major budget changes are proposed (including shifts of expenditure across budget categories), a budget variation should be submitted.

Change to organisations on the project

Sometimes an additional organisation may wish to join a project or fellowship or one of the original organisations may no longer be able to participate. Variations to the organisations on a project or fellowship generally require notification to be provided to the funding agency. Updates to the contractual arrangements governing the research funding will also likely be required.  

Transfer out of project or fellowship

‘Transfer out’ (and ‘transfer in’) are terms describing where there is a change in the administering (lead) organisation of a research project or fellowship.

When a project or fellowship ‘transfers out’ from UQ, it involves the administration of the project moving to another eligible organisation, and UQ ceasing its role as administering (lead) organisation.

First-named investigators who leave UQ to take up appointment (normally at another Australian university or research organisation) can normally request approval to transfer their research projects to the new organisation, contingent on the rules and contractual arrangements governing the research funding. Where in some cases the funded project may transfer, in others the project may be retained under UQ’s administration with a new lead CI being nominated. These matters are discussed with the project team and host UQ School/Centre/Institute in the first instance.

Transfer in of a project or fellowship

When a project ‘transfers in’ to UQ, it involves the administration of the project moving from another eligible organisation to UQ. At the point of transfer in, UQ assumes the role of administering (lead) organisation. First-named investigators who move from another Australian university or research organisation to take up appointment at UQ can normally request approval to transfer their research projects to UQ, contingent on the rules and contractual arrangements governing the research funding. 

Extension of end date

Extension of research project or fellowship end date occurs in two main forms:

  • a change to the end date without further project funding (i.e, a ‘no cost extension’ based on the existing scope of work)
  • a change to the end date with further project funding. This may involve further milestones and potentially an expanded scope of work.

It is important to differentiate a ‘funded extension’ from a new project. A ‘funded extension’ is clearly related to the original project, including articulation to the original scope of work, use of a variation process (rather than a new application) and, if approved, the process of varying an existing agreement rather than creating a new agreement. 

Sometimes, if UQ is leading a multi-party project and a funded extension involves further funding disbursements to its collaborating partners, the contractual arrangements between the project participants may need to be updated.

For further, scheme specific information and assistance, please contact your Research Administration Officer.