Prior Approval for Changes to Key Personnel and/or Level of Effort

To change approved key staff or level of effort (LOE) of approved key staff for federally supported projects, grantees must request prior approval from SAMHSA through the eRA system.

IMPORTANT: SAMHSA has transitioned to the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s electronic Research Administration (eRA) grants system. All post-award processes will be managed exclusively through the eRA system and this effort requires the approved Program Director/Project Director (PD) to be registered in eRA Commons.

Additional information on the eRA Commons registration process for the PD is available at Instructions for SAMHSA Recipients Commons ID (PDF | 76 KB)

Reasons for Changes to Key Personnel or LOE

Prior approval is required for:

  • The proposal of new personnel
  • The replacement of key personnel assigned to the award
  • Significant changes in the LOE of the approved PD

Key personnel include roles that are required by the Funding Opportunity Announcement, specified in the approved application, or on the Notice of Award (NoA), such as the project director (PD).

A change in the LOE of the PD requires prior approval if there is a separation from the project for more than three months or a 25% reduction in the PD’s time devoted to the project. For example, a proposed change from 40% effort to 30% or less effort by the project director would represent a significant change in LOE.

Based on the nature, extent, and timing of the request, the SAMHSA Grants Management Officer (GMO) may approve, deny, or request additional material to further document and evaluate your request. Only responses provided by the GMO are considered valid. If SAMHSA approves the request, an amended NoA will be issued. Verbal authorization is not approval and is not binding on SAMHSA. Recipients that proceed on the basis of actions by unauthorized officials do so at their own risk, and SAMHSA is not bound by such responses.

What to Include in Your Request

The prior approval request must contain the following:

  1. Cover Letter/Narrative
    • Explain and support the need to change the key personnel and/or change the LOE dedicated to the award.
    • Describe the proposed duties or responsibilities that have changed, if any, and why
    • Discuss the impact, if any, that the change in personnel or LOE will have on the budget and scope of work for the approved grant.
      • If the change in key personnel or the level of effort falls below the budget revision threshold, then the letter must include the statement, “The budget changes associated with this prior approval request fall below SAMHSA’s budget revision threshold”, and also identify the annual salary and level of effort of the proposed key personnel.
  2. A curriculum vitae, resume, or biographical sketches for any new key personnel.
  3. A position description for any new key personnel
  4. If the changes in key personnel or the level of effort requires a budget revision (i.e. exceed 25% of the approved budget, or $250,000, whichever is less), then a revised SF-424A, line item budget, and budget narrative for the budget year (including annual salaries and the percentage of LOE) are required. If matching funds are required, this information must be included in the request as well. To ensure a timely review, the budget should follow the formatting requirements outlined in the Funding Opportunity Announcement.
  5. The HHS Checklist
  6. The proposed PD’s eRA Commons ID must accompany the request. Information on the eRA Commons registration process for the PD is available at Instructions for SAMHSA Recipients Commons ID (PDF | 76 KB)

In addition to the information and supporting documentation described above, remember to follow the steps for submitting a prior approval request.

Last Updated: 12/04/2018