PI Absence From a Project

Circumstances can arise during the period of a sponsored project that result in a PI being absent from campus for varying lengths of time (e.g., sabbatical, parental leave, or an extended leave). This absence does not always result in the PI’s disengagement from the project, but it is a scenario that requires the PI to notify their program manager in advance of a pending absence.

In accordance with the Uniform Guidance, hence applicable to most federal awards:

  • In the event that a PI/Co-PI will be absent from a project for a period greater than three months, but intends to return, notice and arrangement for oversight of the project must be submitted to the program manager at least 30 days prior to the anticipated departure date.
  • If the PI is absent, but remaining engaged, the program manager will provide written approval to UMass/PI if the arrangements are satisfactory, and in most cases no formal amendment to the grant will be made.
  • In circumstances where the PI will be disengaged from the project, the arrangements will have to be more rigorous as it might result in a reduction of the level of effort of the current PI, appointment of a temporary replacement PI, change in scope of work, etc. These require sponsor approval and will normally result in a formal amendment to the award.

Non-federal awards don’t normally call out a specific period of time for a PI absence, but an anticipated absence of greater than three months should be the basis of discussion between the PI and the sponsor in advance of the absence.

The award terms and conditions should always be reviewed to determine if there is specific requirements around this issue, and if in doubt don’t hesitate to contact the Office of Post-Award Management (OPAM): opam@umass.edu.