CERES: Award Modification Requests


Request an Award Modification

Note: The attachments contain a job aid for this article.

Active awards often need to be changed in some way. For example, you may need to address sponsor requests, update awarded amounts, or account for an approved extension. This procedure shows how to create an award modification request and submit it for review. The system supports multiple award modification requests for a single award. Typically, the RA (administrative contact) on the award requests modifications, though several other roles have permissions to do so.

Note: Make sure to follow any local unit-defined business processes regarding any additional approvals that should be collected prior to submitting the request for SR review. Those approvals, where needed, should be documented and attached to the request prior to submitting for SR review.

To submit an award modification request

  1.     Open the award that needs to be changed from the Active Awards tab on the Grants Awards page.

  2.     From the award workspace, click Request Award Modification.

  3.     In the SmartForm on the Request Details page, type a meaningful title and description for the modification request, and select the request type(s). Supply any of the optional information.

      Note: You can select more than one request type in a single Award Modification Request form.

Uploaded Image (Thumbnail)


  4.     When satisfied with your entries, click Save and Finish to save your work and populate the additional pages of the SmartForm. Click Exit to go to the award modification request workspace.

The system creates the modification request in the Draft state, and it appears in your CERES inbox until you submit it for review.

  5.     Complete the SmartForm pages that appear based on your earlier request type selections.

  6.     When finished, from the award modification request workspace, click Submit to Specialist on the award modification request workspace.

  7.     On the Submit to Specialist form, optionally supply any instructions and supporting documents, then click OK.

The award modification request transitions to the Review state and appears in the assigned Specialist’s CERES inbox.


AMR Best Practices


Standardize Titles

Format: Due MM/DD | AMR Type | FP/SP | PI | Sponsor | Dept

Example: Due 6/31 | NCE | FP-SP000000 | Mombou | NIH | English


Do not duplicate required uploads in the optional upload section
Do include a deadline if applicable
Do include documentation for the deadline
Do include sponsor correspondence

Description Guidance Use the full description of requested changes section to provide a high-level overview of what changes are being requested
Bundle Requests If you have more than one request, bundle it

Responding to Comments

  • Consider formatting
  • Being specific
  • Numbering responses
  • Responding in the order the comments were raised
No Cost Extension
  • Provide the specific approval if the sponsor has already approved
  • Provide a justification for the request if the AMR needs to be submitted to the sponsor
  • Uploads: GM045, Sponsor Correspondence, NU IRB or IACUC approval (with explicit connection to the project: matching title, award number, or FP/SP)
Budget Code
  • Was this cost originally proposed? If not, how does it contribute to the SOW?
  • Provide a justification if sponsor approval is required
  • Email (through CERES) the Awards Management team directly if cost was included at proposal state and not restricted by NOA
  • Provide IRB/IACUC approval letter (if the letter is already linked, provide specific instructions on where it can be found)
  • Contact ASRSP for restricted codes: https://www.northwestern.edu/asrsp/expenses/account-codes.html 
  • Unobligated balance needs to be a rough estimate and confirmed by ASRSP
  • All sponsor required documents should be completed and uploaded in the correct sponsor format
  • Provide directions or sponsor contact information if the department or PI has started a request in a sponsor system
Change in Scope
  • Required CERES information: Revised SOW, Sponsor Contact
  • Needed if there is a budget cut of 20% or more
  • NIH requires if over 25% of the total award cost rebudgeting
  • Provide a programmatic reason for the change, any correspondence with the sponsor, relevant human/animal assurance documents, and any resulting changes to Subawards
  • Check for sponsor requirements: what does a given sponsor want to see?
  • This can be bundled with budget changes


  • When to Request:
    • When required by the sponsor
    • SR will not rebudget to true up spending
  • What to include:
    • Terms and Conditions
    • Description of the changes to be made
    • Detailed description of movement across categories
  • How to bundle:
    • Does this trigger a change in the SOW?
    • Are new budget categories required?
Effort Change
  • Type of Change:
    • Adding personnel
    • Removing personnel
    • Changing role of current personnel
    • Short term leave of absence
  • Required Documents:
    • CV's (Biosketch and C&P) in sponsor format
    • Emails or NSF ID's for NSF grants
Personnel Change
  • Upload any previous communication about the change
  • Provide a programmatic description of if or how the SOW will be affected
  • Indicate whether sponsor approval is needed
  • Reminder: Any documents required for sponsor approval (e.g. biosketch, other support) shoud be uploaded in sponsor's most current format
Change in Department
  • Upload documentation for the following:
    • Effective date
    • Reason for change
    • Confirmation that new department accepts responsibility for the project
    • New department code and administrator contact information
Advance/At-Risk Accounts
Was this helpful?
88% helpful - 8 reviews
Print Article


Article ID: 2243
Tue 4/4/23 10:30 AM
Fri 7/21/23 8:42 AM