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Budget Revisions and Modifications

All budgets submitted to a sponsor require institutional review and endorsement prior to submission. A budget revision is an increase or decrease to the total amount of the award. A budget modification transfers budget authority (expenditure, revenue or both) between allocations in accounts, account codes or any combination of these. The net effect of any budget modification is to increase budget authority in one accounting location while decreasing it in another. It does not increase or decrease the total budget, therefore, the total of all changes must equal zero. The current method to submit these requests to Sponsored Research is via anAward Modification in CERES. Budget revisions and budget modifications are permitted at the pre- and post- award stage when institutional endorsement and/or sponsor approval is required for the requested changes. Budget revisions or modifications are not used to move funds for purposes of internal budget reconciliation.

Pre-Award Budget Revisions

Pre-award budget revisions are sponsor requested budget revisions typically due to a reduction in funding prior to award issuance. The sponsor may also request a more detailed budget breakdown and supporting materials that would require institutional review and submission. When Northwestern is a subrecipient, a revised Letter of Intent (LOI) will be needed.

Required documentation to be provided:

  • Sponsor communication
  • Detailed budget
  • Budget justification
  • Amended scope of work, as applicable
  • Rationale for the request

Post-Award Budget Revisions

Post-award budget revisions may occur for several reasons, including sponsor budget reduction in out years, rebudgeting restrictions in an award that would require sponsor approval and/or a change in scope that also requires a budget revision (e.g., adding a subaward, large equipment purchase, etc.).

Required documentation to be provided:

  • Sponsor communication, if prior approval is required
  • Sponsor threshold for making budget revisions, where applicable
  • Detailed budget/Reallocation
  • Budget justification
  • Amended scope of work, as applicable
  • Rationale for the request

All proposed changes to an award budget must meet the cost accounting principles of a sponsored project (allowable, allocable, reasonable, and consistent treatment) and must conform to Northwestern University policies and sponsor policies and individual solicitation and award terms and conditions. For more information see Cost Allowability for Sponsored Projects.