Principal Investigator Quick Reference

Principal investigators (PIs) are ultimately responsible for all aspects of their sponsored projects, including scholarly activity and proper stewardship of awards.

PIs work as a team with their unit (department) administrators and central administration to comply with the terms and conditions of an award. This guide addresses a number of key PI responsibilities for oversight and management of sponsored projects.

Proposal Development, Submission, Post-submission 

The PI should:

  • Work with the unit administrator to develop proposals with sufficient time for review and approval.
  • Meet unit, school, and sponsor due dates.
  • Determine that the level of effort required for a proposed project can be met relative to other effort commitments.
  • Recognize that the PI’s electronic signature in Kuali Research and the signature on submitted proposal documents demonstrate that the PI will accept responsibility for project performance and reports if the award is made.
  • Disclose to the Conflict of Interest Officer any conflict of interest (COI) and pursue review and management of the COI.
  • Complete PHS Conflict of Interest Training as required for NIH, CDC, AHRQ, and other Public Health Service (PHS) agencies.
  • Disclose in Kuali Research international collaborations and exchanges of information, items, and/or activities for export compliance review.

After submission, the PI should:

Award Documentation 

The PI should:

  • Recognize that the PI shares responsibility with the unit’s administrative staff for ongoing administrative management of sponsored projects.
  • Review award terms and conditions.
    • Confirm project deliverables and reports.
    • Note any restrictions on expenditures.
    • Note any conditions for prior approval of project changes such as budget modifications.
  • Identify significant dates and activities, such as report due dates, timeline for completion of milestones, and requirements for award renewal.
  • Not sign an award or agreement except where PI acknowledgment is required. ORD officers will sign as authorized officials for UMB.

Project Management 

The PI should:

  • Oversee conduct of the project.
  • Monitor work of collaborators and subrecipients through documented conversations, reports, visits, or other means.
  • Ensure that project staff have training and certification required by UMB, federal or state regulation, or the sponsor.
  • Seek and maintain approvals for human subjects, animal use, pathogens, select agents, rDNA or other research requiring committee and/or other approvals.
  • Maintain program-related records.
  • Submit all required program reports; complete all required program deliverables.
  • Prepare and submit results for publication.
  • Report inventions to the Office of Technology Transfer (OTT).

Financial Management 

Principal Investigator and/or unit administration shall comply with sponsor terms, conditions, policies, and procedures in exchange for receipt of award funds. The PI should:

  • Coordinate with the unit administrators to ensure that personnel and expenditure records are maintained for the project.
  • Determine that charges to an award, whether for personnel, supplies, equipment, travel, or other types of expenses, are allowable costs: necessary for the project, allocable to the project, and reasonable.
  • Certify effort quarterly, and, when required, certify effort of project personnel quarterly.
  • Monitor effort commitments to ensure that the PI and other key personnel are meeting the effort commitments agreed to when the award was accepted; work with unit administrators to update effort commitments as changes become known.
  • Review award expenditures regularly with the unit administrator to ensure that expenditures are correct and allowable.
  • Review and approve subaward requests.
  • Review subaward invoices.
  • Initiate or review and approve project changes, including no-cost extensions.

Award Closeout 

Before the project ends (best practice is three months before the end date), the PI should:

  • Review the project’s financial status with the unit administrator.
  • Assure that subrecipients have submitted or will submit all required deliverables, reports, and invoices.
  • Plan for updates and changes to payroll, transitioning to a renewal period or to award expiration.
  • Request Temporary Projects for a renewal or continuation period when appropriate.
  • Request a no-cost extension when allowable and appropriate.

When a project expires or is terminated, the PI should:

  • Meet sponsor’s deadline(s) for final reports.
  • Submit any required final project report.
  • Submit any required final invention report.
  • Review the final financial report.
  • Close out IRB and IACUC protocols.
  • Retain the project records for as long as they are useful, but for at least three years after submission of the final report (if any) or award termination, whichever is later.