As a Primary Investigator (PI) on a grant project, you will largely be responsible for the successful outcome of the overall project. This includes but is not limited to overseeing project activities, ensuring activities occur as outlined in the management plan, analyzing data, and more. In addition to the PI responsibilities present during the investigation, there are several tasks a PI must complete before an award is finalized and after the project ends.
Before the Award
Before the award is finalized, the grantor may request additional information. This could include a request from the National Institute of Health for Just In Time (JIT) information, time-sensitive information that is not included in the application. If human or animal studies are involved, agencies may request information on the institutional review board (IRB), independent ethics committee (IEC), ethical review board (ERB), or research ethics board (REB), or in the case of animal subjects, institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC). These requirements are often pending at the time of submission but must be documented as complete at the time of the award. The institution will always reach out to the PI for answers to these questions, usually via email. It is the PI’s responsibility to monitor their email for grantor communications and provide answers to any questions or requests for information. Failure to do so can result in denial of an award that otherwise would have been granted.
Before, During, and After Award
One important PI responsibility is to maintain communication with the research team and to keep them informed on project progress. This is especially important before an award when the PI will be the only contact receiving communications from the award institution. It is critical that the PI share this communication with the team and ensure all information requests required by the grantor are fulfilled before an award and that during the project, the PI schedules regular meetings and keeps all team members in the loop. After award, the PI’s responsibilities will include analyzing data and reporting the project findings to the grantor.
The big takeaway here is that the PI is the main point of contact from the grantor’s perspective. Even if administrative roles are designated within the team, the grantor will still auto-designate such administrative tasks as JIT information, reporting, and other functions as the PI’s responsibility.
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