Being a Principal Investigator

A Principal Investigator (PI) is the primary individual responsible for the preparation, conduct, and administration of a research grant, cooperative agreement, training or public service project, contract, or other sponsored project in compliance with applicable laws and regulations and institutional policy governing the conduct of sponsored research.

To access our institutional policies on compliance in research, click here.

PI Responsibilities

A PI must take responsibility for all aspects of the implementation of the proposed research strategy. The PI is responsible not only to ensure completion of their portion of the project work but also to:

  • Obtain and update any necessary IRB approvals;
  • Supervise all other faculty and staff working on the project and ensure accurate timekeeping;
  • Certify their effort as well as the effort of all faculty members involved in the project;
  • Ensure appropriate spending of funds;
  • Ensure the timely submission of all project reports and deliverables to the sponsor, and
  • Meet any other relevant grant requirements.

The Office of Sponsored Projects and Research (SPaR) and colleagues at the RF are available to support PIs in these post-award endeavors.

Effort Commitment

At the proposal stage, the PI must estimate the amount of effort required to ensure that the project is successful and request sufficient coverage from the sponsor to enable them to dedicate this time to the project. Note that, in some instances, the sponsor may require a minimum dedicated percentage of the PI’s effort to the project. If the sponsor does not specify, the SPaR expectation is that PIs dedicate no less than 5%, unless the project scope is such that an exception to this requirement is reasonable (to be determined on a case-by-case basis).

Mentoring PI

On occasion, a faculty member may choose to be the lead for a student or other member of the school community who would like to submit a project proposal but does not have PI status. In such cases, the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy will consider this a mentoring arrangement. Therefore, the Mentoring PI will be the PI of record and, as such, accountable for all PI responsibilities.

For information on PI eligibility, click here.