Expectations of a Principal Investigator (PI)

Responsibility for setting the direction of research at Purdue University lies with the faculty. A principal investigator is typically a member of the faculty who bears responsibility for the intellectual leadership of a project. He/she accepts overall responsibility for directing the research, financial oversight of the funding, as well as compliance with relevant University policies, federal regulations, and sponsor terms and conditions of an award. This includes research contracts, grants, cooperative agreements, training or service projects, clinical studies, and other sponsored projects. PI’s do not have the authority to execute contracts or agreements on behalf of Purdue University but do have the responsibility for the following items:


  • Prepares the technical proposal, works with Sponsored Program Services Pre-Award to develop the budget and related materials and confirms that the entire proposal meets requirements outlined in the sponsor’s program guidelines
  • Identifies subrecipients and consultants
  • Requests cost sharing dollars, if required
  • Satisfies regulatory research requirements (i.e. use of human subjects, animals, etc.)
  • Assures the final proposal is properly endorsed and communicates to Pre-Award staff to obtain appropriate approvals prior to submission
  • Comply with University policies and sponsoring agency requirements regarding the provision of information on other support documents
  • Ensure that every disclosure to an external funding agency of active, pending, or previous sources of support for research and other sponsored activities are true, complete, and accurate to the best of the researcher’s knowledge


  • Conducts the research, which includes, but is not limited to:
    • Managing project personnel
    • Overseeing the scope of work
    • Authorizing payments to consultants and sub recipients
    • Overseeing the scientific integrity of the project
    • Communicating any allegations of academic fraud or scientific misconduct to the appropriate office
    • Ensuring all researchers are trained in the responsible conduct of research
  • Complies with the Intellectual Property Policy
  • Discloses inventions, discoveries, and improvements to Purdue University and the Purdue Research Foundation
  • Complies with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) for combating trafficking in persons

Award and Administrative Oversight

  • Reviews and approves, in conjunction with the appropriate University Research Administration staff, the terms and conditions of the award
  • Provides financial oversight of the funding
  • Certifies allocability and appropriateness of charges to sponsored programs
    • Allocability is a test of necessity and benefit of the item to the project.
    • It is expected that most purchases or expenditures will benefit more than one project because it would be hard to say that no other project would or could benefit.
    • The determination of allocability is vested with the PI because of their first hand knowledge of project scope and deliverables.
  • Ensures compliance with relevant University policies, federal regulations, and sponsor terms and conditions of an award
  • Certifies Personnel Activity Reports
  • Completes interim and final technical reports
  • Prepares continuation or renewal proposals
  • Retains project data and materials as required
  • Discloses annual conflict of interest and prepares a disclosure of Significant Financial Interests, including stipends, living expenses, payments and travel reimbursements received from other organizations
  • Discloses financial interests related to your research in all public sharing of research results including journal articles, presentations and other publications.
    • Journals and professional organizations have various, often broader standards for financial interest disclosure than the University. Review those standards for each relevant journal or organization and disclose appropriately.
  • Discloses outside professional activities and financial relationships, whether compensated or uncompensated, through the Reportable Outside Activity Form. Such disclosures must include all work for, or financial interests received from, domestic and international institutions of higher education or the government or quasi-governmental organizations.
  • Promptly alerts departmental leadership and the Export Control/Information Assurance Office in the event that you believe a collaborator or visitor is misusing their access or relationship with Purdue
  • Complies with US export control regulations when doing any of the following:
    • Accepting publication restrictions in research
    • Travelling internationally and attending conferences
    • Participating in international collaborations
    • Using proprietary information
    • Working with international staff and students
    • Hosting international visitors
    • Shipping materials internationally
    • Engaging in any international transactions
  • Provides appropriate supervision for all visits and visiting scholars that you host to ensure that they are upholding University policy and are appropriately using University resources

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