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 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 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 sub recipients 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


  • 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
  • Certifies Personnel Activity Reports
  • Completes interim and final technical reports
  • Prepares continuation or renewal proposal
  • Retains project data and materials as required
  • Updates annual Conflict of Interest and prepares a Disclosure Form if significant financial conflict of interest develops

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