Principal Investigator Quick Reference Guide


As a principal investigator (PI), you have primary responsibility on behalf of the university for the technical and fiscal management of your project in accordance with the sponsor’s guidelines, as well as the university’s policies and procedures.

Below are key PI fiscal responsibilities during the post-award phase of a sponsored research project.

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  • Ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of the sponsored program, including compliance with federal and agency regulations and requirements, such as prior approval stipulations, budget limitations and overall sponsor deadlines.

  • Please work with your departmental finance/post-award administrator to complete the necessary payroll documentation to hire and/or place the assigned personnel on your project.

  • Initiate all required subaward agreements and subsequent amendments by completing the Subaward Checklist or Modification Checklist forms. Next, forward the forms to the Post-Award team so they can prepare and negotiate with the subrecipient. Upon execution, the Post-Award team will encumber the funds through SciQuest to your Oracle Grant Project Account.

  • Ensure that expenditures, including any cost transfers, are processed in a timely manner, and that purchases on sponsored programs are allowable and reasonable. Review all subrecipient and consultant invoices to determine services are adequately performed.

  • Ensure all goods and services are received or performed within the project period.

  • Prepare and submit all requests through your Research and Sponsored Programs Grant Specialist for any prior sponsor approvals as required and applicable to your award such as budget modifications and no-cost extensions.

  • Notify the sponsor when significant conditions relating to your project status change (e.g., change in key personnel or effort) through the Post-Award team.

  • Ensure that all permanent equipment purchased with grant funds is properly tagged by the university’s property management department and that all property disposition is processed in accordance with sponsor and university policies and procedures.

  • Review and certify time and effort reports related to your project by the deadlines established. Certify that the labor distributions are in direct proportion to the effort expended on the project.

  • Ensure that all mandatory and voluntary committed cost sharing is properly documented, processed and recorded per the university’s cost-sharing policies.

  • Financial transactions posted to your project must be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure the accuracy of expenses incurred, that expenditures conform to the project budget and costs are consistent with the project schedule and incurred within the project start and expiration dates. Identify erroneous expenses and work with your departmental finance/post-award administrator, Research Financial Services, and other university offices, such as the Office of Payroll Services, to ensure that any issues and errors are addressed and corrected in a timely basis.

  • Assist in the project’s financial closeout in accordance with Research Financial Services and sponsor guidelines.