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Principal Investigator Responsibilities

Principal Investigators (PIs) are ultimately responsible for all aspects of their sponsored projects, including scholarly activity and proper stewardship of awards. This guide addresses a number of key PI responsibilities for oversight and management of sponsored projects.

Proposal Development and Submission

The PI should:

  • Work with the department’s business manager to develop proposals with sufficient time for review and approval.
  • Meet departmental, University and sponsor due dates.
  • Determine that the level of effort required for a proposed project can be met relative to other effort commitments.
  • Recognize that the PI’s signature on submitted proposal documents demonstrates that the PI will accept responsibility for project performance and reports if the award is made.
  • Disclose any conflict of interest and pursue review and management of the COI.

    For more information on services provided by the Office of the Vice President for Research Administration see

Award Documentation

The PI should:

  • Recognize that the PI shares responsibility with the department’s administrative staff for ongoing administrative management of sponsored projects.
  • Review the award terms and conditions to confirm project deliverables and reports as well as any restrictions on expenditures or project changes.
  • Identify significant dates and activities, such as report due dates, timeline for completion of milestones, and requirements for award renewal.
  • Not sign an award or agreement except where PI acknowledgment is required. ORA officials will sign as authorized officials for the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

Project Management

The PI should:

  • Oversee conduct of the project, including work of collaborators and subrecipients.
  • Ensure that project staff have training and certification required by the university, Federal or State regulation, or by the sponsor.
  • Seek and maintain approvals for human subjects, animal use, pathogens, select agents, rDNA or other research requiring committee and/or other approvals.
  • Maintain program-related records.
  • Submit all required program reports.
  • Prepare and submit results for publication.

Report inventions to the Office of Technology Development.

Account Management

The PI should:

  • Coordinate with the Department’s business manager to ensure that personnel and other expenditure records are maintained.
  • Determine that any expenditure charged to an award, whether for personnel, supplies, equipment, travel, or other types of expenses, is allocable to the project as well as allowable and reasonable.
  • Certify time and effort reports quarterly.
  • Monitor effort commitments to ensure that the PI and key personnel are meeting the effort commitments agreed to when the award was accepted, and update effort distribution as changes become known.
  • Review award expenditures monthly to ensure that expenditures are correct and appropriate.
  • Review and approve subrecipient agreement requests.
  • Review and approve subrecipient invoices for payment.
  • Review and approve other project changes, some of which may require sponsor approval (such as a change to the scope of work, or significant change in a PI’s effort on the project).

Award Closeout

90 days before the project ends, the PI should:

  • Review the project’s financial status with the Department’s business manager.
  • Assure that subrecipients have submitted or will submit all required deliverables, reports and invoices.
  • Plan for updates and changes to payroll, transitioning either to a renewal period or to award expiration.
  • Submit an advance spending account request (ECAV) for a renewal or continuation period when appropriate.
  • Request a no-cost extension when allowable and appropriate.

When a project expires or is terminated, the PI should:

  • Meet sponsor’s deadline(s) for final reports.
  • Submit any required final project report.
  • Submit any required final invention report.
  • Review the final financial report.
  • Close out IRB and IACUC protocols.
  • Retain the project records for as long as they are useful, but for a minimum of 5 years after submission of the final report (if any) or award termination, whichever is later.