University of Vermont

Sponsored Project Administration - SPA

SPA A-to-Z topics | 217 Waterman Building . 85 South Prospect Street . Burlington, Vermont 05405 . (802) 656-3360

Roles and Responsibilities

Principal Investigator

Please see the definition of key terms, such as manage, monitor, etc.

Serving in the role of Principal Investigator on a sponsored project is a privilege that carries both significant benefits and responsibilities. The Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) is defined as the individual(s) judged by the applicant organization to have the appropriate level of authority and responsibility to direct the project or program supported by the grant.

To qualify as a Principal Investigator, an individual must personally participate to a significant intellectual degree in the sponsored project. The Principal Investigator, typically the author of a proposal for a specific scope of work, bears primary responsibility for all essential aspects of the work being carried out, including a project's technical or programmatic requirements, compliance with applicable policies and regulations, and administrative tasks. Please visit the PI eligibility section of the SPA website for additional information.

Although the University is the legal recipient of sponsored project funds, it is the Principal Investigator who initiates the application and assumes the responsibility for overall project management. While the Principal Investigator retains primary responsibility for financial accountability, the Principal Investigator may delegate financial tasks to a business unit administrator or other authorized personnel. In any event, project budgets must be managed by persons trained in these responsibilities.  Principal Investigator responsibilities are outlined below.

Programmatic responsibilities
  • Diligently pursues project aims, as described in the application
  • Manages project personnel
  • Monitors sub-recipient performance
  • Maintains and retains project data and materials as required
  • Completes progress and other required reports
  • Initiates timely requests for prior approval for changes when required (e.g. change in scope of work, rebudgeting, or reduction in committed effort)
  • Requests no-cost extensions when appropriate
Compliance responsibilities
  • Satisfies regulatory research requirements (i.e., use of human subjects, animals, laboratory safety, etc.)
  • Ensures accurate and timely effort reporting for project personnel
  • Discloses conflicts of interest when required
  • Ensures scientific integrity of project
  • Discloses project inventions and complies with University intellectual property policy
Administrative / Fiscal responsibilities
  • Develops sponsored project proposals in compliance with sponsor guidelines and University policy
  • Initiates the routing and obtains appropriate approvals prior to proposal submission
  • Submits proposals to sponsors
  • Assists with negotiation of award terms as needed
  • Initiates advance account request when appropriate
  • Monitors project's financial status
  • Manages project within budget limits
  • Approves expenditures
  • Assures that expenses incurred are allowable, reasonable, and allocable to the project to which they are charged
  • Seeks prior approval for budget changes when required
  • Approves sub-recipient agreements and related invoices
  • Ensures that cost-share requirements are met
  • Reviews final financial statements
  • Assists with accounts receivable collections as needed

Last modified June 25 2014 10:52 AM

Contact UVM © 2014 The University of Vermont - Burlington, VT 05405 - (802) 656-3131