Administration of Multi-disciplinary Research Projects
Principal Investigator (PI) – This individual has been designated by the university and the sponsor as the responsible person for overall administrative, fiscal, scientific and technical direction, and conduct of a sponsored project within the terms and conditions of the award and in accordance with university and system rules and regulations. Where there are other PIs on the grant designated by the university and the sponsor, they are referred to as Co-PIs. In these cases the PI assumes the role of project leader or lead PI and is listed first on the proposal.
Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI) – This individual has been designated by the university and the sponsor as a Co-PI and shares the responsibilities for the sponsored project with the PI. In addition to responsibilities for the administrative, compliance, and scientific and technical direction of a sponsored project, the Co-PI has fiscal authority and may oversee the spending on a sponsored project in accordance with its terms and conditions.
Co-Investigator (Co-I) – As an investigator on a sponsored project, this individual is responsible for the conducting of research within the terms and conditions of the award and in accordance with university and system rules and regulations. Individuals serving in this role must be approved by the university through the normal administrative channels. Co-Is do not have fiscal authority by virtue of their title but can be given authority if delegated in writing by the PI.
Multi-disciplinary Accounts – These are separately budgeted sponsored projects/accounts that are multi-disciplinary in nature and on which there are investigators with fiscal authority from more than one department or administrative unit.
ADLOC or System Member Research Home – The administrative location designation provided in the payroll/personnel system that denotes the primary employer/department/administrative unit and most often determines the faculty member’s research home institution. The Texas A&M University ADLOC number is used for proposal approvals and defines the System member in whose name the grant will reside unless approved otherwise by the president of Texas A&M such as for Texas A&M faculty adloc’d to the College of Engineering, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. In these cases, the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) or AgriLife Research have been designated as the System member research home for the faculty member and for their grants being submitted through TEES or AgriLife.
- Work on a sponsored research project that will be used in external and internal evaluations requires that each PI and Co-PI and his or her department, center, and/or college receive the appropriate amount of credit for the work to be performed.
- Each PI should have access to the appropriate amount of fiscal authority to assure that costs are placed on the project in a timely manner and in accordance with the contract and regulations.
- This guideline applies to Texas A&M faculty that are adloc’d to Texas A&M and for which Texas A&M is designated as the System member research home. This excludes faculty adloc’d to the College of Engineering (TEES System member research home), College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (AgriLife System member research home), and School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (AgriLife System member research home).
- All sponsored research projects/accounts with Co-PIs from different departments/colleges must be established in separate accounts for the PI and Co-PIs in order to assign fiscal authority and responsibility and to ensure proper research expenditure credit and incentive return for PIs and Co-PIs and their participating departments, centers, colleges, and other administrative units.
- When the PIs and/or Co-PIs are adloc’d to the same department, fiscal authorities and split projects may be established to better reflect the PIs participation and to enhance his or her administration of their portion of the fiscal responsibility. The establishment of separate projects for Co-PIs within the same department is at the PI’s and department head’s discretion. Otherwise, departments will be responsible for coordinating the appropriate splits among their PIs and Co-PIs.
- Separate sponsored projects/accounts involving Co-Is for whom Texas A&M serves as the System member research home that have been delegated fiscal authority by the PI may be established in the Co-Is name and within the Co-I’s department/administrative unit to ensure proper credit. The establishment of a separate project for a Co-I is at the PI’s discretion.
- In cases where there are not subcontracts with Texas A&M and faculty for whom Texas A&M serves as the System member research home are submitting proposals through AgriLife, TEES or Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) as Co-PIs, Texas A&M departments and colleges will be responsible for assuring that proper credit is given to Texas A&M faculty and their respective departments and colleges for the grant to be administered by the non-Texas A&M System member prior to approving the activity for their respective faculty. If AgriLife, TEES, or TTI cannot establish support accounts denoting department and college, then a subcontract to Texas A&M can be authorized. Subcontracts will be routed and approved by Texas A&M and other System member research home.
- Multi-disciplinary accounts should be split at the proposal stage by the investigators in order for the split to be approved by all parties. If the budget is not split at the proposal stage, prior to project setup, the budgets must be split and re-routed for approvals.
- Account budgets will normally be divided among investigators based on the PI or Co-PI’s salary and fringes, graduate students, post-docs, estimated costs of travel, supplies, etc.
- For items not easily split such as equipment or subcontracts, these items would not typically be split among Co-PIs. However, the items would remain with the PI who maintains the responsibility of the overall administration of the project.
- All participation by faculty for whom Texas A&M serves as the System member research home on sponsored grants (budgeted or otherwise) requires the approval of a Texas A&M department head, a dean, and the VPR or designee. This includes faculty working on grants in which they may be serving as a consultant, collaborator, non-key personnel, or in any other non-PI, Co-PI or Co-I participation. Any exceptions to establishing multi-disciplinary accounts on sponsored projects will require the prior approval of all participating departments, deans and the VPR or designee.
Roles and Responsibilities for Establishing Fiscal Authorities and Split Budgets
- Principal Investigators have the responsibility for determining how the collaboration will work among all investigators and how the budget and fiscal authority will be allocated to accomplish the work. PIs will provide this information to their respective proposal administrator at the Texas A&M Sponsored Research Services (SRS). PIs will need to provide information as to the time of each person on the grant, their department, and split of travel and supplies.
- Department Heads/Center Directors/Deans have the responsibility for assessing the activities of their faculty and other researchers to ensure that their PI, department and/or college are getting the appropriate share of research expenditures. These data are used for internal and external evaluation of the faculty, departments, and colleges. Proposals should be reviewed to ensure the budget splits and fiscal authorities are appropriate. Additionally, split budgets ensure that the projects are administered properly and that payroll and other departmental functions are timely.
- The VPR’s responsibilities include making sure that the approval process is in place and that all information is provided so that the department heads and deans can make decisions as to faculty participation. Additionally, the VPR or designee is responsible for providing and reconciling research data by the PI, department, and colleges for internal and external surveys and evaluations.
NOTE: This guideline does not alter the current authorities established by the president of Texas A&M to the deans of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (COALS), the College of Engineering (ENGR), and the School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (Vet Medicine). As provided in those approvals, the deans of these colleges can direct the grantee organization for Texas A&M faculty in their respective colleges. Additionally, these agreements provide that when there are multi-disciplinary grants, the grants may be administered by the grantee organization associated with the lead PI. However, no matter where administered, approvals from other departments and colleges must be obtained for faculty from non-COALS, non-ENGR, and non-Vet Medicine colleges. For Texas A&M faculty adloc’d to College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, College of Engineering, and School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences with grants going through AgriLife or TEES, no other Texas A&M signatures are required. For Texas A&M faculty adloc’d to other colleges but going through AgriLife or TEES, the department head, dean, and the VPR approvals will still be required.
Karan Watkins, Director
Division of Research
Texas A&M University
Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building
College Station, TX 77843-1260