Managing a Research Project

Principal investigator responsibilities

The principal investigator has primary responsibility for achieving the technical success of the project while complying with financial and administrative policies and regulations. Western Michigan University Restricted Fund Accountants are available to assist with many post-award functions such as policies and procedures for rebudgeting, obtaining prior approvals, and no-cost time extensions. 

PI’s project administration responsibilities

  • Overall management of the budget.
    • Understanding the sponsor’s general policies and specific terms and conditions covering the agreement.
    • Authorizing only those expenditures which are reasonable and necessary to accomplish the project goals and are consistent with the sponsor’s terms and conditions.
    • Spending no more than the amount authorized by the sponsor for the project period.
    • Adhering to sponsor limitations on the amount of money that may be spent in any single budget category.
    • Incurring costs only for goods or services that will be used or received during the project period.
    • Charging project costs directly to the appropriate project account.
    • Avoiding cost transfers because they are highly suspect during an audit.
    • Documenting cost share commitment.
  • Hiring and payroll actions.
  • Complying with purchasing regulations.
  • Following travel authorization and expenditure procedures.
  • Timely submission of sponsor-required reports.
  • Complying with facilities and administrative cost, intellectual property, property management, and project extension and termination policies.
  • Ethical conduct of research and creative activity.