Principal Investigators (“PIs”) have primary responsibility for achieving the technical success of sponsored projects, while also complying with the financial and administrative policies and regulations associated with the sponsored project agreement (the “Award”). Although PIs may have administrative staff to assist them with the management of Award funds, the ultimate responsibility for the management of sponsored projects rests with PIs. The fundamental responsibilities of PIs during the post-award phase of sponsored projects include, but are not limited to:
- Execute the project as outlined in the Award using sound management techniques;
- Carry out the project’s financial plan as presented in the Award, or make changes to the plan following a prescribed set of policies and procedures;
- Report project progress to the sponsor as outlined in the terms of Award (see, e.g., Technical/Programmatic Reporting Guidance; National Science Foundation Technical Reporting Guidelines);
- Maintain accurate records of project-related expenses;
- Comply with all Boise State University (“University”) policies and procedures related to project management and personnel practices; and
- Comply with all applicable sponsor rules, regulations and/or terms and conditions of the Award; and
- Fulfill the PIs’ obligations set forth in the Principal Investigator Award Certifications and Assurances.
PIs’ responsibilities may be divided into two related but distinctly different sets of activities: (i) management of the Award Scope of Work (“SOW”); and (ii) responsible spending of Award funds. While the SOW should drive financial activities, sound management practices in both arenas are required. The financial stewardship of Award funds is a shared responsibility between PIs, the PIs’ college/departmental administrators and the Office of Sponsored Programs (“OSP”).
Once a project has been funded, there is the expectation by both the sponsor and OSP that PIs responsibly spend Award funds. Sound fiscal management of Award funds requires knowledge of, and adherence to, a prescribed set of federal and locally developed financial guidelines (see, e.g., Basics of Charging Costs to Sponsored Projects). Over the life of an Award, PIs may initiate changes to a project that impact the management of awarded funds. PIs must have a good understanding of the procedures associated with initiating financial transactions or changes to an Award’s financial plan.
OSP is committed to assisting PIs’ fulfillment of these responsibilities. In addition to offering workshops and training sessions, OSP has prepared (and will continue to prepare) forms, policies, procedures and training materials aimed at acquainting PIs and their college/departmental administrators with information that will positively affect sponsored project management.