NIH Grants Policy Statement
Revised October 2017. This document applies to all NIH grants and cooperative agreements for budget periods beginning on or after October 1, 2017.

9.3 Application Requirements

The decision to submit a multiple PD/PI application is that of the applicant organization and the PD/PIs, and should be consistent with the scientific goals of the project. A single applicant organization may designate multiple PD/PIs from the applicant organization or may designate multiple PD/PIs from multiple institutions. Multiple organizations may not submit the same multiple PD/PI application.

All PD/PIs must be qualified and have appropriate expertise to serve as a PD/PI and the appropriate level of authority and responsibility to direct the project or program as part of the leadership team. Each PD/PI must have a defined role on the project. There is no limit on the number of PD/PIs that may be designated, and no minimum person months requirement, except STTR applicants where each PD/PI must commit a minimum of 1.2 calendar months (10%) effort (see Grants to For-Profit Organizations-SBIR and STTR Programs-Multiple PD/PI Applications and Awards).

Contact PD/PI. The applicant organization must designate one of the PD/PIs as the Contact PD/PI to serve as a primary point of contact. The Contact PD/PI must be listed first on the application and must be associated with the applicant organization. The Contact PD/PI is responsible for communication between the PD/PIs and the NIH, but has no special authorities or responsibilities within the leadership team. Responsibilities of the Contact PD/PI may include communication between the leadership team and the NIH, assembly of the application materials, and coordination of progress reports. On complex projects the Contact PD/PI may request additional effort for coordination responsibilities if necessary.

eRA Commons Registration Required. All PD/PIs must have established eRA Commons accounts with a PI role prior to application submission. When multiple PD/PIs are at different organizations, all organizations must also be registered in the eRA Commons. If the contact PD/PI is at a different institution from the applicant organization, then the applicant organization must also affiliate the contact PD/PI with their institution. Beyond the contact PD/PI, it is not necessary for all other PD/PIs to be affiliated with the applicant organization.

Leadership Plan. All multiple PD/PI applications are required to include a Leadership Plan. The purpose of the Leadership Plan is to facilitate and enhance scientific productivity and establish a decision-making process. The Plan must describe a rationale for choosing the multiple PD/PI approach. The governance and organizational structure of the leadership team and the research project should be described, including communication plans, process for making decisions on scientific direction, and procedures for resolving conflicts. The roles and administrative, technical, and scientific responsibilities for the project or program should be delineated for the PD/PIs, including responsibilities for human subject studies or studies with vertebrate animals as appropriate.

New Investigators (Including Early Stage Investigators). Multiple PD/PI applications may designate senior and new investigators, including early stage investigators. However, the application will only be considered a new investigator application when all of the PD/PIs meet the NIH definition of new investigator, and will only be considered an early stage investigator application when all of the PD/PIs meet the NIH definition of early stage investigator. For the purposes of classification as a new investigator, serving as a PD/PI on a substantial independent PD/PI research award is equivalent to serving as a PD/PI on a substantial independent PD/PI research award. Thus, if a new investigator successfully competes as a PD/PI on a substantial independent multiple PD/PI grant, she or he no longer qualifies as a new (or early stage) investigator on a substantial independent single PD/PI application. However, if a new investigator is added as a PD/PI to an active substantial independent research award, the individual will retain his or her new investigator status.

Multi-Project Applications. Assuming the FOA for Multi-project applications (e.g., P01, P30) specifically allows multiple PD/PIs, applications may include multiple lead investigators for subprojects as well as multiple PD/PIs for the entire program. Do not confuse lead investigator(s) of a subproject or component of a multi-project application with multiple PD/PIs of the entire program. Lead investigator(s) of subprojects or components are not automatically considered to be PD/PIs of the entire application. When a lead investigator of a subproject or component is also a PD/PI of the entire program, that individual must specifically be designated as a PD/PI of the application.

Budgets. In general, multiple PD/PI applications will submit a single budget for the entire project. This applies to both modular and detailed budgets. When determining if a modular budget should be submitted, the $250,000 threshold is for the entire project, not per PD/PI. When multiple PD/PIs are at different institutions, the standard instructions for submitting consortium budgets apply. Applicants can choose to include budget allocation information for specific PD/PIs as part of the Leadership Plan. In the event of an award, the requested allocations may be reflected in a term in the NoA (see Leadership Plan above).

Renewal or Resubmission Applications. A renewal or resubmission application may change from a single PD/PI to multiple PD/PIs, or may change the number or makeup of the multiple PD/PIs, however, the applicant must provide a rationale for the change in the Introduction, and include the required Leadership Plan in the application. Likewise, a previously submitted multiple PD/PI application may change to a single PD/PI application in a renewal or resubmission; the applicant must provide a rationale for the change in the Introduction.

Competing Revision Applications. A competing revision application to an existing Multiple PD/PI grant must be submitted using the same Contact PD/PI as the parent grant, and may propose changes in the Leadership Plan or in the composition of the leadership (by adding or removing PD/PIs), and should provide a rationale for any such changes. A competitive revision to a single PD/PI grant may be submitted proposing multiple PD/PIs provided a Leadership Plan is also included.