authorized organization representative, program director, principal investigator, PD/PI, research administrator
Overall responsibility for successfully implementing an NIH grant is a shared responsibility of the PD/PI(s), the AOR, and the Research Administrator. As key members of the grant team, they respectively lead the scientific and administrative aspects of the grant. While communications can be conducted with Research Administrators and other institutional staff, NIH staff members conduct official business only with the designated PD/PI(s) and AORs. The roles and responsibilities of recipient participants are as follows:
- Authorized Organization Representative The individual, named by the applicant organization, who is authorized to act for the applicant and to assume the obligations imposed by the Federal laws, regulations, requirements, and conditions that apply to grant applications or grant awards. This individual is equivalent to the signing official in the eRA Commons, i.e., holds the SO Role.. The AOR is the designated representative of the recipient organization in matters related to the award and administration of its NIH grants, including those that require NIH approval. The AOR should ascertain and assure that the materials the applicant organization are submitting on behalf of the PD/PI are the original work of the PD/PI and have not been used by other individuals in the preparation and submission of a similar grant application. In signing a grant application, this individual certifies that the applicant organization will comply with all applicable assurances and certifications referenced in the application. This individual's signature on the grant application further certifies that the applicant organization will be accountable both for the appropriate use of funds awarded and for the performance of the grant-supported project or activities resulting from the application. (Also see Legal Implications of Applications.) This individual also is responsible to NIH for ensuring that the organization complies with applicable Federal laws and regulations, including required certifications and assurances, its application, and the terms and conditions of individual awards. For applications submitted electronically through Grants.gov, the signature of the AOR is documented as part of the electronic submission process and is authenticated through the Grants.gov registration process. In the eRA Commons, this individual holds the Signing Official role. Although NIH requires that the recipient organization designate such an official, NIH does not specify the organizational location or full set of responsibilities for this official.
- Program Director/Principal Investigator The individual(s) designated by the applicant organization/recipient to have the appropriate level of authority and responsibility to direct the project or program to be supported by the award. The applicant organization may designate multiple individuals as program directors/principal investigators (PD/PIs) who share the authority and responsibility for leading and directing the project, intellectually and logistically. When multiple PD/PIs are named, each is responsible and accountable to the official(s) at the applicant organization/recipient, or as appropriate, to a collaborating organization for the proper conduct of the project, program, or activity including the submission of all required reports. The presence of more than one PD/PI on an application or award diminishes neither the responsibility nor the accountability of any individual PD/PI.. A PD/PI is an individual designated by the applicant organization to have the appropriate level of authority and responsibility to direct the project or program supported by the award. The applicant organization may designate multiple individuals as PD/PIs who share the authority and responsibility for leading and directing the project, intellectually and logistically. Each PD/PI is responsible and accountable to the recipient organization or, as appropriate, to a collaborating organization, for the proper conduct of the project or program, including the submission of all required reports. The presence of more than one identified PD/PI on an application diminishes neither the responsibility nor the accountability of any individual PD/PI.
When a single PD/PI is designated, that individual is not required to be an employee of the applicant organization. However, because the grant, if awarded, is made to the organization, the applicant organization must have a formal written agreement with the PD/PI that specifies an official relationship between the parties even if the relationship does not involve a salary or other form of remuneration. If the PD/PI is not an employee of the applicant organization, NIH will assess whether the arrangement will result in the organization being able to fulfill its responsibilities under the grant, if awarded.
When multiple PD/PIs are designated, NIH requires identification of one PD/PI who will be designated as the Contact PD/PI. This person is responsible for communication between the PD/PIs and NIH. Serving as Contact PD/PI confers no special authorities or responsibilities within the project team. The Contact PD/PI must meet all eligibility requirements for PD/PI status. They are not required to be an employee of the applicant organization. However, as with the single PD/PI model, if the Contact PD/PI is not an employee, the applicant organization must have a formal written agreement with the Contact PD/PI that specifies an official relationship between the parties. This same principle applies to all PD/PIs at the applicant organization; e.g., they need not be employees; however the applicant organization must have a formal written agreement in place.
When multiple PD/PIs are involved at different organizations, only the Contact PD/PI is required to have the official relationship with the applicant organization. PD/PIs in the leadership team at other organizations must have a documented relationship with a consortium organization, but need not be employees. Any consortium agreement A formalized agreement whereby a research project is carried out by the recipient and one or more other organizations that are separate legal entities. Under the agreement, the recipient must perform a substantive role in the conduct of the planned research and not merely serve as a conduit of funds to another party or parties. These agreements typically involve a specific level of effort from the consortium organization's PD/PI and a categorical breakdown of costs, such as personnel, supplies, and other allowable expenses, including F&A costs. The relationship between the recipient and the collaborating organizations is considered a subaward relationship. (See Consortium Agreements chapter in IIB). must address the unique aspects to these individuals holding the PD/PI role.
PD/PIs are members of the recipient team responsible for ensuring compliance with the financial and administrative aspects of the award. They work closely with designated officials within the recipient organization to create and maintain necessary documentation, including both technical and administrative reports; prepare justifications; appropriately acknowledge Federal support of research findings in publications, announcements, news programs, and other media; and ensure compliance with other Federal and organizational requirements. NIH encourages PD/PIs to maintain contact with the NIH PO with respect to the scientific aspects of the project and the GMO/GMS concerning the business and administrative aspects of the award. The NIH staff contacts list includes contact information for NIH grants management and program staff at each IC The NIH organizational component responsible for a particular grant program or set of activities. The terms "NIH IC," or "awarding IC" are used throughout this document to designate a point of contact for advice and interpretation of grant requirements and to establish the focal point for requesting necessary prior approvals or changes in the terms and conditions of award..
- Research Administrator. The Research Administrator acts as a local agent of the AOR and/or PD/PIs providing day-to-day grant-related support. Depending on the structure of the organization, this individual can be located centrally or within an organizational component such as a Department.