Deputy Director & Vice President for Research

Proposals: Eligibility to Serve as Principal Investigator

Who May be a Principal Investigator at WHOI?

All Principal Investigators and Co-Principal Investigators must have an official appointment at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

All Scientific Staff, Senior Technical Staff, Directors of administrative units, and the President/Director and Vice Presidents of the Institution may be Principal Investigators.

Postdoctoral Scholars or Fellows: proposals for scholarships

A Postdoctoral Scholar (PDS), or Postdoctoral Fellow (PDF) can be a sole or Primary (A1) PI only on proposals specifically for scholarship and if the agency/organization requires the PDS or PDF (PDS/F) to be the PI. A PDS/F can continue in his/her position following an award of this nature and use the new scholarship funds to extend the length of his/her appointment up to the Institutional limit.

Postdoctoral Scholars or Fellows: proposal start date AFTER the end of the PDS/F appointment

A PDS or PDF (PDS/F) can be listed as a co-PI on a submitted proposal if the start date of the grant or contract is after the end date of the PDS/F appointment, at which time the PDS/F must be hired as a Postdoctoral Investigator (PDI), or another WHOI employment position, before charging salary to the awarded project and/or having any grant management responsibilities (e.g. responsibility for the design, conduct or reporting of the project or acting as a contact person for the funding agency/organization). In the proposal, the future position should be clearly identified, with PDI as the default if another position (e.g., Assistant Scientist) has not been approved at the time of submission.

Postdoctoral Scholars or Fellows: proposal start date PRIOR TO the end of the PDS/F appointment

For a proposal that will have a start date prior to the end of the PDS/F appointment there are two options.

NOTE: Option 2 requires discussion with and approval from both the Dean and the Chair of the relevant department to ensure use of approved language within the budget justification.

Option 1: The PDS/F can be named within the budget justification, but not as a co-PI, and must not charge salary to the awarded project before the end of the PDS/F appointment;

Option 2: If the PDS/F can justify a benefit as a co-PI on a proposal that must have a start date prior to the end of the PDS/F appointment (e.g., for a multi-year proposal where the timing of the start date is not within the control of the PDS/F), then the PDS/F could be listed as a co-PI as long as the following conditions are clearly stated within the budget justification:

 a) the PDS/PDF will, up until the end of his/her PDS/F appointment, only be involved in research associated with his/her scholarship activities and will continue his/her education and training under his/her postdoctoral mentor;

 b) after the conclusion of the PDS/F appointment, the PDS/F will be hired as a PDI, or another WHOI employment position, and transition to being a co-PI, before taking on grant management responsibilities (e.g. responsibility for the design, conduct or reporting of the project or act as a contact person for the funding agency/organization), and/or charging salary to the project.

Joint Program Graduate Student Fellows

A Joint Program (JP) graduate student can be a sole or Primary (A1) PI only on proposals specifically for scholarship, and/or for travel or equipment or research support specifically for a graduate student, and only if the agency/organization requires the student to be the PI.

A post-generals JP student can be a co-PI, with a member of the WHOI scientific staff serving as the PI, on a research proposal, if it requests stipend and tuition funding as a Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) or postdoctoral funding as a PDI.  If the proposal is successful, the student’s stipend and share of the tuition must be charged to the grant as a GRA while doing research supported by that award. 

If the grant funds are not adequate to complete the proposed research, a student can use fellowship funding to complete the research but when so doing cannot take on any of the PI or co-PI responsibilities including acting as contact person for the funding agency/organization.

A JP student cannot be a co-PI on a proposal that does not include a request for salary support (stipend and tuition, or postdoc salary). This is because, without salary support in the grant, the student would be supported by a fellowship, and thus would not be able to take on any of the co-PI responsibilities including acting as contact person for the funding agency/organization.

Visiting Scholars and Guest Investigators

Institution Visiting Scholars and Guest Investigators may not be the Primary or Sole Principal Investigator. They may be a Co-Principal Investigator with a WHOI Primary Principal Investigator, provided that the WHOI PI will be responsible for the completion of the proposed work and will receive salary support for his/her efforts.

Others with an Official Appointment

Any other person with an official appointment (e.g., including Scientist Emeritus, Oceanographer Emeritus) must have permission from his/her Department Chair or Center Director to be a Principal Investigator. The Chair's decision will be based on the person's ability to complete the proposed research or provide the proposed services without supervision or mentoring.

Department Approval

Those persons who do not have approval as defined above, must get permission from the Department Chair or Center Director to be a PI or Co-PI. This approval is demonstrated by the Department Chair's electronic approval on the Research Proposal Summary (Green Sheet). The Department may provide Grant & Contract Services with an annual list of PIs that are approved by the Chair.

Definitions

Graduate Student

 

A student enrolled in the MIT/WHOI Joint Program.

Postdoctoral Fellow [PDF]

Postdoctoral Fellows are supported by Institution scholarship funds, or have been competitively awarded national or international postdoctoral fellowships. In the latter category they will be appointed "(official name of award) - Postdoctoral Fellow at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution". Postdoctoral Fellows undertake independent research in collaboration with their advisor(s). Postdoctoral Fellows are not employees of the Institution.

Postdoctoral Investigator [PDI]

Postdoctoral Investigators conduct research and studies in areas directly relevant to existing grants or contracts. A Postdoctoral Investigator is a regular, full-time employee and the initial appointment is for at least one full year. Temporary Postdoctoral Investigators may be appointed for a period of time less than one year.

Postdoctoral Scholar [PDS]

Postdoctoral Scholars are awarded Institution scholarship funds for independent research projects in collaboration with their advisor(s) for initial periods of one to two years.  Postdoctoral Scholars are not employees of the Institution.

Primary PI

The Primary PI is the first Co-principal investigator listed on a proposal and is most often identified by the funding agency as the first person to address regarding the results of the award.  In the NSF designation, the Primary PI is A1.  This designation is also used in the WHOI proposal preparation program (WHOIgrants).

Scientific Staff

Scientific Staff consists of those employees of the Institution holding appointments as Senior Scientist, Associate Scientist, or Assistant Scientist.

Senior Technical Staff

Those employees that have an appointment in one of the following positions:

  • Senior Research Specialist
  • Principal Engineer
  • Senior Information Systems Specialist
  • Research Specialist
  • Senior Engineer
  • Information Systems Specialist

Sole PI

When there is only one Principal Investigator with no Co-PIs on a grant or contract.  The sole PI is completely responsible to see that the research or services proposed are completed within the timeframe of the award.

Conflict of Interest

All Principal Investigators and Co-Principal Investigators must have submitted their yearly Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form before a proposal will be submitted to a funding agency. All PIs are required to have up-to-date Training. The statement referring to COI disclosure is on the Research Proposal Summary (Green Sheet) and cannot be signed by anyone except the person named as PI or Co-PI.

Researchers who are funded by a Public Health Service Agency (PHS), such as NIH, must have a completed the yearly Financial Conflict of Interest form (for PHS).

Last updated: January 16, 2018