Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Consultant or Co-Investigator? How do I choose?

It can sometimes be difficult to determine whether an individual should be budgeted as a Consultant or Co-Investigator on a project. There are several factors to consider when making this decision.

  1. Will this person be essential to carrying out the scientific duties of the project? Will he/she bear some responsibility for it's progress? Or will he/she simply be advising on one aspect of the project?
  2. What type of time commitment is the individual willing to devote to the project?
  3. Is the individual employed by another institution, or your own? If located at another institution, will your budget allow room for a subcontract, including any indirect costs?
  4. If the person is located at your institution, will they be willing to devote measurable effort to the project? (NOTE: In most cases consultants are not able to be hired from one's own institution. Many universities, etc., do not allow this. In this case, if you want to budget someone from your own institution, he/she must be included in your personnel list, not budgeted as a consultant. )

1 comment:

  1. Can NIH Intramural PIs serve on a NIH funded grant as co-Investigators ?

    There are blurred interpretations of the terminology and responsibilities of 1) collaborator vs. 2) co-investigators (co-I) vs 3) consultants.
    What responsibility comes with each of these 3 roles?
    NIH Intramural Pis (NIH I-PIs) are prohibited from receiving money from the grant and from being responsible for any specific aim. However, In the Academic world, the use of the word co-I has a great deal of responsibility where as a collaborator is offering advice, data, resources, analysis much like a consultant; only difference is NIH I-PIs are already funded through NIH budget. so no budget is allocated for their participation on the grant nor should it be...ethically.

    More importantly, could the wrong application of these 3 words affect the grant process?