PI Absence from Project

Sponsors typically expect that PIs are engaged in conducting and overseeing research projects and personnel at MIT facilities. When PIs are away from these facilities or absent from a project for a period of time, the sponsor needs to know of and approve the absence and any plan to address it.

Notify RAS

DLCIs and/or PIs are responsible for informing RAS as soon as possible when a PI is planning to be away from campus. Most sponsors require that the information be provided before the absence begins or as soon as practical after it is known. RAS will help interpret the sponsor’s requirements and coordinate the steps required by that sponsor.

Request Sponsor Approval

Both federal and non-federal agreements require that MIT RAS inform the sponsor and seek approval when the PI will be away from campus:

  • Federal sponsors generally require prior approval for absences of three months or more.
  • Non-federal sponsors do not typically call out a specific period of time. Check for sponsor and agreement-specific terms and review a plan as to how the work will proceed during the absence with your RAS CA. 

Oversight of Projects While on Leave

For temporary absences where the PI wishes to continue to oversee the project (off campus sabbatical, FMLA, etc.), a request should be submitted to the program officer, seeking approval for the PI to remain on the project despite the absence and describing how the PI will remain engaged in the project. Such requests must originate with the PI and be endorsed and submitted by your RAS representative on behalf of the Institute’s Authorized Representative.

Professional or Personal Leave of Absence (LOA)

When a faculty member takes professional or personal leave of absence, sponsors must be notified and MIT RAS must ask permission from the sponsor for what is typically an interim Institute PI. To learn about the differences between professional and personal leave and other types of leave, such as sabbatical, review Policies & Procedures 7.5.

Appointing a Substitute PI

Where the PI wishes to appoint a substitute PI, the current PI should write a letter for RAS to submit to the sponsor seeking approval for a substitute PI. The letter should include information about the new PI’s background, qualifications, available facilities, and ability to manage the project through the anticipated end date. The letter should be co-signed by the current PI, the proposed new PI, and the department head before sending the letter to RAS for endorsement and submission to the sponsor.

Updated March 25, 2024