The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a $2 billion non-profit corporation. The Institute’s revenue includes tuition and gifts, as well as a significant amount of funding from external research sponsors, including the federal government, industrial sponsors and foundations. The research enterprise can be characterized by a “cradle to grave” process. This process begins with a concept or idea that is turned into a proposal, followed by an award, the performance of the project, and several other steps that ultimately lead to the closeout process. Understanding the entire process will help you to become a more effective research administrator.
The Principal Investigator (PI) has overall responsibility for the technical and fiscal management of a sponsored project, including the management of the project within funding limitations, and assuring that the sponsor will be notified when significant conditions related to the project status change. While responsibility for the day to day management of project finances may be delegated to administrative or other staff, accountability for compliance with MIT policy and sponsor requirements ultimately rests with the PI.