The Principal Investigator is ultimately responsible for assuring compliance with applicable university IACUC policies and procedures, the Animal Welfare Act, the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, the National Institute of Health, the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, and/or the Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Research and Teaching. Although the PI may delegate tasks to members of his/her research team, s/he retains the ultimate responsibility for the conduct of the study.
Who may serve as a principal investigator
All animal research that is conducted by or under the direction of any employee, faculty, staff, student or agent of SFA in connection with his or her responsibilities must be under the direct supervision of a member of the SFA faculty. Since PI responsibilities involve direct interaction and supervision of the research team, the PI must be a current faculty or staff of the university and/or a person who is operating within their university. PIs leaving the institution are responsible for notifying the IACUC well in advance of their departure so that they can arrange to either close the study or name another qualified individual currently at the institution to serve as the PI.
The following individuals may serve as PI:
- Faculty members: All categories of compensated faculty members may serve as PI. Visiting faculty, adjunct faculty, lecturers, and instructors, are not permitted to serve as a PI but may serve as co-investigators.
- Staff: Staff may serve in this role if they have appropriate qualifications to conduct the research.
Given the responsibilities of PIs, SFA students may not serve as principal investigators for their own research projects and cannot submit an IACUC application. At its discretion, the IACUC may determine that a faculty member lacks sufficient expertise to carry out any particular research project based on their relevant training and experience.
Co-investigators and research staff
Qualified co-investigators and research staff may perform tasks as delegated by the Principal Investigator but they do not accept primary responsibility for the research study. Research conducted by non-faculty, academic support staff, post-doctoral fellows, staff appointments, graduate students or undergraduate students must be under the direction of a faculty member, as defined above. In such cases, the faculty member shall be considered the Principal Investigator. The PI may delegate the performance of any or all components of the research to non-faculty if they certify to the IACUC that the individuals are sufficiently trained to perform the functions assigned.