Quick Guide for PIs

Published June 12, 2024

This guide offers a straightforward entry into the topics in research administration that are most relevant to a new principal investigator (PI), with links to more detailed content and resources. At MIT, PIs are central to the definition, conduct and reporting of research. The PI is ultimately responsible for all aspects of sponsored research, including compliance with Institute and sponsor policies. That said, dedicated support is always available at ra-help@mit.edu.

  • Research Administration Services (RAS)

    Research Administration Services (RAS) supports PIs and administrators throughout the lifecycle of the award, including proposal development and submission, negotiating and accepting awards, set up and management of projects, reporting and close-out. 

    RAS is organized to provide department-specific support for all MIT departments, labs, centers and institutes (DLCIs). Within RAS, liaisons maintain a focus and special expertise in policy and procedure for particular sponsors. Use the RAS Staff Directory to find contacts by department or by sponsor.

    Research Administration Systems and Support

    This team of knowledgeable research administration specialists provide guidance in all aspects of sponsored administration including support in preparing and submitting proposals, budgeting, post award, and compliance and the KC, COUHES and CAC Connect systems. Email ra-help@mit.edu with your questions. 

    Research Development

    Research Development assists PIs with finding funding and proposal development.

    Research Compliance

    Research Compliance ensures that PIs comply with federal and Institute policies on foreign engagement, export controls, conflicts of interest, research integrity and research security, including cybersecurity.

    Office of Strategic Alliances and Technology Transfer

    Office of Strategic Alliances and Technology Transfer (OSATT) facilitates collaborations between industry and MIT through three offices: 

    • OSATT Core: Primary point of contact for faculty to develop and launch industry research collaborations. 
    • Corporate Relations: Initiates, facilitates, and advances relationships between corporations and the Institute.  
    • Technology Licensing Office: Licenses MIT-produced technology to industry after PIs make required disclosures. 

    Office of the Vice President for Finance (VPF)

    Office of the Vice President for Finance (VPF) processes financial transactions, including those in sponsored research. 

    • Research@MIT app: Used by PIs and their administrative teams to view available funds for awards, see the status of submitted proposals, and submit innovation disclosures to the Technology Licensing Office. 
    • MIT Kuali Coeus: Used to prepare and route proposals for approval, as well as manage awards. 
    • Additional Tools and Systems to Know: Access and get help with additional systems used in research administration and compliance.
  • RAS Proposal Deadline

    Proposals are due to RAS five business days prior to the sponsor's deadline to allow complete review and approval prior to Institute endorsement and submission on behalf of faculty. Use the Five-Day Calculator to determine the RAS deadline for your proposal.

    PI Status and Proposal Certification

    PI status is required for:

    • Lead PIs submitting sponsored projects in MIT’s name 
    • Investigators with independent responsibility for the design, conduct or reporting of research

    Some appointments carry PI status automatically.

    Both lead and other Investigators must certify in KC any proposal in which they participate.

    Proposal Development

    Research Development works with PIs to develop effective proposals. PIs can use proposal development resources on specific topics:

    Under-recovery of Facilities & Administrative Costs

    If your proposed research will incur under-recovery – when a research sponsor does not fully reimburse MIT for the facilities & administrative (F&A) costs of research – discuss under-recovery funding with your DLCI administrator. If the research sponsor is non-federal and non-industry, central funding is available to assist with under-recovery.
    If you have a non-research, non-federal sponsored project, the fund rates set by the Provost's Office apply. Typically, local units are expected to cover any under-recovery for non-research sponsored projects. 

    Proposal Preparation, Submission, and Approval