Principal Investigator Roles and Responsibilities

Please contact your department research administrator if you have specific questions about your monthly expense report.

If you have any questions about the PI Dashboard or the monthly review certification process itself, please contact


Investigator Training

The university has put in place several required trainings, both online and in person, that are a part of the PI's responsibilities in conducting sponsored research at VCU. Some of these trainings are mandated at the federal level, while others are specific to sponsored research administration at the university.

Mandatory training for PI's and research administration staff
Human subjects research
Controlled substances in research
NIH Fellowship Submissions

Critical Administrative Compliance Areas

The following list is not meant to be exhaustive, but highlights some of the key areas administrators should manage and monitor to ensure compliant administration of sponsored awards. Educational institutions follow the principles described in the OMB Uniform Guidance, Cost Principles for Educational Institutions, as their guide for determining costs applicable to grants, contracts and other agreements. VCU also provides detailed guidance in the Post Award Financial Administration Policies for direct and indirect costs.

Determining if expenses are allowable, allocable and reasonable for a project
Direct charging of administrative costs
Effort reporting
Salary cap compliance
Cost transfers
Accelerated spending
Joint VA appointments and externally funded research

Finding Funding Opportunities

The Office of Research's Research Development website has a thorough guide to the process of finding funding opportunities for research, as well as a comprehensive listing of state, local, not-for-profit foundations and federal sources of funds.

Investigators should notify their departments when deciding to apply for an award.

Research Development website

Joint VA Appointments and Externally Funded Research

Requirements for faculty with joint VCU/VAMC Appointments and externally funded research

VCU Faculty who hold paid appointments at VCU and also have a paid appointment at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) are considered to be faculty holding a joint VCU/VAMC appointment. This relationship is quite common between academic medical centers and VAMCs.

The federal government requires that Faculty Investigators who hold joint university and VAMC appointments define their total professional responsibility between the two institutions by disclosing and documenting their time spent on research and other activities at both institutions no less than annually.  This disclosure is done through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) approved by appropriate individuals at both the university and VAMC.

The VCU School of Medicine has developed guidance and an MOU template to aid investigators and their department administration in ensuring the MOU is completed and approved no less than annually

SOM Guidance for Joint Appointment MOUs


Frequently Asked Questions

Why is an MOU required for faculty conducting research who holds a joint VCU/VAMC appointment?
What is the difference between total professional effort and university effort?
What is a VA "eighths" appointment?
Is VA salary included as part of total compensation when budgeting for VCU proposal submissions?
How do you determine if compensation exceeds the NIH Salary Cap when having a joint appointment with the VA?
Should a joint appointment be disclosed in an application for funding?
Should I include my VA-funded research in my Other Support pages?
When I certify my VCU effort reports do I have to report effort for my VAMC activities?

Human Subjects Research

Getting Started

In addition to the links below, be sure to browse through everything on VCU's Human Subjects Research Guide website geared specifically to investigators.

Investigators should also review the SOM Clinical Research Administration page for step-by-step information on performing clinical research in the School of Medicine.

Required training: CITI modules
Required training: Good Clinical Practice (GCP)
RAMS-IRB online system for submitting studies
Chart review studies and the different levels of IRB review
REDCap web application for online surveys and databases
CERNER access
Submitting a grant proposal for research funding
Additional questions - find your department research administrator