Chief Investigator responsibilities

A Chief Investigator (CI), sometimes also referred to as a Principal Investigator, is responsible for the intellectual, administrative and ethical aspects of a research project.  They have overall responsibility for the project from its conception through to its finalisation, including the communication of any project outcomes.

Where research is conducted collaboratively and involves a number of co-investigators at one or more institutions, the ‘first-named’ or ‘lead’ chief investigator is designated as the key contact and the manager of the research project.

Key responsibilities – First named Chief Investigator

The first-named CI has overall responsibility for the management of the research project, including:

  1. Being the key administrative contact person for the project.
  2. Ensuring that all investigators, research associates/assistants and students on the project are fully informed of relevant University policy and administrative procedures associated with the project, including intellectual property and confidentiality provisions.
  3. Ensuring that all project participants (investigators, research associates/assistants and students) on the project are fully informed of the granting body’s conditions of award as they relate to the participants.
  4. Obtaining any ethical and other clearances that are required and ensuring that the project is carried out in accordance with approved protocols and conditions of approval.
  5. Effective risk assessment and management, including environmental and occupational health and safety.
  6. Compliance with codes of good practice in research, and in particular the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.
  7. Informing the Research Grants and Business Development team within the ORI of any changes/variations to the project.
  8. Effective financial management of the project, including ensuring that:
    • Project funds are spent:
      • In accordance with the funding body’s conditions of award
      • To achieve the project’s objectives
      • In accordance with University policy
      • Within the award period.
    • Expenditure does not exceed available funds
    • Invoices are raised in a timely manner where external partners are contributing funds to the project (in conjunction with the Post Award Officer in ORI)
    • Consultants and subcontractors are engaged in line with the University’s procurement procedures and using the University’s agreement templates.

Key responsibilities – other project Chief Investigators

The Chief Investigators, led by the first-named CI, must also ensure that:

  1. Steady progress is made to achieve the project’s stated objectives and outcomes.
  2. Any project milestones in the funding agreement are met.
  3. Progress and final reports are submitted on time, in the format required.

Sharing the responsibility for the effective and efficient conduct of the project, including ensuring that the project is carried out in accordance with the conditions of award and University policy.