Sponsored Projects Administration


In 2005, the NIH implemented the multiple Program Director/Principal Investigator (multiple PD/PI) mechanism as an opportunity for multidisciplinary efforts and collaboration through a team of scientists under a single grant award. All PD/PIs share equally the authority and responsibility for leading and directing the project, intellectually and logistically. Each PD/PI is responsible and accountable to the applicant organization, or as appropriate, to a collaborating organization, for the proper conduct of the project or program, including the submission of all required reports.


Applications that involve more than one PI must include a Leadership Plan that describes the roles, responsibilities, and working relationship of the identified PIs. The Leadership Plan should include the following:

  • Lead PI designation.
  • Role of lead PI and other named PIs with definition of responsibilities/duties. The Contact PI is the first PI listed.
  • Description of governance and organizational structure of the leadership team and research project, including communication plans, process for making decisions on scientific direction, and procedures for resolving conflicts.
  • Delineated roles and administrative, technical, and scientific responsibilities for the project or program for the PIs and other collaborators.
  • Process for making decisions on scientific direction and allocating resources and resolving disputes.
  • Fiscal roles and management.
  • Data sharing issues.

The NIH provides this example of a Leadership Plan.


UTHealth has created a Multi PI Leadership Plan Template to expedite the review of a Leadership Plan. The Leadership Plan will be included in the A&F review packet that is sent to Pre-Award, and it will be reviewed during the grant submission process. SPA will route the Leadership Plan to EVPARA if any language is found to be outside the scope of standard research at UTHealth.


Career Development Awards may be mentored or non-mentored. Individual mentored K awards (K01, K07-developmental, K08, K22, K23, K25, K99/R00) provide support for a sustained period of "protected time" (generally three, four, or five years) for intensive research career development under the guidance of an experienced mentor or sponsor in the biomedical, behavioral, or clinical sciences. Independent (non-mentored) K awards (K02, K05, K07-leadership, K24) provide protected time for scientists who demonstrate the need for a period of intensive research focus as a means of enhancing their research careers. Independent K awards are intended to foster the development of outstanding scientists and to enable them to expand their potential to make significant contributions to their field of research.

Concurrent Salary Support for K Award Recipients

In accordance with the NIH Grants Policy Statement, mentored K awardees (K01, K07, K08, K22, K23, K25), as well as individuals mentored through institutional awards (K12, KL2) are required to devote a minimum commitment equivalent of nine (9) calendar person months (75% of their full-time appointment at the applicant institution) which is charged to the K award.

Mentored K awardees are not eligible to receive concurrent salary support from other research projects, except during the last two (2) years of a mentored K award. The awardee may be eligible to receive concurrent salary support from a concurrent research project once they have competed successfully for a peer-reviewed research award from NIH or any federal agency. As outlined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement ( Concurrent Support) and NOT-08-065, to be eligible for salary support from peer-reviewed research awards from any federal agency, all three (3) of the following requirements must be met:

  • The K award recipient must be one of the named PIs on a competing NIH research grant application (R01, R03, R15, R21, R34, or equivalent application from another federal agency) or a sub-project director on a competing multi-component research or center grant or cooperative agreement application (P01, P50, U01, or an equivalent application from another federal agency).
  • The K award must be active when the competing research grant application is submitted.
  • The K award must be in its final two years before the reduction in effort to six (6) person-months (50% full-time professional effort) is permitted.

Non-mentored K (K02, K05, K07, K24) awardees are allowed to charge effort and salary to federally funded projects as defined by the NIH Grants Policy Statement, Generally, a non-mentored awardee may receive additional salary support from other NIH/PHS grants for effort above that required for the K award and there are no limitations to receiving other salary support. However, K02 recipients may not receive salary from other NIH/PHS grants.

To ensure all appropriate salary reimbursements are captured, the University will review each K award on its own merits. It is the University's responsibility to verify charges to grants are allowable, allocable, and appropriate according the NIH Grants Policy Statement and OMB Circular A-21.

As with any agency guidelines, the awarding agency may grant exceptions to the policies and guidance provided by NIH. At the time of the just-in-time award, Pre-award will work with the K awardee and their mentor to request any necessary changes to the NIH policy. This may include the need to request approval of effort and/or salary on federal peer-reviewed grant when the K awardee is not in the last two years of their project.