Sponsored Projects Administration


  • Covered Individual - A covered individual is an individual who, regardless of title or position, is responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of research, including a principal investigator, co-investigator, project director, any other person identified as senior/key personnel in a grant application, research protocol, or report, and others who direct or can materially influence the research. The principal investigator is responsible for determining if other research staff (e.g., research nurses, research coordinators, data managers, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows) meet the definition of being responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of the research. All covered individuals must certify whether or not they have a significant financial interest related to the research during the R&A submission process by completing a Financial Disclosure Statement.
  • Principal Investigator (PI, also referred to as Program Director or Project Director) - The one individual designated by the applicant organization to direct the project or program to be supported by the grant. The PI is responsible for the overall conduct of a sponsored project, including all technical, programmatic, financial, compliance, and administrative aspects, and for the management and integrity of the design, conduct, and reporting of the sponsored project. The PI is responsible for controlling the technical direction and academic quality of the project, and is responsible for ensuring that a sponsored project is carried out in compliance with the terms, conditions, and policies of the sponsor and UTHealth.
  • Co-Investigator (Collaborator) - An individual involved with the principal investigator in the scientific development or execution of the project with responsibilities similar to that of a PI. While the PI has ultimate responsibility for the conduct of a research project, the Co-I is also obligated to ensure the project is conducted in compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and institutional policies governing the conduct of sponsored research. These individuals typically devote a specific percent of effort to the project and are identified as key personnel. The individual(s) may be employed by, or affiliated with, the grantee organization or an organization participating in the project under a consortium or contractual agreement.
  • Consultant - An individual who provides professional or highly technical advice or assistance to the University, over which the University controls the results but not the manner in which the service is performed. A consultant has measurable effort and is not normally an employee of the organization receiving the services. A consultant may also be a firm or an individual who is an established consultant and the services are provided on the basis of a written agreement for a fee. Note: UTHealth faculty should not be listed as a consultant on University grants.
  • Key Personnel - In addition to the principal investigator, Key Personnel are defined as individuals who contribute in a substantive, measurable way to the scientific development or execution of the project, whether or not salaries are requested. Typically, these individuals have doctoral or other professional degrees.
  • Other Significant Contributors - This category identifies individuals who have committed to contribute to the scientific development or execution of the project, but are not committing any specified measurable effort to the project. These individuals are typically presented at zero percent effort or as needed. A biosketch, including research support information, will be required for these individuals as this highlights their accomplishments as scientists. However, if an award is to be made, other support information will not be required or accepted for other significant contributors since considerations of overlap do not apply to these individuals. Should the level of involvement change for an individual listed in this category, they should be re-designated as Key Personnel.


The required minimum level of committed effort listed for a university Primary Individual is 2% on every sponsored project he or she is involved in (excluding project with 57001). Exceptions to this minimum level of effort are granted for equipment and instrumentation grants, doctoral dissertation grants, and augmentation grants.

The minimum level and the Primary Individual’s actual effort should be commensurate with his or her responsibilities on that sponsored project.

The maximum level of committed effort for a university Primary Individual who has effort commitments on sponsored projects is as follows:

PositionEffort Cap
Executive Leadership
(Presidents, Vice Presidents, Deans, Institute Directors)
Academic Leadership
(Department Chairs, Division Directors )
Tenured and Tenure-track Faculty 90%
Non Tenure-track Faculty 95%

If a Primary Individual holds more than one position, his or her effort commitments will be limited to the lowest effort cap applicable to any of the positions. There are rare occasions for a Primary Individual to be appointed 100% on sponsored projects. These occasions are rare because the Primary Individual generally performs other activities whose costs are not allowable under OMB A-21.

Exceptions to these minimum and maximum levels require review, approval and signatures by the faculty member, the faculty member's department chair and the respective dean.