Researchers are responsible for all aspects of their research including compliance with what can sometimes seem like a byzantine network of laws, regulations, and Harvard University (“University”) policies.  Sometimes their importance is obvious; sometimes it seems like a lot of rules and paperwork for their own sake.

This resource guide is provided to help demystify these requirements and lighten the load for researchers.  It highlights the top 12 issues surrounding research administration and compliance and provides a brief explanation of each topic, clarifies the researcher’s key responsibilities, and identifies University resources for additional help and information.  This guide is intended for all University researchers, and identifies which responsibilities are specific to the Principal Investigator.

Department/Local Administrator

Department/local level managing unit administrator supports research administration activities and may include grant managers, finance managers, sponsored research administrators, or faculty assistants.

Principal Investigator (PI)

The individual officially responsible for the conduct of a sponsored project.  On research projects, the PI is usually a faculty member; on other types of awards, such as financial aid, the PI may have an administrative appointment.  PI eligibility is a school-level determination.

Sponsored Office

The University’s sponsored offices include the Office for Sponsored Programs (University- area schools), Sponsored Projects Administration (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health), and Office of Research Administration (Harvard Medical School).