Multiple PIs

Jun 1, 2006
Karen Pallarito

The National Institutes of Health is rolling out a pilot program to allow more than one principal investigator (PI) on individual research awards. The goal of encouraging multidisciplinary efforts is one facet of the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research in the 21st Century and also implements a White House Office of Science and Technology Policy directive requiring all federal research agencies to formally allow more than one PI on individual research awards.

Initially, the NIH will make the multiple-PI option available to a limited number of groups in response to requests for applications received by June. The NIH may also open the option to additional groups for an October receipt date. "I think if it does succeed, it will provide a real boost for this concept of team science - that people working as part of a team can expect to really get credit both financially and academically for the work," says James L. Abbruzzese, chairman of the department of gastrointestinal medical oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and a participant in multiproject grants.

During the pilot phase, the NIH will work through issues of recognizing more than one PI on a project, including how to allocate funds for a single project with multiple PIs, and how to ensure that all PIs on a project receive proper credit from their academic institutions. Results from the pilot phase will be used to inform the development of policies and procedures for an ongoing multiple-PI option, expected to begin in January 2007, according to the NIH. For more information, visit