Who Is an Investigator?

"Investigator" includes any individual, regardless of title or position, who is (or may be perceived to be) independently responsible for or significantly influences, the design, conduct or reporting of the research.

This is a guidance tool and may not capture all scenarios and descriptions of an Investigator.

  • The Principal Investigator, any Co-Investigator and any others who are independently responsible for or who have or may acquire the authority from the PI to significantly influence the direction of the research, data acquisition, method and analysis of the research are considered Investigators.
  • Any Co-Investigator and any others who may be a co-author on manuscripts or presentation of the research findings are considered Investigators (this also includes students who meet this definition).
  • Senior/Key Personnel who are identified on a grant or funding application or report as contributors to the research are considered Investigators whether or not they receive salary support.
  • Collaborators and consultants at the University of Pittsburgh who are independently responsible for or significantly influence any portion of the research, data acquisition, or method and analysis of the research are considered Investigators.
  • Sub-recipients, collaborators and consultants outside of the University of Pittsburgh who are performing PHS funded research on behalf of Pitt who are independently responsible for or significantly influence any portion of the research, data acquisition, or method and analysis of the research are considered Investigators and must complete COI training. The University of Pittsburgh will accept COI training from outside Institutions that have PHS-compliant policies. If the outside institution does not have a PHS-compliant COI policy, the Investigator must complete Pitt's CITI COI training module.
  • Postdoctoral students and Clinical fellows may be considered Investigators depending on their ability to independently and significantly influence the research. This should be determined by the PI on a case by case basis.
  • If an Investigator leaves the University before the research is published and he/she is included as an author, the COI training must have been complete at the time the work was done that contributes to the paper. Retraining after departure from the Institution is not required.

Who Is Not an Investigator?

The following are not usually considered Investigators:

  • Consultants who provide a "fee for service" only
  • Administrators or individuals who perform routine or supportive tasks related to the research