Who is an Investigator?

An Investigator is any person who shares the responsibility of Conducting Research.  

This includes, but is not limited to, the Principal Investigator (PI), Co-PI, Co-Investigator, Project Director (PD), Co-PD, Senior/Key Personnel, and any other person, regardless of title or position, who is responsible for Conducting Research performed by or under the auspices of the University.

This does not, however, include individuals whose performance is purely ancillary.  For example, office staff who provide ancillary support or hospital staff who provide intermittent care and do not make contributions to the research data are not Investigators.


Principal Investigators are responsible for identifying the Investigators who are participating in their research and the Office for Responsible Outside Interests will help Principal Investigators identify such individuals.  Principal Investigators should consider the following:

  • The significance of the tasks assigned to the individual with regard to Conducting Research (i.e., making a significant contribution to the research results by participating in the design, development, testing, evaluation, conduct, reporting, review or oversight of the research, or in all of these activities);
  • The degree of independence the individual may have in performing their assigned tasks;
  • Whether the individual will be directly involved in the research intervention or consenting or evaluation of human research subjects; 
  • Will the student/trainee be responsible for Conducting Research without direct oversight from an Investigator; and
  • Whether the individual will be a collaborator or given authorship credit on a publication related to the Research or present Research findings at a meeting or conference.


For assistance in making this determination, you can review the following resources: Identifying Investigators & COI Disclosers and Who is an Investigator?, or contact OROI.

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