Principal Investigator Policies

Who May Serve as a Principal Investigator?
The Principal Investigator (PI) is responsible to ensure that the design and conduct of research involving human subjects complies with institutional policies, state laws and federal regulations. Other responsibilities include supervising the conduct of research and protecting the rights, safety and welfare of the research subjects. Any regular, level 2 or level 3 adjunct faculty or emeritus faculty of Ferris State University may serve as the PI. Students may serve as the PI only when a faculty advisor who holds responsibility for complying with all relevant requirements, policies and procedures, is identified. 

Who May Serve as a Faculty Advisor?
The Faculty Advisor assures that the student's research project complies with institutional policies, state laws and federal regulations. Any Ferris State University (FSU) administrator, full-time tenure, tenure-track, level 2 or level 3 adjunct faculty may serve as a Faculty Advisor for student PI's, so long as it does not pose a conflict of interest. FSU students, staff, alumni and visiting faculty are not eligible to serve as advisors. 

What is an Unaffiliated Investigator?
An Unaffiliated Investigator (UI) is a researcher employed by universities, hospitals, institutions and agencies but is not connected to Ferris State University in any capacity. The FSU Institutional Review Board (IRB) will only review UI's wishing to conduct research involving human subjects at FSU once the UI obtains a local FSU faculty sponsor. Unaffiliated Investigator's shall coordinate the submission of their proposal to the FSU IRB through their FSU sponsor. UI's need to include a copy of the IRB application and approval letter from their home institution and a letter of support from the FSU IRB for review and approval. IRB approval from the UI's home institution does not substitute for review by the FSU IRB, nor does it influence their subsequent independent review. In some cases, the FSU IRB may request additional information from the UI and a new FSU IRB application. Should the FSU IRB request and FSU IRB application, the sponsor must be included on the new submission. 

Who May Serve as a Faculty Sponsor?
The FSU Sponsor assures the the UI's research project complies with institutional policies, state laws and federal regulations. Anyone eligible to serve as a faculty advisor may also serve as a faculty sponsor for research conducted by an UI. This includes any FSU administrators, full-time tenure, tenure-track, level 2 or level 3 adjunct faculty. The FSU faculty sponsor must have expertise relevant to the research topic and must not pose a conflict of interest. Ferris State University students, staff, alumni and visiting faculty are not eligible to serve as sponsors. 

What is Multi-Site Research?
If you are a FSU faculty member, staff or student and the PI conducting collaborative research, you must obtain FSU IRB approval prior to initiating your research, regardless of where it takes place. Investigators should contact the IRB office when collaborative research is being planned. At times, FSU may rely on the IRB of another institution or organization. Ferris State University will determine reliance on a case-by-case basis.

  • If the Principal Investigator (PI) is an FSU employee: FSU will remain the home institution with liability and investigators must obtain approval from the FSU IRB, in addition to complying with the requirements of the IRBs of the collaborating institutions or organizations. 
  • If you are a co-PI involved in a collaborative research at multiple sites: separate applications may be necessary for each institution involved. However, multiple applications may be avoided if an inter-institutional agreement is arranged, designating one institution as the primary site responsible for regulatory compliance.