Who should be principal investigator on a grant application?


Hey all! Just looking for some opinions! I'm in my final year now and am due to finish in about October. Two of my colleagues (post-docs) are also due to finish at around the same time and we have been working on a research proposal with our supervisor to keep us all on for a few years. Now basically it's got really bitchy, because even though the three of us are named researchers, our sup hasn't put us down as grantholders/principal investigators, and instead has a load of big names there who really haven't contributed an awful lot. The proposal is based on furthering work that has been carried out by the three of us, and we have had a lot of input in terms of the proposal. Now I'm not really so bothered about it, because I would just be so grateful to get a job after my PhD, and at my stage in my career I wouldn't expect to be a grant-holder on a £2million grant. But the others are further on than me and are really annoyed and it's getting extremely bitchy. I realise the idea is to win the funding, so my sup needs all the big names she can get on the grant, but what do you think about the actual researchers being put down as grant-holders too? Does anyone know how this tends to work and at what stage you would expect your name to be up there? Just wondering as I can't get any non-biased advice from our team!
Cheers all, KB


I'd have expected you and the others to be on the proposals in some fashion if it's extending work that you've done. It's not like the three of you have no background in the project and are being hired after the grant. Your work sounds like it might be the background, you've been working on the proposal and you'll likely be carrying out the research. Maybe there's something else going on or I'm being dim but it sounds a bit like you're getting shafted.

You need big names on grants but not at the cost of bumping you and the others off. I can see why they're not happy. Especially seeing as it looks like you'll be putting down that you 'worked on Project X' rather than 'worked and won funding for Project X'.


You might want to check the rules of your university and the funding body. Some insist that only people with permanent posts can be named as grant holders.