Research Objectives and Responsibilities

Effective: Moved to Policy Library from UPM 9.2
Updated/Revised: March 31, 2009
Contact: Vice President for Research


ISU encourages its faculty to actively engage in research and scholarly activities for the advancement of knowledge and for the better understanding of our world and universe.

Policy Statement

Research Objectives

All research and sponsored projects must be consistent with the objectives of the university:

  • The education of undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral students;
  • The advancement of knowledge through research and scholarship; and
  • The preservation and dissemination of knowledge.

The pursuit of these endeavors should result in the advancement of public welfare. All research shall be based on sound scientific principles and must give the promise of making a significant contribution to knowledge. The research must be judged to be appropriate to the capabilities of ISU.

The availability of funds must not be the sole justification for accepting a sponsored project. Research grants, contracts, or gifts will be accepted only when the research or activity contemplated is believed to be of benefit to the university, the research endeavors of its faculty, the state of Iowa, and/or the public in general, according to the above objectives.

The Vice President for Research has the responsibility and authority for deciding whether a research proposal is consistent with this policy.

Research Responsibilities

Conformance with University Policies

The terms of any grant, contract, or gift for research or other sponsored project must conform to university policies and business procedures, and, in general, permit the university to exercise administrative control and accountability for the proposed research.

Responsibility for ensuring the compliance of any proposed research or sponsored project with the foregoing provisions and for evaluating the suitability of the work proposed resides with the principal investigator(s), the department chair, the collegiate dean or designee, and the university administrative officers. Acceptance and discharge of this responsibility is indicated by signing the Proposal Data Form (GoldSheet) attached to each research or sponsored project proposal.

Principal Investigator (PI) Eligibility

PI Eligibility Guidelines are available on the Office of Vice President for Research website (see Resources below)

To be eligible to serve as a PI, an individual must be a tenured or a tenure-track faculty member, a Professional and Scientific (P&S) employee on a continuous appointment at the level of P37 or above, or a non-tenure eligible research professor. Any individual who does not meet the aforementioned qualifications must seek approval from the Vice President for Research.


Any proposal for a project that will use ISU personnel or facilities must be approved by the Office of Sponsored Programs Administration (OSPA) prior to submission. Proposals may be for support of research, equipment, instruction, training, or other activities. This includes scholarship and fellowship applications, and pre-proposals or letters upon which a grantor may base a decision to fund, if the award will be made to the university (not directly to the individual).

For each project proposal requesting external funding, the Proposal Data Form (i.e., GoldSheet) should be fully completed, reviewed and approved by all appropriate department/center/college administrators, and submitted to OSPA at least five days prior to the application deadline to allow sufficient time for review, corrections, and approval. Exceptions to the approval process are determined by the director of OSPA in consultation with the department and college administrator(s) involved.

Financial Responsibility

By accepting the terms and conditions of a sponsored project, the Principal Investigator(s) (PI(s)), academic department/research unit, and administering unit identified on the GoldSheet accept all financial responsibility for the award. This responsibility includes ensuring that all costs charged to the award account are allowable and the treatment of direct and indirect costs is charged in accordance with federal, university, and agency policies. These designated individual(s) and administrative offices will be held responsible if any costs are later found to be unallowable or inappropriate. Financial responsibility also extends to overdrafts caused by project cost overruns, nonperformance, and uncollectible funds from sponsors.