Principal Investigator Policies

Based on Federal Regulations and University Policy, all research involving humans - including projects with human subject data - must be reviewed and approved by the IRB prior to implementation, regardless of location.
Investigators, including students, conducting research without the proper approval will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.


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 emeriti faculty of Ferris State University may serve as the PI.


Can Students serve as a Principal Investigator?

Students may not serve as the PI on a research project; student investigators must have a faculty advisor who holds responsibility for complying with all relevant requirements, policies and procedures.


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 investigators, 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. Unaffiliated investigators may be listed on research projects as the Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator.

UI's shall coordinate the submission of their proposal to the FSU IRB through a FSU Research Sponsor. The FSU IRB will only review protocols from UI's wishing to conduct research at Ferris involving humans, once the UI obtains a local FSU research sponsor. UI's need to include a copy of the IRB application and approval letter from their home institution as well as a letter of support from the FSU Research Sponsor, including sponsor name and contact information, for review and approval.

IRB approval from the UI's home organization 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 separate FSU IRB application may be necessary.


Who May Serve as a Research Sponsor?

The FSU Sponsor serves a local contact for the Ferris Community on the research project and assures that 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 arenoteligible to serve as sponsors.


What is Multi-Site/Collaborative Research?

Ferris Investigators conducting collaborative research--that is, research involving Ferris State University and one or more organization, institution or agency other than Ferris--must obtain FSU IRB approval prior to initiating the research, regardless of where the research will take place. IRB approval is required from Ferris State University and each collaborating agency. In addition to complying with the requirements of the Ferris IRB, investigators are responsible to comply with the policies and procedures of each collaborative institution or agency.

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. Ferris will remain the home institution with liability for Ferris employees on collaborative research projects and, as such, all proposed collaborative projects must be reviewed and approved by the Ferris IRB.

revised 12/2014