Assessing the research needs of principal investigators
Bennings, Adrien L.
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Funding from federal agencies has become a primary source of research support for principal investigators across institutions of higher education. Although rewarding, federal funding also comes with strict award terms and conditions, reporting requirements, and administrative responsibilities. Heightened demands for accountability, demands on faculty time, and complex regulatory requirements related to administering federally funded awards are among the various factors that make facilitating research and achieving research outcomes increasingly challenging for principal investigators. It is important for principal investigators to have adequate resources and administrative support in order to achieve research goals. The purpose of this research study was to assess the principal investigator’s perception of the research enterprise at a public four-year institution. This study sought to understand the research needs of principal investigators by exploring faculty responsibilities, time constraints, and administrative tasks related to the management of federal awards. The results of this study shed light on the sources and extent of administrative tasks experienced by faculty engaged in federal grant research. The findings revealed the cumbersome nature of administrative tasks related to federal awards. Principal investigators were found to allocate more of their time managing administrative functions, rather than engaging in actual research. The results of the study point to key areas of concern and highlight the need for a comprehensive strategic assessment of the research enterprise at the institution.