Project Management

Principal Investigator (Project Director) Project Implementation

The Principal Investigator (PI) holds a number of responsibilities related to sponsored projects, the core of which is conducting or coordinating the work for which external funding has been received. The PI also has administrative responsibilities such as assuring that expenditures are made for the intended purpose of the project and in accordance with sponsor requirements and University policy and procedures. Other PI responsibilities include writing proposals for funding and complying with the technical requirements of awards. The latter involves submitting periodic and final narrative reports on the progress of the project on a timely basis, and overseeing others who may contribute to the project, including University employees, consultants, and subcontractors.

Since sponsored projects are actually legal agreements between a sponsor and SVSU, and in order for the University to fulfill its responsibilities under sponsored agreements, it is necessary for the PI to be appointed as a full-time faculty member or administrator. If a part-time faculty member is appointed as PI, he/she must have a sponsoring, full-time faculty member who will oversee and be responsible for the project.

Responsibilites of the PI

  1. Implement project activities in accordance with grant proposal and subsequent revisions.
  2. Hire and/or contract with project personnel.
  3. Review allowability of expenses; refer to program guidelines, agency guidelines, and SVSU guidelines.
  4. Monitor grant account by accessing Cardinal Direct Budget. A brief tutorial can be found here.
  5. With project evaluator, collect data during implementation based on goals and objectives.
  6. Evaluate outcomes of project based on proposal plan.
  7. Communicate with granting agency concerning questions and updates; inform Sponsored Programs and Controller's Office of required reporting dates.
  8. Submit Supplemental Pay Authorization forms (if applicable).
  9. Record in-kind hours (if applicable). Monitor in-kind contributions of other grant participants.

Human Resources

Time and Effort Reporting Policy

Per Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A–21, Section J.8.a, SVSU is required to document effort spent on externally-sponsored activity. Time and effort reporting is intended to meet this requirement. The system is an "After-the-Fact Activity" system, under which the distribution of salaries and wages by SVSU will be supported by activity reports as described below:

  1. "Time and Effort Reporting Forms" will reasonably reflect the percentage distribution of efforts expended by SVSU faculty and professional staff involved in federally-funded and state-funded grants, contracts and cooperative agreements.
  2. For each federally-funded or state-funded project, a "Time and Effort Reporting Form" will be completed and signed by each faculty member and professional staff member working on the project, provided that the approved grant, contract or cooperative agreement commits University personnel time to the project, regardless of whether such time is paid by external funds or is an unpaid contribution, i.e., "in-kind" match.
  3. "Time and Effort Reporting Forms" do not need to be completed for clerical staff who utilize weekly time sheets, undergraduate assistants, or graduate assistants.
  4. "Time and Effort Reporting Forms" will be confirmed by a person having firsthand knowledge of the employee's activities. Confirmation is indicated by a countersignature on the form.
    1. If a form documents a faculty member's effort and he/she is the Project Director , the form will be countersigned by the dean (or immediate supervisor in non-academic divisions).
    2. If a form documents a faculty member's effort and he/she is not the Project Director, the form will be countersigned by the Project Director.
    3. If the form documents a professional staff member's effort and he/she is the Project Director , the form will be countersigned by the dean (or immediate supervisor in non-academic divisions).
    4. If a form documents a professional staff member's effort and he/she is not the Project Director , the form will be countersigned by the Project Director.
  5. "Time and Effort Reporting Forms" will be completed near the end of each semester and will document the percentage distribution of effort expended during the same semester.
  6. "Time and Effort Reporting Forms" must be returned to Grant Accounting by the end of final exam week each semester.
  7. Completed "Time and Effort Reporting Forms" will be filed in the Grant Accounting office.

For further information, contact Grant Accounting or the Office of Sponsored and Academic Programs Support.

  • Project Management (162kB) - This PowerPoint® covers the post-award stage, and how to successfully manage a funded proposal.

The IRS's 20-Factor Analysis on Employment Status

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Determining the level of control you have over your workers is the key to resolving the issue of whether your workers are employees, for whom you have payroll tax obligations, or independent contractors, for whom you do not. When IRS auditors analyze this issue, they work through a list of 20 different factors before concluding whether a sufficient level of control is present to create an employer-employee relationship. You should go through this same exercise before you try to claim that someone who does work for you is an independent contractor and not your employee.

As you work through the list, keep in mind that the importance of each factor will vary depending on the type of work being done and the circumstances of your own particular case. Because this is a rather subjective analysis, your goal should be to honestly assess how great a risk you'll be taking if you plan to treat a worker as an independent contractor. In close cases, talk to your tax professional or request an IRS determination of the worker's status. That being said, here are the 20 factors:

  1. Instructions. Workers who must comply with your instructions as to when, where, and how they work are more likely to be employees than independent contractors.
  2. Training. The more training your workers receive from you, the more likely it is that they're employees. The underlying concept here is that independent contractors are supposed to know how to do their work and, thus, shouldn't require training from the purchasers of their services.
  3. Integration. The more important that your workers' services are to your business's success or continuation, the more likely it is that they're employees.
  4. Services rendered personally. Workers who must personally perform the services for which you're paying are more likely employees. In contrast, independent contractors usually have the right to substitute other people's services for their own in fulfilling their contracts.
  5. Hiring assistants. Workers who are not in charge of hiring, supervising, and paying their own assistants are more likely employees.
  6. Continuing relationship. Workers who perform work for you for significant periods of time or at recurring intervals are more likely employees.
  7. Set hours of work. Workers for whom you establish set hours of work are more likely employees. In contrast, independent contractors generally can set their own work hours.
  8. Full time required. Workers whom you require to work or be available full time are likely to be employees. In contrast, independent contractors generally can work whenever and for whomever they choose.
  9. Work done on premises. Workers who work at your premises or at a place you designate are more likely employees. In contrast, independent contractors usually have their own place of business where they can do their work for you.
  10. Order or sequence set. Workers for whom you set the order or sequence in which they perform their services are more likely employees.
  11. Reports. Workers whom you require to submit regular reports are more likely employees.
  12. Payment method. Workers whom you pay by the hour, week, or month are more likely employees. In contrast, independent contractors are usually paid by the job.
  13. Expenses. Workers whose business and travel expenses you pay are more likely employees. In contrast, independent contractors are usually expected to cover their own overhead expenses.
  14. Tools and materials. Workers whose tools, materials, and other equipment you furnish are more likely employees.
  15. Investment. The greater your workers' investment in the facilities and equipment they use in performing their services, the more likely it is that they're independent contractors.
  16. Profit or loss. The greater the risk that your workers can either make a profit or suffer a loss in rendering their services, the more likely it is that they're independent contractors.
  17. Works for more than one person at a time. The more businesses for which your workers perform services at the same time, the more likely it is that they're independent contractors.
  18. Services available to general public. Workers who hold their services out to the general public (for example, through business cards, advertisements, and other promotional items) are more likely independent contractors.
  19. Right to fire. Workers whom you can fire at any time are more likely employees. In contrast, your right to terminate an independent contractor is generally limited by specific contractual terms.
  20. Right to quit. Workers who can quit at any time without incurring any liability to you are more likely employees. In contrast, independent contractors generally can't walk away in the middle of a project without running the risk of being held financially accountable for their failure to complete the project.