One would think that the NIH had enough on its plate what with shrinking paylines, the looming inaugural R01 e-submission deadline, all new standard receipt dates, etc. etc.
But no – you may recall this past November that they opened up the multiple PI option to all electronically submitted proposals (starting with Cycle I in 2007, this will include R01, R03, R13/U13, R15, R18/U18, R21, R21/R33, R25, R33, R34, R41, R42, R43, R44, and C06/UC6). You can read the notice laying out these changes and visit the Multiple Principal Investigators resource page.
Some intel passed along to me today indicates that the pilot multiple PI applications faced a common problem in study section: no scientific justification for the involvement of more than one PI. Reviewers do not want to see the PI list padded with nobel laureates (just as they never wanted to see the key personnel list abused in the same manner). They want to know why one person cannot take charge of the research project … and if sound scientific reasons exist, they want a damn good management plan with clearly assigned responsibilities and plans for resolving disputes.
In other words, the multiple PI option should not be invoked lightly.
This same intel source suggests it will be at least a year before the NIH can divide “credit” among the PIs (in terms of NIH ranking data for institutions, schools, and departments). Seems as though with electronic research administration that it shouldn’t take that long, but nice that this person made an honest projection.
Anyway, for those who do bravely forge ahead with a multiple PI submission … try to find a partner who serves on a study section to get the delayed deadline break (see the Pearl Harbor Day notice for details). Sounds like you’ll need it.