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How to Include the Principal Investigator on Federal Grant Applications

In federal grant applications for scientific or research requests, you’re asked to provide a biographical sketch for the principal investigator. In some cases, the principal investigator is similar to the project director but usually holds a doctorate degree in the project’s specialty field.

The form for a biographical sketch can change from agency to agency. The most common information fields found on the form are

  • Name: Type in the first, middle, and last name of your principal investigator.

  • Position title: Type in the project-assigned position title.

  • Education/training: List the colleges attended and locations, beginning with the baccalaureate degree. Fill in the degree column, the year earned or awarded, and the field of study for each institution of higher education attended.

  • Personal statement: Write about the purpose of the proposed research and how it relates to the principal investigator’s experience.

  • Positions and honors: List, in chronological order, previous work or job positions, ending with the present position. List any honors, including present membership on any federal government public advisory committees.

  • Selected peer-reviewed publications (in chronological order): List any publications in which work has been published and read or reviewed by professional peers.

  • Research support: List all ongoing or completed (past three years) research projects (both federally and nonfederally supported).

Typically, biographical sketches are limited to two pages. Government grant applications are often formatted for you to insert a page number at the bottom of the page, and the biographical sketch is no different. When you see the cue at the bottom of a form page, reread the funding guidelines to see whether your narrative and all accompanying forms must be numbered in sequential order from beginning to end.

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