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Home No. 17: Do married co-PIs mean salary cuts?

Jul 13

No. 17: Do married co-PIs mean salary cuts?

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Do married co-PIs mean salary cuts?

Reader question: My spouse is my co-PI. Do I have to reveal that? Can I ask for the same money? Or will NIH cut my budget because of the relationship?

Expert Comment: According to the NIH Office of Extramural Research, there is no policy regarding spouses who apply for a grant as co-investigators. Although the agency’s rules do not specifically address this issue, you should disclose the relationship between you and your co-PI. At the same time, universities may have their own policies and procedures because NIH expects them to deal with this.

So where in the application should you note the relationship?

Your best bet is in the budget justification where you detail the key personnel. One sentence is enough, and if you’re stating the relationship to comply with university policies, say so.

Most universities have a nepotism policy, as well as those that pertain to two related faculty members who work together to resolve supervisory issues. When there are co-PI teams who are on federal research grants and are married, make sure that one is not supervising the other.

Expert comments provided by Beth Seaton, Director of Administrative Matters at Western Illinois University in Macomb.

Comments (1)
written by Married PI, July 13, 2011
I've never had a funder, including NIH, cut my salary -- or suggest that I reduce my spouse's salaray -- when we serve as co-PIs. But I think you should let the funder know the situation as part of the application.

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