Understand the responsibilities overseen by the principal investigator (also known as the study lead).

Fraser Health employees and privileged physicians, and academic researchers who have signed an affiliation agreement with Fraser Health (i.e., academic affiliated researcher) are allowed to conduct research in the health authority. The following information highlights key responsibilities for Fraser Health principal investigators (study leads) who conduct research in Fraser Health or elsewhere. Principal investigators are responsible for the overall conduct of their research study. Please note that sections on budget, grant and hiring do not apply to affiliated researchers as their responsibility for financial oversight, grant requirements and hiring is to their academic institution.

Fraser Health employees and privileged physicians must have their administrative supervisor sign off on the initial ethics submission to the Fraser Health Research Ethics Board lead.

The principal investigator oversees the following aspects of a study:

  • Study conduct

    The principal investigator is responsible for the ethical and scientific conduct of the research study, as well as ensuring that measures are in place to protect the privacy and safety of research participants and their personal information/data.

    The principal investigator also ensures that: 

    • Study timelines are followed. 
    • Recruitment and data collection is on time, putting measures into place to increase recruitment and data collection if behind schedule.
    • Study results are distributed as widely as possible through presentations or publications.

    Learn more about these responsibilities by viewing the policies below:

  • Approvals administration

    The principal investigator ensures that all study approvals are in place prior to participant recruitment or data collection. Please note the following approvals: 

    • Research Ethics (must be obtained) 
    • Privacy Office (protection of patient data)
    • Fraser Health departments that provide services for a study (e.g. pharmacy service, laboratory service, health records, etc.)
    • Contracts on the transfer of study funds

    Learn more about research ethics and other approvals

  • Budget administration

    The principal investigator ensures that the study does not go over budget and that grant funding agency policies that pertain to study expenses are followed. The following are three strategies to ensure that study budgets are not overdrawn:  

    1. Use a spreadsheet, such as Excel, to keep track of study expenses.
    2. Read the monthly summaries of activity in the study cost centre (i.e. push reports) that are emailed to the principal investigator (cost centre owner) when expenses are flowing through during each period.
    3. Register for training in Meditech to view detailed study expense data in real-time. This can be done by either the principal investigator or their designate.  

    Please note: The principal investigator is personally responsible for reimbursing any expenses that exceed the available study budget.

    Expense reimbursement basics

    The following forms must be completed by Fraser Health principal investigators or research team members who require reimbursement for purchases they have made:  

    Principal investigators who require reimbursement to themselves must submit the EER/RFP to the Department of Evaluation and Research Services for approval signature. Please send the forms with original receipts to: 

    Research Development Specialist
    Department of Evaluation and Research Services
    Suite 400, Central City Tower
    13450 102nd Avenue
    Surrey, B.C.  V3T 0H1

    For research team members, the principal investigator can provide the approval signature and the forms with original receipts can be sent directly to Fraser Health Finance at the addresses below.  

    Important: Principal investigators are encouraged to make copies of all forms submitted for their own records and are required to send copies of all expense forms to the Department of Evaluation and Research Services research development specialist via inter-departmental mail (address above) or email.

    To reimburse employees:
    General Ledger, Accounting Services
    330 East Columbia Street
    New Westminster, BC  V3L 3W7

    To reimburse physicians:
    Physician Contracts Office
    330 East Columbia Street
    New Westminster, B.C.  V3L 3W7

    To reimburse non-Fraser Health employees: 
    Accounts Payable 
    BC Shared Services
    8521 198A Street
    Langley, B.C.  V2Y 0A1

    Learn more about administrating your grant.

  • Grant administration

    When a research grant is received from an outside funder, additional administration is often required.

    The funder typically requires that:

    1. Reports are submitted to the funder. These could include progress reports, final reports, and financial reports. The principal investigator is responsible for filling out the reports and ensuring that they are submitted on time to the funder. Our finance manager will assist with the financial reports. Please provide copies of any reports submitted to funders to the research development specialist.
    2. The funder is acknowledged in all public communications as part of the funded project, such as publications in journals, press releases, conference posters and any seminars.

    Learn more about the financial administration process and how to administer grant funds.

  • Hiring of research support staff

    Paid staff

    Consider hiring a research assistant or research coordinator to assist in study management. Tasks typically include:

    • Participant recruitment
    • Participant consenting
    • Data collection
    • Data entry
    • Participant follow-up
    • Budget tracking*
    • Compliance tracking*
      * Tasks typically done by more experienced assistants/coordinators

    The level of training and expertise required by a research assistant or research coordinator depends on the project tasks they will perform. Principal investigators can choose to hire Fraser Health employees, students, external consultants or contractors. Talk to our People Services Department or research development specialist when making your choice.

    Students are often hired as they are looking for research experience and can be a better option for small budgets. Several universities and colleges have co-op or student experience programs that can help you with the hiring process.

    Download our tips on hiring research staff document for more information.

    Unpaid research staff

    It is often the case that the study budget is insufficient to hire personnel. 

    Volunteer research assistants can be used. These can be vetted and approved using the Fraser Health Volunteer Services procedure.

    Often, the research team (co-investigators) takes on a larger role in the study with a small budget. The benefits of being a co-investigator include:

    • Co-authorship of publications arising from the research
    • Opportunities to present the research at conferences and seminars
    • Opportunity to gain research expertise and experience
    • Opportunity to be a co-applicant on a research grant
    • Opportunity to build a research curriculum vitae / resumé

    Research teams are encouraged to seek collaboration with academic researchers as this often results in mutually beneficial relationships: academics share their research expertise, clinicians share their clinical expertise and access to patients or health care data.

    Download our authorship agreement template to help you formalize your collaborations.

Where can I find more information and resources?

Learn about how we can help you with your research and visit our resources section for tools to guide you in your research.