ATE Answers Roles

ATE Answers

ATE Grant Roles, Responsibilities, & Key Stakeholders

These guidelines are a starting point for you to use as you begin to manage your ATE grant and should not be considered comprehensive. They may need to be adapted to suit each college’s policies and culture. The PI should work with his or her supervisor as well as the business office to ensure compliance with college rules.

The PI is responsible for:

  • Managing the scientific or technical direction of the project
  • Ensuring the integrity of budget expenditures
  • Serving as the first line of communication between the NSF Program Officer and the project related to the scientific, technical, and budgetary aspects of the project
  • Presenting at the annual ATE PI conference
  • Submitting all timely reports required by NSF including the annual report through

The Co-PIs are part of the regular leadership team and assist in implementation of grant goals.  Their roles are outlined in the project proposal.

Senior Staff are typically also part of the regular leadership team. They are sometimes treated like additional Co-PIs because the project requires more key leaders than the PI and the 4 allowed Co-PIs. Other times, Senior Staff are assigned more limited, specific tasks. These responsibilities are also outlined in the project proposal, but could change during the implementation period.

The Grant Manager of Accounting is responsible for:

  • Setting up the budget for the grant
  • Approving and recording expenditures
  • Drawing down funds (unless college policy specifies otherwise)
  • Providing monthly financial records to the PI for monitoring 
  • Communicating regularly, openly, and freely with the project PI (PI should initiate)

Other appropriate faculty and colleagues need to know how they can help with implementation of the grant activities and how implementation will benefit them.  Generally, a presentation at a faculty meeting will start this conversation and one-to-one communication with those who are really interested can occur later.

The responsibilities for other staff will vary from project to project and job titles of these support staff will vary from college to college. Those funded by the project are usually described in the project proposal, though changes can occur during the implementation period. Because a project often requires more staff than just those funded by the grant, it is good to meet with and regularly communicate with administrative assistants, clerks, and others whose functions support the work of the grant. Some examples include:

  • HR, especially if the project needs to hire personnel.  The PI will need to follow the college’s specific requirements for posting, interviewing, and selecting new project staff.
  • PR can provide the initial press release to announce the grant to the college and community and can also publicize key events internally and externally. The PI should meet with the college’s public relations staff to ensure any project-created brochures or documents follow college publication guidelines and include the NSF disclaimer statement on them.
  • Student Services provides student advisors and sometimes career coaches. The PI should meet with them to determine how their work may complement project activities for students served by the grant.

The grant responsibilities of the PI’s supervisor (possibly a Dean or Department Chair) and the administrators above that level are limited, but their approvals of activities and expenditures is often essential. It is important for the PI to provide short monthly reports to his or her supervisor.  The PI also may wish to offer to give a short presentation (focused on how the grant benefits the college) at the Board of Trustees meeting and/or for the President’s cabinet. Thereafter, monthly or quarterly newsletter or email updates are examples of appropriate ways to keep administrators informed. 

Your Program Officer wants your grant to be successful.  Contact your program officer via email or phone to set up a time to discuss your project and get his or her input.

The ATE Community can also provide support for grant goals. If you have questions about grant management or activities implementation, submit your question to the ATE Answers email ( to arrange a time to briefly discuss the project so that the expert can refer you to others who can also help support your work.