Skip navigation

Principal Investigator (PI) Academy

Research and engaged learning are central to the mission of NIU. In support of these efforts, the Division of Research and Innovation Partnerships sponsors the Principal Investigator (PI) Academy to help faculty position themselves for external funding and thriving research careers. The academy consists of the following two components:

Mission

To encourage the development of faculty scholarship

Goal

To gain knowledge and experience for success in externally funded scholarship

Objectives

    1. Develop a plan for significant scholarship or research, perhaps leading to a grant proposal, publication, manuscript
    2. Identify the funding sources that best match the interests and projects of the scholar
    3. Understand the internal funding process
    4. Understand the structure of agencies and their peer review processes
    5. Learn about university resources to assist with innovative, transformative processes/products Develop skills to submit complete, compliant, and competitive proposals for external funding

This component offers information and insight about the range of activities of a successful investigator including competitive positioning, grant writing, project management, research compliance, responsible conduct of research, working with sponsoring agencies and sustaining funding over the long-term. Participants will learn how to develop and sustain successful working relationships with NIU offices involved in research support.

Mission

To encourage the development of faculty scholarship

Goal

    • To become a well-positioned researcher, scholar, and grant writer
    • To develop a plan for external funding, publication, or other significant scholarship

Objectives

    1. Identify a mentor to assist with the development of scholarship
    2. Develop a plan for significantly advancing scholarship and research such as submission of external grant proposals, publication of a paper, or other forms of scholarship
    3. Spend working time with the mentor in the service of the faculty member’s scholarship
    4. Enhance the research climate of the university by Inviting the mentor to campus for a presentation of his or her scholarship

On a limited and competitive basis, the academy also supports the research culture by bringing respected scholars to campus for lectures, colloquiums and possible meetings with students. 

A limited number of early career tenure-seeking faculty are matched with a senior mentor from another U.S. institution. The mentor should be a successful senior faculty member in an appropriate area of specialization and will be invited to campus to meet with the NIU faculty, conduct a presentation open to the NIU scholarly community and interact in an informal setting with the scholar and members of NIU academic leadership. Most importantly, the mentor will work with the NIU faculty over the ensuing year by providing advice and mentoring around one grant proposal or publication.

Applications for the External Mentorship Program are submitted to the Vice President for Research and Innovation Partnerships, with the final decision made by the VPR and a review committee. Successful candidates will have already begun to position themselves as active researchers. Applications will be evaluated on a combination of factors including publication record, prior grant experience, prior grant submission, pilot work and documented interest in engaging students in their research, scholarly or artistic endeavors.