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. Identify the funding sources that best match the interests and projects of the scholar
  2. Understand the internal funding process
  3. Understand the structure of agencies and their peer review processes
  4. Learn about university resources to assist with innovative, transformative processes/products
  5. Develop skills to submit complete, compliant, and competitive proposals for external funding

This series offers information and insight about the range of activities of a successful investigator including, 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.

The seminar series is open to all faculty; however, faculty selected to receive an external mentor through the External Mentorship Program must attend the series.

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

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. Mentors are nominated by the faculty and should be a successful senior faculty member in an appropriate area of specialization. The mentor 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.

Faculty participation in the program is coordinated between the colleges and RIPS. The colleges select and nominate the faculty for the program. Successful candidates will have already begun to position themselves as active researchers.

Faculty interested in receiving an external mentor should contact their department chair and associate dean regarding their college review process. Candidates will be notified in September if they have been selected to receive a mentor.

For general questions about the seminar series or external mentorship program, please contact Dara Little, assistant vice president for research.