Dmitry Sanatov about Principal Investigators (PI - principal investigators)

On November 24, at the School of leading engineers of the REC Tulatech Dmitry Sanatov spoke about the role of PI for scientific and technical projects.

Below are the main theses of Dmitry's speech.

Principal researcher is a scientist or research engineer who is responsible for the current scientific agenda, is able to manage research, the research team and attract resources. PI is also an entrepreneur in science. He or she must be able to come up with ideas, fight for them and promote them, attract investors and industrial partners.

Principal researchers have long been present in the structure of the division of labor in science. This position is typical not only for scientific organizations, but also for large structures. For example, NASA enables scientists and engineers to implement their laboratory projects or a project to create a new laboratory. If the project is approved, the team is given KPIs to be achieved as a result of the project. This practice is also being implemented in Russian universities.

Principal researchers can develop in different ways: focusing on basic research and scientific disciplines, working with new models and paradigms, focusing on product and innovation, acting as an intermediary from science (i.e. a specialist who knows how to attract customers and implementers). Characteristic features of PI are:

  • Inclusion in the current scientific agenda
  • Ability to build research collaborations
  • Ability to set up collaborations with industrial partners
  • Aiming for research efficiency

Principal researcher should understand the global S&T context, including the technologisation of research and laboratory management processes. When defining a scientific topic or project, the PI should understand what economic or social problem they are oriented towards.

Today in Russia there is a large shortage of research leaders. The program of the School of leading engineers is aimed at covering this deficit.

More information about the School can be found on the official website.