NIH Application Questions
Key personnel are the PI and other individuals who contribute to the scientific development or execution of a project in a substantive, measurable way, whether or not they receive salaries or compensation under the grant. Typically these individuals have doctoral or other professional degrees, although individuals at the masters or baccalaureate level may be considered key personnel if their involvement meets this definition. Consultants also may be considered key personnel if they meet this definition. "Zero percent" effort or "as needed" is not an acceptable level of involvement for key personnel.
Other Significant Contributors is a new classification that allows the PI to identify individuals who have committed to contribute to the scientific development or execution of the project but are not committing any specified measurable effort. (Biographical sketches will be required for these individuals; Other Support information will not be required.)
The Research Assistant generally does not have specific scientific expertise to contribute to the research in measurable, substantive ways. Anyone who could be replaced without affecting the direction of the project should not be listed as key personnel. It is important to keep in mind that there are requirements for reporting on key personnel for the life of each project. Personnel listed as key, but not actually performing key functions, require unnecessary tracking on the part of the department, RGC, and NIH.