UW Research


Occasionally, a project may require specific expertise beyond what the Principal Investigator (PI) and co-investigators can provide. Consultants may be engaged as paid or unpaid collaborators. Whether paid or unpaid, individuals should be approached about consulting in the Plan/Propose stage. It is best practice to solicit a commitment by the potential Consultant to participate, should the project be approved. The commitment may take the form of a Letter of Commitment, and may be a formal written letter or an email message. If payment is considered, anticipated fees should be included in the commitment. Individuals with in certain fields are in high demand for their expertise. It is wise to identify “back-up” Consultants, should your first choice ultimately find they cannot participate in your project. Should the project move forward, a Consulting Agreement for each Consultant will be needed at the Setup stage.


  • The Principal Investigator (PI) is responsible for identifying and engaging consultants, including negotiating scope of work and fees.
  • The research administrator is responsible for planning the appropriate administrative mechanism for engaging paid consultants (such as a Consulting Agreement).


  • Determine whether an individual is more appropriately considered a consultant or a co-investigator. Your research administrator and OSP should be able to advise on this determination.
  • Review the potential consultant’s CV to ensure the individual has demonstrable pertinent expertise and will be seen by peer reviewers as credible.
  • Solicit a Letter of Commitment from all potential consultants, to include the scope of the consultant’s engagement and anticipated fees.


Policy, Regulation, and Guidance