The head of my lab and I wrote a grant proposal together. Last year we submitted it with me and them as chief investigators. This year I wasn't allowed to submit grants per the rules of my government funding body, so I agreed to let my lab head submit the grant while listing themselves as chief investigator and removing me. However, in addition to this, my lab head added one of my colleagues as a chief investigator despite them not having written any of the grant. This was done without my permission.

My lab head added the colleague because the lab head believes it will look bad if they are a sole chief investigator. They believe adding the second chief investigator will make it appear as if they are supporting an early career scientist and that there is someone who will be managing the project day to day.

I don't feel comfortable about my lab head misattributing my grant proposal, particularly without my permission. Is what they're doing ethical? What can I do if I don't like it?

  • 1
    You gave permission. Don't let your regret of that decision affect your future relationships. Hopefully you get an ack somewhere.
    – Buffy
    May 31, 2020 at 12:58
  • I gave permission for my supervisor to submit the grant, not to misattribute it to a colleague who didn't contribute. May 31, 2020 at 13:04
  • 2
    Didn't contribute or won't contribute. There is more to a grant than writing it. Fighting with your PI is not a good career move.
    – Buffy
    May 31, 2020 at 13:07

1 Answer 1


Is what they're doing ethical?

Being a chief investigator on a grant does not necessarily imply that you are an author of the proposal. Proposal a writing can even be outsourced to a third party.

In order to determine if the proposal is ethical, it would be necessary to read it and read the funding agency's rules, but if it's unethical it is probably not for a reason you have stated.

What can I do if I don't like it?

Probably nothing, except ask the lab head to change their course of action (Is it too late?). If the university paid you to write the proposal, it very likely belongs to the university.

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