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How Research Needs and Principal Investigators are Identified

Ideas, can be submitted to Research Office staff at anytime. A focused solicitation for reserach needs occurs every two years when the WSDOT Research Office solicits research problem statements from each of the four Research Advisory Committees. Workshops may be held to discuss the agency’s strategic goals, on-going research, and identify the research needs that will be formed into problem statements. Research problem statements must have a WSDOT advocate. 

The Research Advisory Committees review the problem statements and develop a recommendation of those that should be funded with available resources. The Research Office prepares a draft program with the recommendations from the four Research Advisory Committees and forwards it to the Research Executive Committee for review, modification and approval.

Selecting the Principal Investigator or Research Team

In general, projects funded by the Research Office are encouraged to identify researchers through a competitive solicitiation. However, Research Problem Statements may include a preferred researcher if it is a continuing project, the researcher has unique knowledge for this problem, or the project is cofounded by the organizations. The Research Executive Committee may approve the request for the preferred researcher or request competition.

When competition is used to identify the researcher, a Request for Qualification is distributed to government institutions to researchers on our mailing list and through the list serves for the American Association for State Highway and Transportation Officials Research Advisory Committee and Council of University Transportaiton Centers. In addition, research funded by other programs may also use our solicitation process to identify researchers. Requests for Qualifications are also posted on our website during the solicitation period.

Funded research projects follow guidelines set out in the WSDOT Research Procedures Manual. These guidelines provide administrative information and examples on the processes and requirements necessary for successful management and implementation of a research project.

Research Project Process Schedule

Even Year

  • Spring - Initiate the request for problem statements through the  Research Advisory Committees
  • Summer - Conduct workshops to foster discussion of research needs as requested by the Research Advisory Committees
  • September - Problem statements are due to the Research Office.
  • Fall - Conduct project rating and selection workshops with Research Advisory Committees 
  • December - Research Executive Committee finalizes program
  • December – Request for Qualifications distributed 

Odd Year

  • January - Request for Qualifications responses due. Rating responses begins.
  • February|March - Notify Principal Investigators of project awards
  • February - Notify potential Principal Investigators of approved program and potential projects
  • Beginning July 1 - Establish project contracts.