iLab for Principal Investigators and Lab Managers

Introduction to the fundamental uses of iLab for Principal Investigators and Lab Managers.

Signing up for iLab

An iLab account will allow for you to easily request services from Columbia’s service centers (35+) and facilitate payment as it is directly linked to our finance system.  PIs are able to add lab members to their lab, which allows them to request services on their behalf and use payment information specific to the projects that they’re working on.  The payment information that each lab member has access to can be restricted by the PI to ensure that budgets are adhered to and financial errors do not occur.

An iLab account will automatically be created for you if you have a sponsored project(s) that is already mapped to you in the Columbia finance system.  Sponsored projects have chart strings where the project starts with a GG, IN, or PG.  In order or to check if you already have an iLab account, please log in with your UNI info through the link below.

PIs can request an account (If there hasn't been one created already, confirm by first trying to log in with your UNI) to manage usage by their lab members by emailing [email protected] and CCing [email protected] to have an account manually created for them.  In order for a PI to have a lab setup in iLab, they must have a valid chart string to associate with it to pay for services they request.

Lab Managers should sign up for an account using this > LINK < to join their Principal Investigator's lab if they don't already have an iLab account.

Logging in:

  1. Go to
  2. Login with your UNI ID login.
  3. Look for the link in the left-hand menu that says 'my labs'. Hover-over and select your lab to go to your lab management page.

Responsibilities in iLab:

As a Principal Investigator or Lab Manager, you have a few new responsibilities to enable your researcher team to order services from the cores and make equipment reservations, specifically:

  • Accepting users into your lab (see item 1 below)
  • Assigning chart strings to lab members (see item 2 below)
  • Adding additional chart strings to your lab, if applicable (see item 3 below)
  • Disable chart strings that are not used and/or enable them to be used (see item 4 below)
  • Approving certain core service requests (see item 5 below to set the threshold)
  • Managing lab members and their rights (see item 6 below)
Screenshot of iLab interface, showing buttons to: 1) accept lab members, 2) assign funds to lab members; 3) add non-sponsored funds; and 4) enable/disable funds.
Screenshot of iLab interface showing buttons for: 5) setting approval thresholds; and 6) managing lab members.

Delegating lab notifications and approvals

If you're a Principal Investigator and would prefer to delegate these notifications and approvals to specific member(s) of your lab, for example your lab manager or department administrator, please email [email protected] with their name and email.

Chart strings

Chart strings are the accounts that are used to pay for expenses here at the university.  Chart string information is linked directly from the university's finance system to iLab.  Chart strings are a combination of alphanumeric groupings that identify who the chart string belongs to, the five groupings that are used in iLab are below.

Department - 7 numeric characters that identify the school and department that owns the chart string

Project - 8 alphanumeric characters that identify the specific funding source and type

Activity - 2 alphanumeric characters that further divides the project

Segment - Up to 8 alphanumeric characters that identifies the person the chart string is associated with, if any

Initiative - 5 numeric characters that further identify the project

In order for chart strings to be assigned in iLab they must have a current fiscal year $0 OTPS budget.  Any OTPS natural account will work, but please budget 64005 if no other OTPS budgets exists.  The chart string will be available to be assigned in iLab the day after the budget has been fully approved in budget tool.

Using sponsored projects in iLab                        (GG, IN, or PG)

Sponsored projects should automatically populate into your iLab account and if they don't, it means they haven't yet been created, budgeted, or mapped to you.  GG projects are funded by government grants, IN projects by industry grants, and PG projects are funded by private grants.  Your first step should be contacting your financial administrator to confirm that the chart string is active, budgeted, and mapped to you.  If your financial administrators confirms that the chart string should be available to you and you still don't see it, please contact [email protected] to troubleshoot the issue and CC your financial administrator and [email protected].  The most common issue is that the chart string has not been budgeted or is not mapped to the PI that believes they should have access to it.

Please find information specific to IN projects here > Access to IN Chartstrings in iLab (Updated 3/26/2019) <.

Using non-sponsored projects in iLab                (EN, GT, PC, or UR)

To gain access to non-sponsored projects, please create a ticket using iLab support ([email protected]), CC [email protected], your financial administrator and provide the following information: PI’s name;  Project|Activity|Segment|Department|Initiative|; and who in the lab needs access to the project.  EN projects are funded by endowments, GT projects are funded by gifts to the University, PC projects are related to patient care, and UR projects are funded by the department or school.  We are using the iLab ticketing system to track these requests which are monitored by the P&S Office for Research.

Additional help

Detailed instructions are also available on the iLab Help Site. For any questions not addressed in the Help Site, click on the “HELP” link in the upper right hand corner of the iLab website after logging in or contact [email protected].