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Office of Research & Sponsored Programs

policy procedure

Sponsored Programs Policies

Principal Investigator Eligibility

A Principal Investigator has responsibility for the overall conduct of a sponsored project, including all technical, programmatic, financial, compliance and administrative aspects. The Principal Investigator is responsible for controlling the technical direction and academic quality of the project, and will ensure that a sponsored project is carried out in compliance with the terms, conditions, and policies of the Sponsor and the University.

Eligibility for Principal Investigator Status

Principal Investigator status is granted to:

  • Faculty members of all types, including emeriti
  • Volunteer faculty – specially designated and approved by department
  • Research scientists and research associates
  • Post-doctoral fellows and dissertation awards (faculty member must be co-PI)
  • University staff who hold director-level administrative positions

Adjuncts, Assistant Directors, and other professional staff may be eligible for Principal Investigator status in certain circumstances as described below. Visiting scholars will not be granted Principal Investigator status under any circumstances. Student investigators are not eligible for Principal Investigator status, but may be permitted to conduct sponsored projects under the direction of a faculty advisor.

Process for a Petition to Grant Principal Investigator Status

Individuals who do not meet University eligibility requirements may be granted Principal Investigator status by the Associate Provost for Research based upon the applicant’s experience, skills, research interests, and project plans. The petition for Principal Investigator status is not a routine procedure and must be specifically approved on a case-by-case basis. In such cases, a petition to request Principal Investigator status should be submitted to the respective Dean or Director for first review and approval.

The applicant’s review package must include:

  • A letter of endorsement from a senior faculty member
  • A letter of endorsement from the department head
  • The approval of the respective Dean or Director
  • The applicant’s curriculum vitae
  • The applicant’s written request for consideration, which must include:
    • A copy of the request for proposal
    • Proposal (or concept paper) and the research plan
    • The proposed sources for external support
    • A space utilization summary, and
    • A statement of how the project will further the University’s mission

All requests must be approved by the head of the applicant’s academic or business unit and sent to the Department's Project Administrator, who will direct it to the attention of the Associate Provost for Research.

Any questions on whether a person’s employment status meets the eligibility requirements should be direct to the Assistant Provost for Planning, Budget & Analysis.