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Principal Investigator Eligibility and Exceptions

Background

Proposals submitted for the extramural funding of research, training, and public service projects, and extramural awards received for such projects, must name an eligible employee of the University to serve as Principal Investigator.

A Principal Investigator is responsible for the design, scientific/technical conduct, administrative conduct, and reporting of a research, training, or public service project. As such, the University only recognizes one individual as the Principal Investigator and he/she must personally participate in the project to a significant degree. "Fronting" as a Principal Investigator is contrary to University policy, regardless of how prestigious the individual may be.

Who is Eligible to Serve as Principal Investigator?

A member of the Academic Senate who falls within one of the following titles whether in regular or emeritus status may serve as a Principal Investigator:Chancellor

  • Vice Chancellor
  • Dean (Academic)
  • Director (Academic Programs)
  • Professor
  • Associate Professor
  • Assistant Professor
  • Professor in Residence
  • Associate Professor in Residence
  • Assistant Professor in Residence
  • Assistant, Associate, or Professor of Clinical "X"
  • Acting Professor
  • Acting Associate Professor
  • Senior Lecturer with Security of Employment (100% only)
  • Lecturer with Security of Employment (100% only)
  • Senior Lecturer with Potential for Security of Employment (100% only)
  • Lecturer with Potential for Security of Employment (100% only)
  • Registrar
  • University Librarian

Academic appointees in the title groups listed below are also eligible to serve as Principal Investigators, with departmental and dean approval on a case-by-case basis:  Appointees salaried at 50 percent or more of full time in the Adjunct Professor series.

  • Appointees salaried at 50 percent or more of full time in the Clinical Professor series.
  • Appointees salaried at 50 percent or more of full time in the Professional Research series.
  • Upon approval of the Vice Chancellor for Research, an appointee in the Supervisor of Physical Education series (for a training or training-related research project).

Departmental and Dean approval is reflected by the signatures on the Administrative Approval Form.

What Appointments Require the Submission of a Request for Exception to Principal Investigator Status?

Anyone who wishes to serve as Principal Investigator, but does not meet the eligibility criteria set forth above, must submit a request for Exception to Principal Investigator Status. This would include, but is not limited to:

  • Faculty with visiting appointments
  • Appointees in the Project Scientist series
  • Appointees salaried at 49 percent or less of full time in the following series:
-Adjunct Professor
-Clinical Professor
-Professional Research
  • Students, postdoctoral fellows, and postdoctoral trainees

Procedure for Submitting a Request for Exception to Principal Investigator Status

The department chair/director must prepare an e-mail message or memo that includes the following information (see template):

  • The proposed Principal Investigator's relationship to the department (e.g., their current appointment, any planned appointments or changes in appointment, the duration of the appointment, etc.)
  • The title of the project and the name of the sponsoring agency.
  • A brief description of the proposed activity.
  • The department's compelling reasons for the request.
  • A statement that space and facilities will be arranged without detriment to the regular instructional or research responsibilities of the department.
  • An assessment of the proposed Principal Investigator's ability to carry out the administrative responsibilities incumbent upon Principal Investigators.

Once the Request has been prepared, the department chair/director must send it to the dean/academic official for concurrence. If the dean/academic official concurs, they must add a statement of concurrence and forward the request to the Sponsored Projects officer assigned to their unit.

Authority to Approve a Request for Exception to Principal Investigator Status

Authority to approve an exception to the Principal Investigator Eligibility Policy has been delegated from the Chancellor to the Vice Chancellor for Research. Exceptions are considered upon submission of an e-mail or memo from the department chair/director and dean/academic official to the Grants or Contracts Officer assigned to the unit. The Grants or Contracts Officer will review the Request for completeness and will forward to the Vice Chancellor for Research for final review and approval.

Approval of a Request for Exception to Principal Investigator Status

If the Vice Chancellor approves the request allowing an ineligible individual to act as PI, it is blanket approval for the currently pending proposal and any future proposals. The Sponsored Project officer assigned to the unit will notify the proposed Principal Investigator and department of the approval via e-mail. The exception will remain in effect unless support is withdrawn by the chair, director, dean or academic official. To determine if an exception has been approved for an individual, go to the PI Exception Eligibility search page.

Denial of a Request for Exception to Principal Investigator Status

If the Vice Chancellor does not approve the request, the Sponsored Projects officer assigned to the unit will immediately notify the proposed Principal Investigator and department chair/director.

Should a request for exception be denied prior to proposal submission, the Vice Chancellor will:

  • Request that the department chair/director or dean/academic official name an eligible alternate Principal Investigator prior to proposal submission; or
  • Delay the submission of the proposal pending discussions with the department, chair/director or dean/academic official.

Should a request for exception be denied after the proposal was submitted, the Vice Chancellor will:

  • Request that the department chair/director or dean/academic official name an eligible alternate Principal Investigator and the Grants or Contracts Officer assigned to the unit will assist the dean/academic official or department chair/director in notifying the sponsor of the change; or
  • In the absence of an eligible alternate Principal Investigator, the Vice Chancellor for Research will withdraw the proposal from consideration.

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