Eligibility to Serve as a Principal Investigator on Sponsored Projects
The principal investigator (PI) is the individual with ultimate responsibility for the conduct of the activities of a well-defined science or other academic project, including all regulatory compliance requirements, review, and reporting of the research or other externally funded sponsored activity.
A PI is authorized to apply for research funding through Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP). A PI is not authorized to submit a proposal directly to a sponsor without OSP approval, accept an award on behalf of the University, or to sign contracts/agreements on behalf of the University. Any negotiations associated with an award must be conducted by OSP.
2. Eligibility for PI Status
The table below denotes specific roles at the University and eligibility to serve as a PI:
Status/Title Eligible PI
(automatic in UTRMS-Grants)
Eligible to be PI with Associate Dean/Department Chair approval Under the direction of a PI – listed as PI Proxy in UTRMS-Grants Tenure-track Faculty X Research-Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor X Non-tenure-track Faculty who are paid UT employees X Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor of Instruction X Directors, Chairs, Deans, VPs, AVPs X Affiliate or Clinical Faculty when all of the research will be conducted in a UT, Dell, or Seton facility X Research Scientists X Research Associates X Faculty Instructors X Emeritus Faculty X Lecturers X Librarians X Adjunct Faculty X Visiting Faculty and Scholars X Residents X Postdoctoral Fellows X Research Assistants X Graduate Students X Undergraduate Students X
Newly hired faculty/researchers may request temporary PI status and may submit proposals/transfer applications without a UT Co-PI if the project’s start date is after their official start date. After their official start date, PI status becomes automatic.
Retired/Emeritus Faculty do not receive automatic PI approval even if PI status was held before retirement. A Co-PI must be identified and must be a UT employee who is PI-eligible (refer to the table above) and who is able to actively participate in the project. Please specify faculty type as “Emeritus” when submitting a PI Exceptions Request.
Postdoctoral fellows may not serve in the role of PI. Postdoctoral fellows must seek a sponsoring PI who will submit necessary proposal documentation to OSP for review and endorsement. Should the proposal be funded, the sponsoring PI will assume budgetary and reporting responsibilities at the university level on behalf of the postdoctoral fellow.
Adjunct faculty may not serve in the role of PI at the University or with the sponsor. Outgoing faculty members may keep a grant at the University, with the appointment of a Co-PI at the University who has active PI status and with notification to the sponsor.
3. Procedures to Request Exception for PI Status
The individual’s department (Dean, Associate Dean for Research, Department Director or Chair) must submit a PI/Co-PI Exception Request to OSP.
The following requirements will be necessary to obtain a PI/Co-PI Status Exception:
- Acknowledgement that the proposed PI/Co-PI has read and agrees to abide by Researcher Responsibilities.
- The individual seeking PI status will also need to be compliant with the University’s policy:
- Review COI Policy
- Written assurance from the unit head that the individual will hold a paid appointment during the award performance period will be required on requests for individuals with 0% or research affiliate appointments.
The request as recommended by the appropriate unit head is reviewed and approved by the Office of Sponsored Projects.
Additional Department-Specific Exception Request Requirements:
Some colleges or departments may have more restrictive policies for obtaining PI status. Please confirm with your department or unit head for additional guidance.