Office of Research Compliance and Administration

Revised: 3/12/2012


A Principal Investigator has absolute 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 all regular full time faculty, including emeriti, research professors and officers of the University who hold director-level administrative positions. Postdoctoral fellows, lecturers, adjuncts, instructors 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 Vice 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, director or vice president 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, director or vice president

  • The applicant’s curriculum vitae

  • The applicant’s written request for consideration which must include 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 attention of the Vice Provost for Research, Office of Research and Administration, 3201 Arch Street, Suite 100.