PI Eligibility for Sponsored Projects

The University limits the eligibility of persons who may serve as Principal Investigators (PIs).  This section serves to summarize the policies and procedures for determining PI eligibility for a sponsored project being submitted through SPA.  More detailed information is provided in the Sponsored Projects Handbook.

PI Responsibility

For each sponsored project, one investigator is typically designated as the PI. The PI bears ultimate responsibility for academic decisions as well as for financial, administrative and compliance matters of the project. Other individuals with significant involvement may be listed as “Co-Principal Investigator” or “Co-Investigator”.

    Questions can be directed to the SPA Project Officer.

    A PI normally must have a full-time appointment and must be an:

    • Officer of Instruction in the rank of:
      • Professor
      • Associate Professor
      • Assistant Professor
      • Instructor

    or an

    • Officer of Research in the rank of:
      • Senior Research Scientist/Scholar
      • Research Scientist/Scholar
      • Lamont Research Professor
      • Lamont Associate Research Professor
      • Lamont Assistant Research Professor

    Persons with appointments carrying other titles, including those in a visiting or adjunct grade, may act as co-PIs with officers in one of the instructional or research grades cited above. However, individuals who do not meet the above criteria may not serve as the sole PI without the approval of their department chair or director and dean or vice president, as well as the Provost.

    The Provost has delegated the authority to make such exceptions as follows:

    • For those holding appointments at CUMC, the Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences;
    • For those holding appointments at Lamont, the Director; and
    • For those holding appointments elsewhere in the University, the EVPR.

    Officers seeking an exception to this policy should submit a letter of request addressed to the appropriate office granted authority to make exceptions, as listed above. The letter should be countersigned by the appropriate chair, or director and dean or vice president and forwarded to their SPA Project Officer.

    Approval should be requested on a project-by-project basis. The request must include confirmation that the department will provide appropriate non-sponsored support to cover proposal writing and other non-sponsored activities of the individual for whom the waiver is being sought, as well as acknowledging the financial responsibility of the department and school for the proposed project. In addition, the request must include the individual’s curriculum vitae and an abstract of the project.

    Please note that blanket waivers will be only granted in truly exceptional circumstances. Please reach out to your SPA Project Officer for guidance.