General University Reference Utility
To identify the criteria for serving as a Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI) on a sponsored project. Although the University is legally responsible to the sponsor as the actual recipient of a grant or contract, the PI is held accountable for the proper fiscal management and conduct of the project.
Only individuals holding full-time faculty rank above that of Senior Research Assistant may normally accept the role of a Principal Investigator. In all cases, eligibility to serve as PI also will be subject to any applicable sponsor-imposed rules or guidelines. All individuals, regardless of rank, must sign an appropriate Intellectual Property Agreement prior to serving as PI or co-PI on a sponsored project: http://www.research.psu.edu/patents/ip-agreement-forms.
|Rank||Can Serve as PI||Co-PI|
|Senior Research Associate||Yes||Yes|
|Retired Faculty||With Dept Head and Dean approval*||Yes*|
|Senior Research Assistant||With Dept Head and Dean approval||Yes|
|Research Assistant||With Dept Head and Dean approval||Yes|
|Visiting Professor||With Dept Head and Dean approval||Yes|
|Postdoctoral Scholars or Fellows||With Dept Head and Dean approval||Yes|
|Senior Instructor/ Senior Lecturer||With Dept Head and Dean approval (e.g., teaching grants)||Yes|
|Instructor/Lecturer||With Dept Head and Dean approval (e.g., teaching grants)||Yes|
|Graduate Student||No (except for programs specifically designated for graduate students, e.g., NSF DDIGs). Graduate students may be listed as PI on sponsor forms as appropriate, but the student's
advisor will be listed as PI in SIMS.
|Staff||Cannot normally serve as PI on research awards. May serve as PI on non-research awards (instruction, outreach) with approval of Dean and/or administrative unit head. May serve as PI on research awards administered in Defense Related Research Units (ARL and EOC).||Yes**|
*Service of emeritus or retired faculty as either a principal investigator or co-investigator is subject to adherence to RAG03 "Processing Sponsored Projects Involving Retired Faculty Participation" and HR45 "Rehire of University SERS and TIAA/CREF Annuitants."
**With Department Head and Dean approval
The Office for Research Protections uses the term "Principal Investigator" to refer to the individual responsible for managing a research protocol (as in the case of human subjects research). The rules identified above are not intended to establish the criteria for serving as a PI on such protocols.
For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Office of the Vice President for Research, or the Office of the Corporate Controller.
HR45 - Post-Retirement Appointments
RAG03 - Retired Faculty Participation (Formerly RAG09, Processing Sponsored Projects Involving Retired Faculty Participation)
Revision History (and effective dates):