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Principal Investigator Status Policy

Policy
Purpose: 

To describe conditions under which individuals will be allowed to serve as Principal Investigator on proposals for sponsored projects submitted through the KU Center for Research (KUCR) or the University of Kansas (KU).

Applies to: 

Individuals seeking to submit sponsored project proposals through KUCR or KU

Campus: 
Lawrence
Policy Statement: 

The Principal Investigator (PI) is the person ultimately responsible for the scope, fiscal affairs, and administration of a sponsored project. The PI is responsible for ensuring that all sponsored research takes place in accordance with the terms under which the grant was issued and that this research complies with all applicable Federal, State, and University regulations. All proposals and sponsored projects must designate one person as the PI. In order to be designated as the PI on a proposal or sponsored project, an individual must first have PI status.

There are four different types of PI status on the Lawrence campus: regular, special, project-specific, and limited-term (which are explained below). The Lawrence campus does not grant any type of PI status to students.

Other researchers who participate in carrying out the scope of a sponsored project and share in the credit are usually identified as Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI) or Co-Investigator (Co-I). The PI may delegate to a Co-PI or Co-I responsibilities for fiscal, administrative, or other aspects of the project. But the PI ultimately bears the overall responsibility for the project. In order to serve as a Co-PI or Co-I, an individual must first be granted PI Status.

Project Specific Status may be granted to adjunct faculty or research affiliates (who are not employees of the University of Kansas) to facilitate certain research collaborations.

When a portion of a project is conducted under a subcontract with another institution, it is not necessary to request PI status for individuals employed through that subcontract. The University of Kansas will recognize PI status granted by the subcontracting institution.

When two or more individuals decide to share the PI responsibility for a sponsored project, each individual will be designated as Co-PI. However, one of the individuals must still be designated as the official PI and bear ultimate responsibility for the project in the eyes of KU and in the eyes of the sponsor.

Regular PI Status

Faculty and academic staff on the Lawrence campus who have one or more of the official job titles listed below automatically attain PI status, effective with their written acceptance of appointment.

  • Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor
  • Librarian, Associate Librarian, Assistant Librarian
  • Senior Scientist, Associate Scientist, Assistant Scientist,
  • Junior Scientist
  • Senior Curator, Associate Curator, Assistant Curator,
  • Junior Curator
  • Senior Specialist, Associate Specialist, Assistant Specialist,
  • Junior Specialist
  • Research Professor, Associate Research Professor,
  • Assistant Research Professor
  • Clinical Professor
  • Clinical Associate Professor
  • Clinical Assistant Professor

The KU Lawrence campus honors regular PI status granted to individuals at other KU campuses once the other campus confirms that status to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research.

When a tenure-track faculty member is denied tenure, the faculty member automatically loses the privilege of submitting new sponsored research proposals, effective on the date of notification of their denial of tenure. All other rights and responsibilities associated with PI status continue until the effective date of that faculty member's termination.

Emeritus faculty retain their PI status. However, they must submit a signed statement of commitment agreeing to comply with all relevant University regulations relating to the conduct of sponsored research projects (see Principal Investigator Acknowledgment of Responsibilities) and they must demonstrate that a department or other unit on campus will provide project oversight services and any research space needed to support their activities.

Special PI Status

The University may grant special PI status to certain directors, research associates, and courtesy appointees. These individuals must possess credentials similar to those persons described in the regular PI status category and be regular employees of the University.

To obtain special PI status, the individual's supervisor must submit to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research:

  • a letter of recommendation based on the nominee's expertise,
  • a copy of the nominee's curriculum vita,
  • a statement that the supervisor's unit agrees to support and house any project awarded under the nominee's direction,
  • and a signed statement of commitment from the individual agreeing to comply with all relevant University regulations relating to the conduct of sponsored research projects.

Requests for special PI status must be submitted at least three (3) working weeks (15 working days) prior to the deadline for submission of the proposal.

If there is a change in the appointment of a person who has Special PI status, that person must be re-nominated for PI status.

Project-Specific PI Status

The University may grant project-specific PI status to unclassified or University Support Staff employees of the University who do not qualify for regular or special PI status, visiting faculty, postdoctoral researchers for whom submission of grants is an express requirement or expectation of their employment or training, and research affiliates, adjunct faculty and others who possess qualifications similar to those persons described in the regular PI status category but are not regular employees of the University. This status is granted only on a project-by-project basis and must be requested for each new proposed project.

To obtain project-specific PI status for employees of the University or postdoctoral researchers the individual's department chair or supervisor must submit to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research:

  • a letter of recommendation based on the nominee's expertise that addresses the relevance of the project to the nominee's regular employment responsibilities,
  • the project's title,
  • a copy of the nominee's curriculum vita,
  • a statement that the supervisor's unit agrees to support and house the specific project, and
  • a signed statement of commitment from the individual agreeing to comply with all relevant University regulations relating to the conduct of sponsored research projects (see Principal Investigator Acknowledgment of Responsibilities checklist)

Requests for project-specific status must be submitted at least three (3) working weeks (15 working days) prior to the deadline for submission of the proposal.

Limited-Term PI Status

In special circumstances, if the unclassified or University Support Staff for whom the status is requested has an established record of proposal submissions with prior approved project-specific PI status the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research may assign a limited-term PI status for a certain time frame. In these cases, the department chair or supervisor will be informed of this decision and the individual involved will be allowed to submit other proposals within the specified time frame without additional requests for PI status. However, after the specified time frame elapses or if the appointment of the individual changes before that, new submissions will require PI status requests to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research as appropriate to the circumstances.

PI Status for Non-University Employees

PI status is not usually granted to individuals who are not employed by the University of Kansas. But if there are compelling reasons for requesting this status for adjunct faculty or research affiliates, then a request from the hosting department or center for project specific PI status must be made.

When project specific PI status is requested for individuals who are not employees of the University, the director of the unit with which the individual is affiliated must submit to the office of the Vice Chancellor for Research:

  • A letter of recommendation based on the nominee’s expertise that clearly specifies the rationale for granting project-specific PI status, and describes arrangements for insuring compliance with all relevant laws and regulations governing the activities to be undertaken,
  • the project's title,
  • a copy of the nominee's curriculum vita
  • a statement that the supervisor's unit agrees to support and house the specific project, and
  • a signed statement of commitment from the individual agreeing to comply with all relevant University regulations relating to the conduct of sponsored research projects (see Principal Investigator Acknowledgment of Responsibilities checklist)

Requests for project-specific PI status for non-university employees should be submitted as far in advance of the specific grant deadline as possible and in no cases less than three (3) working weeks (15 working days) prior to the submission deadline for the grant.

Consequences: 

Proposals that list individuals without PI status as PI or co-PI will not be processed, approved or submitted, and awards made for proposals that do not comply with these procedures may be declined.

Contact: 

Dr. Rodolfo H. Torres
Associate Vice Chancellor
785-864-7237

Approved by: 
Vice Chancellor for Research
Approved on: 
Monday, January 5, 2009
Effective on: 
Monday, January 5, 2009
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
Keywords: 
Principal Investigator Status, Sponsored Projects, Research
Review, Approval & Change History: 

07/11/2016: Updated to remove gendered pronouns.

02/17/2016: Updated office name and contact information.

10/14/2015: PI Acknowledgement of Responsibilities Checklist link updated.

09/10/2015: PI Acknowledgement of Responsibilities Checklist document and link updated.

12/15/2014: Policy formatting cleanup (e.g., bolding, spacing).

06/16/2014: Changed references to 'Office of Research & Graduate Studies' to 'Office of Research', formatting updates, and fixed broken/incorrect links.

10/15/2012: Revised for addition of limited-term status.

09/10/2012: Revised - updated contact information.

06/13/2012: Revised formatting and addition of one category of employment under regular PI status.

11/30/2010: Revised terminology for Librarians.

08/28/2009: Revised.

Research and Sponsored Projects Category: 
Research and Sponsored Projects

Moderation History

Updated: July 11, 2016 - 11:38

Log message: Edited by ruthwalters@ku.edu.

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