Principal Investigator Eligibility on Sponsored Projects, Policy on

Title: Principal Investigator Eligibility on Sponsored Projects, Policy on
Policy Owner: Office of the Vice President for Research, Sponsored Program Services
Applies to: All faculty, staff, and students
Campus Applicability: All Campuses, including UConn Health
Effective Date: December 22, 2022
For More Information, Contact: Office of the Vice President for Research, Sponsored Program Services
Contact Information: 860-486-3622 (Storrs and Regional Campuses)
860-679-4040 (UConn Health)
Official Website: (Storrs and Regional Campuses) (UConn Health)


This Policy sets forth the eligibility requirements for serving as a Principal Investigator (PI) or Co- Principal Investigator (Co-PI) at the University. This Policy also describes the processes for requesting and approving exceptions to the PI/Co-PI eligibility requirements.


All faculty, staff, and students involved in the administration of sponsored projects at University of Connecticut and all regional campuses, and UConn Health (“University”).


Principal Investigator (PI): This title identifies the individual, identified and determined by the grantee who is responsible for the conduct of the sponsored program project. This responsibility includes the intellectual conduct of the project, fiscal accountability, administrative aspects, and the project’s adherence to relevant policies and regulations. A project may have multiple individuals serving as PIs (multi- PIs) who share the authority and responsibility for leading and directing the project, intellectually and logistically. Each PI is responsible and accountable for the proper conduct of the project.

Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI): This designation refers to individuals who share the responsibility for the project with the Principal Investigator and therefore requires the same qualifications.

Project Director/Co-Project Director: Although not as commonly used by sponsors, this title is a synonym for Principal Investigator and Co-Principal Investigator respectively.


All externally funded projects conducted at the University are expected to be consistent with the teaching, research, and service missions of the University. All projects are therefore carried out within departments, centers or institutes, or other administrative units under the direction of a faculty member or comparable professional employee.

By defining Principal Investigator status as a limited set of designated individuals and/or job categories, and by procuring appropriate dean and department head approval, the University is assured that the proposed research is consistent with its missions and that the necessary space, equipment, facilities, and qualified personnel are available to conduct the proposed project. In all cases, the individual designated  as Principal Investigator is judged to be qualified to conduct an independent research or educational project. In addition, eligible faculty must meet all other University or sponsor requirements to serve as a PI.

Faculty members eligible to serve as Principal Investigators include members of the emeritus faculty and those faculty members who hold the following titles or rank*:

• Professor*
• Associate Professor*
• Assistant Professor*
• Research Scientist
• Research Scholar
• Research Instructor

*These ranks include academic faculty, research faculty, clinical faculty, and other full-time faculty, with the exception of visiting faculty or other short-term appointments.

Professional staff normally eligible to serve as Principal Investigator:
Professional staff members normally eligible to serve as Principal Investigators include staff who hold titles typically associated with independent activity, whose appointment is subject to a rigorous review of credentials, and who have supervisor approval (i.e., signature on the proposal routing sheet), including:

• Dean
• Associate Dean
• Assistant Dean Director
• Associate Director
• Assistant Director
• Curator
• Educational Program Managers
• Program Director

Categories of employment normally considered ineligible to serve as Principal Investigator:

• Instructor
• Assistant Instructor
• Lecturer
• Post-doctoral Appointees, other than those receiving a fellowship
• Research Associates
• Research Assistants and fellows
• Visiting and other short-term appointees
• Students, other than those receiving a fellowship

In special cases, exceptions may be made. These special cases require the approval of the appropriate Faculty Sponsor, Department Chair, Dean and Sponsored Program Services prior to proposal submission. In the case of a denial by Sponsored Program Services, appeals may be directed to the Associate Vice President for Research, Sponsored Program Services.


Violations of this policy may result in appropriate disciplinary measures in accordance with University Laws and By-Laws, General Rules of Conduct for All University Employees, applicable collective bargaining agreements, and the University of Connecticut Student Code.


Storrs and Regional Campuses:
Request for Approval to Serve as Principal Investigator Form

UConn Health:
Request to Serve as Principal Investigator Form


Policy approval date: December 12, 2022

This is a new policy combining two previous and separate policies at Storrs/regional campuses, and UConn Health and establishes one shared policy for Storrs/regional campuses, and UConn Health:
Storrs/Regional Campuses Policy, “Principal Investigator Eligibility,” created on 6/5/2009, and revised on 6/22/2015
UConn Health Policy 2008-05, “Senior/key personnel & Committed Effort,” created on 12/16/2008, and revised on 10/8/2013