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Principal Investigator (PI) Eligibility Policy

The role of a Principal Investigator (PI) carries with it full authority for the administrative, scientific, technical, and financial management of a sponsored project awarded to The Research Foundation for The State University of New York at Stony Brook University (RF).  As such, the individual associated with Stony Brook University (SBU) must be an approved representative in good standing in order to fulfill their role as an award recipient.  S/he would be primarily responsible for the design, conduct and reporting of their sponsored award and is subject to the policies and procedures dictated by SBU, RF and the sponsor.  Failure to comply with The Research Foundation’s and Stony Brook University’s policies and procedures may result in unfavorable review, denial of funding, request for clarification documentation, additional terms and conditions as well as other enforcement actions imposed by the sponsors.

This policy applies to all sponsored projects administered by RF.

To serve as Principal Investigator on a sponsored project, an individual must have a current faculty appointment. 

Titles that require no prior approval from Chair to serve as PI include: Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Professor, Distinguished Professor, Clinical Professor, Toll Professor, Research Assistant Professor, Research Associate Professor, Research Professor, Librarian (Asst., Assoc.)

University administrators in leadership roles (e.g., Directors, position classification MC3 or higher) are also eligible to serve as Principal Investigators and must identify appropriate reporting structure.

PIs who do not hold one of the titles mentioned above will need approval during the myResearch proposal routing by their Department Chair, their Center Director, their Dean (or Dean’s designee) or the appropriate senior leadership linked to their unit designation. It is important that the appropriate PI title is selected in the application (question 2 under the Proposal Description & Contacts Smartform).

  1. Individuals holding academic appointments other than those mentioned above need approval from their Chair or authorized unit leader to serve as Principal Investigator on externally sponsored projects.  These titles include: Adjunct Professor, Lecturer, Instructor, Visiting Professor (Asst., Assoc.), Voluntary Professor (Asst., Assoc.).
  2. Employees whose primary responsibility is to carry out research but who do not have a faculty appointment (e.g., postdoctoral trainee, research associate, fellow, (senior) research scientist) are eligible to serve as PI with authorization from the Department Chair, Center Director and their Dean (or Dean’s designee) or the appropriate senior leadership of other University units.
  3. University employees who do not have a faculty appointment but who wish to serve as a PI on a grant require approval from the respective Dean/Provost. Such employees may also require OSP approval to be granted PI role in myResearch Grants.

Important notes:

  • Eligibility to serve as PI for any specific award must be in accordance with sponsor terms and conditions.
  • A faculty appointment is not required in the case of co-investigator status.
  • All proposals require approval of the Chair and/or Center Director and the Dean (or their designee) before submission to the sponsor.  These approvals acknowledge that the applicant has the necessary skills and authority to perform the proposed work, that appropriate facilities and effort will be made available by the department and school, and that project and budgetary oversight will be provided.
  • Researchers who do not have a faculty appointment at the time of proposal submission, but expect to have an appointment at the time of award, are permitted to be listed as PI if there is a written statement from the appropriate Chair or Dean, prior to submission and included in the myResearch proposal, indicating that faculty appointment will be completed by the time the award is made.  
  • Emeritus faculty must have a faculty appointment and approval of the Chair and/or Center Director to serve as PI.

Special considerations:

  • Graduate Student Applications: Campus policy requires graduate students to apply for grants under the direction of an advisor who holds a faculty appointment.   The faculty advisor is the PI/PD and the student is the co-investigator internally, even if the sponsor requires that the student be listed as PI/PD on the grant application. The title of the research will be, for example, “Fellowship Research for....(student name) the study of....,” or “Dissertation Improvement Grant for....”
  • Non-Resident Investigators: Non U.S. residents who wish to apply for funding must meet sponsor requirements as to their eligibility to serve as PI/PD.  Additionally, they must determine if their visa status will allow them to participate. To do this, the best resource available is the International Academic Programs and Services Office at 631-632-7656/4685.
  • Non-immigrant Investigators: Non-immigrants to the United States, wishing to apply for sponsor funding, must have the appropriate immigration status to participate in the proposed activity.  In cases where the sponsor requires U.S. Permanent Residence (green card) or U.S. citizenship for application these requirements must be met. In cases where Permanent Residence and /or citizenship are not sponsor requirements, please contact the Office of International Academic Programs and Services for information on obtaining the appropriate non-immigrant status for participation on a particular project. Additional information on immigrant and non-immigrant statuses in the United States may be obtained by contacting Visa and Immigration Services at 631-632-4685.
  • Outside Collaborators and PI Status:  Outside collaborators (non-SBU personnel) may not be listed as co-PIs on SBU proposals.  Outside collaborators are not SBU faculty members and do not have an on-going contractual or employment relationship with SBU. Therefore, they must be recognized in other ways in a proposal. Alternatives for working with and recognizing the key roles of faculty from other institutions include collaborative proposals, subcontracts and consultancies.