Research Policy Handbook


Academic Policies Pertaining to Sponsored Project Proposals

Now in Policy Details

1. Principal Investigator Eligibility

Only members of the Academic Council are eligible to submit proposals to outside agencies. Academic Council members include the ranks of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor and Professor, and in the non-tenure line, Professor and Associate Professor of [Subject], (Teaching), (Performance), (Clinical), (Research), or (Applied Research), as well as certain senior University staff.

Any exceptions to this policy must be approved by the appropriate School Dean, and by the Vice Provost and Dean of Research, as outlined in RPH:  Principal Investigatorship (PI) Eligibility and Criteria for Exceptions. A copy of the approval memorandum must be part of the final proposal package submitted to the Office of Sponsored Research.

Stanford University requires all PIs to review their obligations for stewardship of sponsor funds and compliance with applicable regulations. For that purpose, specialized briefings are conducted. Individuals may also certify their review of this material on this website.

Those ineligible for PI status may be identified as Associate Investigators, but not as Co-PIs.

Professors Emeriti must be recalled to active duty during the period of any research grant or contract for which they are PI. This is done by the academic department, which submits a Short-Form Appointment Request through the Dean's and the Provost's Offices. Permission to submit a proposal is contingent upon this appointment, and no formal acceptance of the grant or contract may be made until the appointment is in hand. A signature of departmental approval on the proposal routing sheet signifies the department's willingness to recall the faculty member.

Proposals must be submitted in the name of the individual who will be primarily responsible for the scientific, technical, and fiscal direction of the project. Submission of the proposal in the name of a "nominal" PI who then delegates primary responsibility to an ineligible PI is inconsistent with the responsibility of Academic Council members for the intellectual direction of the University and is not permitted.

2. Educational Component

Sponsored projects should have an educational component, typically evidenced by student involvement (either with or without charge to the project), for purposes of training and support of students doing thesis or dissertation-level research.

3. Openness in Research

Proposals must not result in a grant, contract, or any form of agreement whose terms would violate the policy on Openness in Research adopted by the Academic Senate . The University will not accept a project which violates this policy. To avoid questions of conflict of interest or non-compliance with the Openness in Research policy, the full identity of a particular sponsor must be made known for all sponsored projects. [See Openness in Research checklist]

4. Presence at Stanford

A PI may be absent from campus yet remain engaged in a project. In cases where the PI of an on-going sponsored project will be disengaged from the project for a period of three months or more, another Academic Council member must be named as Acting PI (see RPH 2.2) to assume direction of the project, subject to approval of the sponsoring agency.

5. Rights and Safeguards

Any proposals for activities involving:

Require the approval of a protocol by the appropriate Administrative Panel for Research Compliance. These Panels assure Stanford's compliance with applicable federal regulations in these areas. Questions in this regard may be directed to the Research Compliance Director.