PI Eligibility & Exceptions

Eligibility to serve as a PI or Co-PI on externally-funded research projects is a privilege generally granted only to members of the Stanford Academic Council or to the Medical Center Line faculty. This policy is intended to ensure that the intellectual direction of research and scholarship is explicitly recognized as the responsibility of the PI. Designation as a project PI confers primary responsibility for the scientific, technical, and fiscal direction of the project to that individual. This designation, once granted to a specific named PI, may not be delegated to any other faculty member or staff member.

However, the University recognizes that there may be special situations for which it is acceptable to grant PI-ship to other individuals. Exceptions to the policy may be granted under special circumstances, and a waiver of PI status is required.

  • For example, a researcher who is otherwise not eligible may be approved to serve as PI on externally-funded activities related to the sponsorship of conferences, exhibits, workshops, or public events; specific projects that are part of a larger interdisciplinary program; or career development awards. These exceptions must be approved by the department chair and the school dean.  
  • In addition, the University recognizes that there may be other unique and rare situations that warrant an exception to the policy, such as allowing short-term PI-ship for a visiting faculty member or granting permission for a not-yet-approved faculty member to submit a proposal. In addition to department and school approval, these requests must also be approved by the Dean of Research. To learn more see RPH 2.1: Principal Investigator Eligibility and Criteria for Exceptions.
  • Note also that the University distinguishes between PI or co-PI and other project personnel designations (e.g., Associate Investigators), as may be needed in the presentation of specific proposal staffing requirements.   

Submission of the proposal in the name of a "nominal" Principal Investigator 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. See RPH 14.2: Academic Policies Pertaining to Sponsored Project Proposals.

PI Waiver Request Process
PI Waiver Request Process
PI Waiver Request Process