PI Eligibility

Only eligible University at Albany (UA) faculty and staff may serve as a Principal Investigator (PI) on externally funded research, training, or other sponsored project.


Policy Statement

To serve as a PI, the employee must personally participate in the project to a significant degree. The PI bears primary responsibility for the intellectual conduct of a project and accepts overall responsibility for directing the research, overseeing financial transactions, and complying with the sponsor’s terms and conditions and relevant policies and procedures.

UA Faculty and Staff Eligible to Serve as a PI Include:

1. Academic appointees who hold the following titles: Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Instructor; Research Professor, Associate Research Professor, Assistant Research Professor; Librarian, Associate Librarian, Senior Assistant Librarian or Assistant Librarian are automatically eligible to serve as a PI on externally sponsored projects.
2. Researchers who do not have faculty status at the time of application, but expect to be appointed at the time of award, are permitted to be listed as a PI. At the time of application there must be in place a memo to Sponsored Programs Administration from the appropriate chair or dean indicating that, by the time the award is made, the faculty appointment will be completed.
3. Academic appointees with the titles Emeritus, Adjunct, or Visiting Professor may serve as a PI on externally sponsored projects only with the prior written approval of the cognizant dean.
4. Non-academic professional staff may serve as a PI on an externally sponsored project only with the prior written approval of the Vice President for Research
5. Co-Investigators, other than students, must meet the same criteria for eligibility as a PI.
6. Pre- and post-doctoral student eligibility for PI status is limited to applications to fulfill a sponsor requirement. The faculty advisor or sponsor who independently qualifies as a PI will be listed as a co-investigator. Applicants in this category require prior written approval of the appropriate dean of the college or school in which the student is registered.
7. In rare circumstances in which a UA employee wishes to serve as a PI but does not meet the eligibility criteria set forth above, a request for an exception to this policy must be submitted to the Vice President for Research for consideration.

Should you require approval per the guidelines above, please complete the Principal Investigator (PI) Eligibility Determination Form and contact your Research Administrator at [email protected].

It is the intent of this policy that only UA faculty, staff and students with PI status apply for external funding for sponsored projects.

This policy applies to all individuals seeking PI or Co-I status on any sponsored project.


Principal Investigator
A Principal Investigator (PI) is a University at Albany (UA) faculty or staff member who bears responsibility for the intellectual leadership of a project. The PI accepts overall responsibility for directing the research, financial oversight, and compliance with relevant university policies and sponsor terms and conditions.

An individual collaborating with the PI in the scientific development or execution of a project may be a Co-Investigator. A Co-Investigator typically devotes a specified percentage of time to the project and is considered “key personnel.” The designation of a Co-Investigator does not affect the PI’s role as having primary responsibility for directing the research, financial oversight, and compliance with relevant university policies and sponsor terms and conditions.

Sponsored Project
A Sponsored Project is any externally funded research, training, evaluative testing, or public service project directed by UA faculty or staff as part of their university work that requires the university to perform a specified program or deliver a specified product.


Who should know this Policy
• Provost
• Vice Presidents
• Deans and Associate Deans
• Department Chairs
• Principal Investigators
• Sponsored Programs staff

Principal Investigator
• Obtain eligibility to serve as PI prior to making an application for sponsored project funding
• Comply with this and all other applicable UA and The Research Foundation, SUNY policies

Department Chair
• Promote faculty and staff awareness of this policy
• Approve for submission only those sponsored project applications from individuals who qualify to serve as a PI under this policy

• Approve PI eligibility for Emeritus, Adjunct, or Visiting Professors
• Approve PI eligibility for students seeking PI status

Vice President for Research
• Approve PI eligibility for non-academic professional staff
• On rare occasions, grant an exception to this policy

Sponsored Programs Staff
• Submit only those applications for sponsored project funding from an eligible PI

Contact Information:
Sponsored Programs Administration

Management Services Center 100A
Albany, NY 12222
Phone: (518) 437-4550
E-mail: [email protected]