Principal Investigator's Eligibility, Project Leadership and Exceptions

Proposals submitted for extramural funding of research, training, and public service projects, and extramural awards received for such projects, must name an eligible employee of UCI to serve as Principal Investigator.

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  • Principal/Co-Principal Investigator (PI) - The UCI employee/s who is/are responsible for the design, scientific/technical conduct, administrative conduct, and reporting of research, training, or public service projects supported by extramural funding. An essential qualification of the PI is that he or she will personally participate in the project to a significant degree. It is therefore contrary to University policy, to list as head of a project the name of an individual, however prestigious that person may be, who will contribute only a minimum or nominal portion of their own time and effort to the furtherance of the work.
  • Lead PI - The PI of a project as designated by a sponsor in accordance with its policy.
  • Investigator - A UCI employee who is responsible for a portion of the design, scientific/technical conduct, administrative conduct or reporting of a research, training, or public service project supported by extramural funding, without undertaking or assuming the responsibilities of PI.

Project Leadership

All UCI PIs are expected to lead their projects in accordance with University of California Statement of Ethical Values and Standards of Ethical Conduct and UCI Administrative Policies and Procedures Section 480-2.1: Responsibilities for Conduct & Administration of Research for Principal Investigators and Lead Researchers.

  • Multiple PIs - In the absence of contrary sponsor policy, UCI routinely considers all PIs listed in the proposal/funding application and/or in the award document to be equal with regard to project leadership.  For multiple PI projects, UCI designates the first PI in the funding application or resulting award as the “corresponding” or  "contact” PI responsible for technical communications with the sponsor's personnel.
  • Lead PI(s) - If a sponsor’s policy conflicts with UCI’s routine practice of recognizing multiple PIs, UCI will recognize the individual(s) named in the sponsor’s award
    document as the Lead PI(s). In doing so, UCI also recognizes the authority of the Lead PI(s) over other PIs and Investigators participating in the project.
    However, for proposal and award record keeping purposes, UCI continues to associate all PIs listed in the proposal/funding application with the award.

Who is Eligible to Serve as Principal Investigator

PI eligibility is determined in accordance with the University of California Systemwide Contract and Grant Manual (Subchapter 1-500). In addition, and with the approval of the appropriate campus official noted below, a person holding an appointment in one of the following title groups may serve as PI of a training or training-related research project:

  1. Supervisor of Physical Education (APM-300) - Vice Chancellor for Research approval
  2. Cooperative Extension Advisor (APM-335) - Vice Chancellor for Research approval
  3. Continuing Educator (APM-340) - Dean, Division of Continuing Education approval

Who is required to Obtain a Request for Exception to Principal Investigator Status?

Anyone who wishes to serve as Principal Investigator, but does not meet the eligibility criteria set forth above, must obtain a Request for Exception to Principal Investigator Status. This Exception, when approved, allows an otherwise eligible individual to submit proposals and lead awarded projects, and entrusts that individual with all the responsibilities and obligations incumbent upon PIs.

Authority to Approve a Request for Exception to Principal Investigator Status

Only officials delegated authority to do so in IDA 569 may approve an exception to the PI eligibility requirements contained in UCI Administrative Policies and Procedures 480-5: Principal Investigator Eligibility and Project Leadership or rescind a previously approved exception.

Procedures for Requesting an Exception to Principal Investigator Status

In accordance with the UCI Administrative Policies and Procedures 480-5.1, each official with delegated authority from IDA 569 is responsible for establishing implementing procedures within their coordinating point for:

  • requesting, analyzing (determining whether the request is in the best interests of the unit and UCI) and approving PI eligibility exceptions;
  • determining the duration of such approvals; and
  • rescinding an approved exception if a PI-by-exception does not comply with UCI/UC and/or sponsor policies, and applicable laws, regulations and governmental rules.

Notification of PI Eligibility

The approval by the Dean or ORU Director of a proposal in Kuali Research will serve as the notification that the Principal Investigator(s) is eligible to submit the proposal or an exception has been approved.