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Eligibility: Principal Investigator or Project DirectorSPA-11-006


This policy applies to all Indiana University faculty and staff involved in the submission of applications for externally funded sponsored programs.

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Policy Statement

It is the policy of Indiana University that only individuals meeting the eligibility requirements of a principal investigator or project director as defined in this policy may be listed as such on applications for externally funded sponsored programs.

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Reason for Policy

To establish guidelines and best practices for determining who may serve as principal investigator or project director on applications for externally sponsored programs.

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Each project must have a designated principal investigator (PI) or project director (PD). 

The PI/PD generally is a tenured or tenure-track faculty member of the University but may be any full-time academic appointee or staff who is personally and professionally qualified to conduct the project as determined by the dean or director of the submitting unit.  Approval of the routing form by the submitting unit or dean’s office constitutes the unit’s approval of the employee as PI/PD.

Full-time faculty members (regardless of academic rank) and full-time staff are eligible to serve as PI/PD. Other persons (such as visiting faculty or retired faculty) are eligible to serve as PI/PD upon approval by the dean and research office. In such cases, a Memorandum of Understanding must be signed and on file with the appropriate research office and a full-time faculty member may be required to serve as a co-PI/PD. Please contact the research office for guidance.

Some individual fellowship application guidelines require that the fellow be listed as PI/PD (e.g. NIH National Research Service Awards). In these cases a sponsor or mentor meeting the eligibility criteria above must be named as project director on IU proposal records. This individual is responsible for administrative and scientific oversight of the project.

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Principal Investigator/Project Director: The Principal Investigator or Project Director is the individual designated by the grantee, and approved by the sponsoring agency, who will be responsible for the scientific or technical direction of the project.

Sponsored Program: Any activity that receives funding from outside the University. Sponsored projects may also be known as sponsored programs or sponsored agreements.

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Failure to adhere to this policy and procedures may result in the Office of Research Administration not submitting an application or accepting an award.

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  • Important Notice 02-9 “Project Director Eligibility”

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