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Principal Investigator (PI) Eligibility Requirements


The purpose of this guidance is to ensure that individuals who are named as Principal Investigator (PI) on externally sponsored projects have sufficient authority, appropriate background and accountability to carry out all aspects of the project including assumption of fiscal responsibility.

Automatic Status

To have automatic PI status a person must be:

  • A faculty member paid by the UO, PNNL, or Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) with an active UO employment appointment in the following classifications: tenure related faculty, emeritus tenure related faculty, career research professor series, career research associate series, and career senior research assistants I and II. As in the past, retired faculty who had PI status prior to retiring will keep that status.
  • Post-Doctoral Fellows and Scholars have automatic PI status for all external award programs that are targeted for post-doctoral support (e.g. K99, NIH fellowships limited to post docs) and may apply for external support as a PI without requesting PI status for awards of $400,000 or less total award.
  • Ph.D. students who have advanced to candidacy have automatic PI status for all external award programs that are targeted for graduate student support (e.g. AHA or ACS fellowships).

The UO requires that all individuals with PI status[1]  who wish to remain active with external sponsorship complete an annual online certification training once every twelve months to keep them abreast of all relevant grant administration rules and policies and our expectations of them in their role as PI.  To complete the certification, sign in to the Electronic Proposal Clearing System (EPCS). At the Main Menu, click on the "PI certification" link on the right hand side under "Messages".

Additionally, we require that all individuals receiving PI status follow the UO Financial Conflicts of Interest (FCOI) policy and disclosure requirements as mandated by the federal government.  The Research Compliance Services web site contains the UO FCOI policy, disclosure forms, as well as FAQ's regarding financial conflicts of interest. All conflict of interest or disclosure questions should be directed to the Research Compliance Services.

PI eligibility must be met at the time of submission and again at the time of award for sponsored projects to be processed appropriately by Sponsored Projects Services.


The following individuals may be approved as a PI on a case by case basis or provided blanket status through the exception process:

  • Officers of Administration
  • Officers of Instruction
  • Research Assistants
  • Courtesy Faculty
  • Pro Tem Faculty

To request an exception, follow the link below to the PI / Co PI Exception Request Form.

Co-PI Status

A Co-PI may be anyone who has automatic PI status; an individual who has been granted Co-PI status via exemption process; or a graduate student or postdoctoral fellow who is submitting fellowship applications or research grants under the sponsorship of a UO faculty member who has automatic PI status.

Investigator Responsibilities

All PIs are obligated to adhere to the responsibilities of a PI as outlined in the UO's mandatory PI training administered by Sponsored Projects Services and all applicable IRB, IACUC, IBC and other university or sponsor policies and procedures.

Process for Requesting PI Status

Principal Investigator / Co Principal Investigator Exception Request Form with all required information and unit approvals must be submitted to the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation (via rds@uoregon.edu) no less than seven working days prior to the internal SPS deadline for submission to an external agency or an internal board.  We strive to respond to requests in five business days or less.

Application for PI status must be made by a dean, director, or department/unit head on behalf of an individual applicant. The submitting manager will affirm that they understand that the unit is responsible for the individual following all pertinent compliance and grant administration rules and regulations as well as any financial liabilities such as fees, pre-award spending guarantees or over-expenditure payments that might result. 

The UO reserves the right to not submit a proposal, pull back a submission or not accept an award for reasons such as: the PI, project or award terms and conditions do not conform to institutional rules and policy or the institution believes the terms and conditions of the award cannot be met.


Principal Investigator / Co Principal Investigator Exception Request Form

Additional UO Policy Information

See the Sponsored Projects Projects website at the following links:
Sponsored Project Administrator (SPA) contact information by department


[1] Students without sponsored research who only need PI status for the purposes submitting an IRB protocol are not required to complete the PI certification.