Principal Investigator Status

Policy on Eligibility for the Submission of Extramural Support Proposals and Procedures for Obtaining Exceptions*

* Please Note: Requests for exception with all required materials (see Section 5) should be submitted online via this Smartsheet form (processed updated 7/20/22). For more information regarding the policy or the procedure for requesting exceptions please email: in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research.

August 8, 2018 (Supersedes previous policies)

1. Definitions

Principal Investigator (PI): An individual who has primary responsibility for the design, execution, and management of a research project and who will be involved in the project in a significant manner.

Project Director: An individual who has primary responsibility for the design, execution, and management of a training or public service project and who will be involved in the project in a significant manner.

2. Policy

a. Proposals for extramural support of research, training or public service projects may be submitted only by eligible Berkeley campus appointees who have primary responsibility for design, execution, and management of the project, who will be involved in the project in a significant manner, and who will serve on a research project as Principal Investigator or on a training or public service project as Project Director.

i. In those instances when two or more Principal Investigators are listed in a proposal, the first person named will be responsible for the overall supervision and management of the proposed project.

ii. In instances of multi-institutional projects, researchers who do not hold Berkeley campus appointments may be included as Principal Investigators for that portion of a project conducted under their direct supervision with project funds allocated or subcontracted to their home institution. In instances in which such subcontracting is impracticable, individuals without Berkeley appointments can be named as Principal Investigators but they can not be the first PI listed. The first Principal Investigator listed in the proposal must hold an eligible Berkeley campus appointment (see section 3 for eligibility criteria).

b. "Primary responsibility" as defined in paragraph "a" above may not be re-delegated explicitly or implicitly to individuals who do not qualify in their own right to serve as Principal Investigator or Project Director.

c. Comprehensive proposals embracing more than one project may be submitted only by an individual or group of individuals who meet the criteria in paragraph "a" above for the entire program.

d. Principal Investigator status, granted by virtue of the appointment held or through exception, is not determinative of the individual's academic appointment in terms of level or period. All periods of University employment are governed solely by an individual's appointment as approved by a designated campus official.

3. Eligibility for Submission of Extramural Support Proposals

a. Eligibility through appointment

  • Members of the Academic Senate, including Emeriti (see Attachment #1).
  • Appointees in the Agronomist series, including Emeriti (see Attachment #2).
  • Appointees in the Adjunct Professor Series
  • Appointees in the Continuing Education series at ranks VII or VIII (for continuing education programs only).
  • Cooperative Extension Specialists
  • Appointees in the Professional Research Series whose salaries are drawn from central campus funds.1

b. Eligibility through exception approved by the Chancellor or his delegated representative:

  • Clinical Professors
  • Appointees in the Professional Research series, funded from non-central campus, extramural, funds.
  • Project series
  • Other appointees.

4. Exceptional Principal Investigator (PI) Status: Policy Criteria

a. Exceptions normally are limited to a specific project (i.e., proposal). In extremely rare cases, exceptions may be granted to an individual on a continuing basis if that individual has a demonstrated record of frequently submitting proposals for extramural support. The duration of continuing status approvals is up to the discretion of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research.

b. Approval of an exception requires demonstration that the proposed project or program is sufficiently important to the achievement of educational, research or public service goals of the submitting unit and of the University, to justify an additional locus of independent project development and the explicit or implicit allocation of University resources, given the keen competition for the scarce financial and space resources controlled by the administering unit.

c. The support of graduate students and/or postdocs in the conduct of their research, and/or the participation of undergraduate students in the research project, should be a component of the project or program for which the eligibility exception is being requested.

d. Individuals recommended for Principal Investigator status on a research project must possess qualifications which satisfy the general standards of research competence appropriate to the professorial rank and step comparable to the non-Senate academic appointment held by the candidate. Recommendations for service as Project Director on a training or public service project will be evaluated in terms of individual competence in the program area.

5. Procedures

a. Requests for exceptions must include:

  • A completed justification form with required signatures (Download and complete this justification form. Only this form will be accepted.)
  • A copy of the applicant's curriculum vitae
  • A one page summary of the applicant's proposed project (project-specific) or research (continuing)
  • A budget and/or budget justification (Optional for continuing status requests).

b. Requests for exceptions are initiated by the head of the unit that will administer the project or program and submitted through normal reporting channels, in the cases of Colleges, Divisions, and Schools, to the cognizant Dean, or, in the cases of Organized Research Units (ORUs) with a direct reporting relationship to the Vice Chancellor for Research, to the unit ORU Director.

Special attention should be given to the issue of resource constraints. Requests must include a commitment on the part of the administering unit to provide the laboratory and/or office space required by the project, as well as a statement of ability on the part of the administering unit to absorb any demands on staff workload that the project is likely to produce.

c. The offices of Deans or ORU Directors will forward requests from within their jurisdiction to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research for decision. All request materials, including a completed justification form with required signatures, should be submitted through the online Exceptional PI Status Request form (Smartsheet). Final decisions will be communicated to the point of contact specified in the online system.

d. 5-8 business days should be allowed for necessary review and decision once the request is received in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research.

e. While the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research strongly recommends the submission of requests with sufficient time for full review and decision prior to the sponsoring agency's proposal deadline, approval of Exceptional PI status is not required at the proposal stage. However, awards will not be established without Exceptional PI status approval. If Exceptional PI status approval is not established at the proposal stage, an appropriate qualifying statement shall be appended to the Sponsored Projects Office transmittal letter, noting that the proposal will be revised or withdrawn if approval of the exception is denied.

6. Coordination

The Office of the Vice Chancellor Research shall be responsible for maintaining up-to-date records on all cases.

1. Appointees in the professional research series whose positions are funded extramurally must obtain principal investigator status through exception.




ACADEMIC SENATE - membership as excerpted from Regents Standing Order 105.1(a):

  1. The Academic Senate shall consist of the President, Vice Presidents, Chancellors, Vice Chancellors, Deans, Provosts, Directors of academic programs, the chief admissions officer on each campus and in the Office of the President, registrars, the University Librarian on each campus of the University, and each person giving instruction in any curriculum under the control of the Academic Senate whose academic title is Instructor, Instructor in Residence; Assistant Professor, Assistant Professor in Residence, Assistant Professor of Clinical (e.g., Medicine); Associate Professor, Associate Professor in Residence, Associate Professor of Clinical (e.g., Medicine), Acting Associate Professor; Professor, Professor in Residence, Professor of Clinical (e.g., Medicine), or Acting Professor; Lecturer with Potential for Security of Employment, Lecturer with Security of Employment, Acting Lecturer with Security of Employment, Senior Lecturer with Security of Employment, or Acting Senior Lecturer with Security of Employment; however, Instructors and Instructors in Residence of less than two years' service shall not be entitled to vote. Members of the faculties of professional schools offering courses at the graduate level only shall be members also of the Academic Senate, but, in the discretion of the Academic Senate, may be excluded from participation in activities of the Senate that relate to curricula of other schools and colleges of the University. Membership in the Senate shall not lapse because of leave of absence or by virtue of transference to emeritus status.
  2. The Academic Senate shall determine its own membership under the above rule, and shall organize, and choose its own officers and committees in such manner as it may determine.
  3. The Academic Senate shall perform such duties as the Board may direct and shall exercise such powers as the Board may confer upon it. It may delegate to its divisions or committees, including the several faculties and councils, such authority as is appropriate to the performance of their respective functions.



Agronomist Series - appointments limited to Agricultural Experiment Station - College of Natural Resources:

Assistant (Plant Pathologist) in the Experiment Station
Associate (Nutritionist) in the Experiment Station

(Entomologist) in the Experiment Station.


Updated: 10/01/20