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last updated 08/10/12

Principal Investigator Eligibility

Any individual who holds one of the following positions can be identified as a PI and submit proposals to external sponsors:

  • tenure-track faculty (full, associate, and assistant professors)
  • nontenure-track research faculty (full, associate, and assistant professors)
  • nontenure-track clinical faculty (full, associate, and assistant professors)
  • instructors
  • adjunct faculty
  • emeritus faculty
  • senior research investigators
  • librarians
  • curators

On a case-by-case basis, an individual who holds one of the following positions can be identified as a PI upon approval from the vice president for research :

  • visiting faculty
  • visiting scholars
  • lecturers

In general, research associates may not serve as PIs, but may seek approval from the vice president for research. Postdoctoral fellows and research assistants (graduate students) may not serve as PIs.

 

Process to Request Principal Investigator Status


When an individual without one of the above-listed automatically PI-eligible positions considers submitting a proposal as a principal investigator, a formal request must be prepared setting forth a rationale for the individual to serve as principal investigator. The request should be forwarded to the Executive Director of the Office for Sponsored Research (of the appropriate campus) via email, and must include the following elements:

1) Individual's CV
2) Individual's current appointment period at Northwestern
3) Sponsor and funding mechanism or program
4) Abstract of research
5) Estimated budget and period of performance
6) Indication of support of the request from the department chair (or equivalent) and dean's office

Please note that approval for principal investigator status is on a proposal-by-proposal basis. Additionally, it should be self-evident in a PI status request that a salary increase or an appointment is not contingent upon the success of any proposal.


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