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PI Eligibility and Requesting Exceptions

PI Eligibility

Regular faculty members and research or fixed-term faculty employees of the University with a rank of assistant professor and higher, may be identified as the sole or co-principal investigator* on proposals seeking support for a sponsored research, education, or service project.

Individuals holding other appointment titles, such as, research associates, specialists, postdoctoral fellows, or visiting, adjunct and clinical faculty, normally may submit proposals only as co-investigators/key personnel with a regular MSU faculty member. Upon approval by the appropriate department chairperson, college-level research associate dean, and the Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies (OVPRGS), these non-regular faculty may serve as principal investigators or co-principal investigators.

*principal investigator and co-principal investigator definition: Both of these roles have the same level of authority and responsibility to direct the project or program being proposed.

Classification Can serve as a Principal Investigator / Co-Principal Investigator without requiring an exception Can serve as an Co-Investigator / Key Personnel without requiring an exception
Regular faculty with the rank of assistant professor or higher Yes Yes
Research or Fixed-term faculty with the rank of assistant professor or higher Yes Yes
Non regular faculty such as research associates*, specialists, postdoctoral fellows*, or visiting, adjunct and clinical faculty No – exception approval required as indicated below Yes

Steps for requesting exception approval:

  1. Prepare a memo requesting approval to submit as a PI/Co-PI on a proposal, and have the memo signed by the chairperson and associate dean for research.  The request should specify if it is for a specific proposal or a request for blanket approval for this and all future proposals.
  2. Prepare a draft Proposal Development document and indicate in the notes section, that OVPRGS approval is being requested.  This allows the Proposal Development document to be routed while you are waiting for the PI exception approval by OVPRGS.
  3. Email the request to vprfunds@msu.edu, indicating the application number from the Proposal Development document prepared in step two and request the review and approval for this exception by the OVPRGS.

NOTE:  The OVPRGS will need to receive the exception request by email at least three days prior to the intended submission date.  

  1. If approved or disapproved, the OVPRGS will email the decision to the person who submitted the request with a copy to the OSP administrative assistant.

* On many predoctoral or postdoctoral fellowship applications, sponsors consider the predoctoral or postdoctoral fellow the Principal Investigator.  For MSU purposes, the fellow does not need exception approval, but they must have a mentor that is included on the Proposal Development document and will oversee the project if awarded.

FAQ

Yes, as long as they are appointed with an approved role under MSU’s eligibility policy once at MSU. The following items should be addressed prior to proposal submission:

  • A copy of the signed offer letter must be sent to the appropriate OSP proposal team.
  • The project start date must be after the individual’s official MSU start date.
  • If the future faculty member’s start date is more than 6 months out, we must ensure that MSU can address regulatory and ownership issues. To confirm that the faculty member does not have obligations to their current institution for what is included in the proposal, a superior at the future faculty member’s current institution needs to provide approval of the submission through MSU. Email approval is sufficient. Please forward the approval to the appropriate OSP proposal team.
  • Future faculty members must disclose their employment status with MSU and the name of their current employer within the proposal. We recommend including the information in the budget justification.
  • Must have the ability to turn down the award if the future faculty member does not end up successfully transferring to MSU. Therefore, certain solicitations, that include language stating that the award is not negotiable (e.g. award without discussion), would not be eligible for submission.

Please contact your Proposal Team with any questions.

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