To clarify the criteria for Principal Investigator (PI) eligibility and provide a procedure for seeking eligibility on a case-by-case basis for those not automatically granted PI status.


A PI is the individual responsible for the conduct of research or other activity described in a proposal for an award, including the responsibilities for fiscal management outlined in GIM 02.


A UW employee holding any one of the following titles in the College of the Environment is automatically eligible to serve as a PI:

  • Professor
  • Professor WOT
  • Research Professor
  • Teaching Professor
  • Associate Professor
  • Associate Professor WOT
  • Research Associate Professor
  • Associate Teaching Professor
  • Assistant Professor
  • Assistant Professor WOT
  • Research Assistant Professor
  • Assistant Teaching Professor
  • Professor of Practice
  • Assistant or Associate Dean
  • Director level of a major program
  • Washington State Sea Grant Professional Staff (grades 11 and above)
  • Emeritus

The following titles may also be eligible, but must be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Department Chair/School Director/Program Director and the Dean.  PI status will be granted for a period of up to five years and is authorized as long as the individual continues to be employed by the college in a PI-eligible title and complies with all applicable sponsor requirements and university policies and procedures.  At the end of each authorized period, the Department Chair/School Director/Program Director and the Dean will consider whether PI status shall be renewed.

  • Lecturer Competitive Recruitment (Part-Time)
  • Research Scientist/Engineer of Grade 9 or higher
  • Washington State Sea Grant Professional Staff (grades 9 and 10)*
  • Clinical (Assistant, Associate or Full) Professor/(Assistant, Associate or Full) Professor of Practice
  • Acting Titles
  • Artist in Residence
  • UW-Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Dual Appointee**

Postdoctoral Scholars may also be eligible to serve as a PI for individual proposals under the circumstances outlined in the College’s Postdoctoral Scholar PI Eligibility and Approval Process policy.

A unit may define PI eligibility more stringently than College of the Environment policy.


The Dean has delegated authority to the Associate Dean of Research to authorize PI Status for individuals whose titles are included in the case-by-case determination list.

The unit requesting PI status for an individual should submit the following documents to the Dean’s Office, attn: Shuyi Chen. Requests to be considered for PI status should be submitted no later than 60 days prior to any specific anticipated proposal submission deadline to allow sufficient time for review. Exceptions to this 60-day notice may be requested when

  • A memo (in docx format) addressed to the Dean requesting concurrence on granting PI status
    • Use Memo Template #1 for granting PI status to a newly hired faculty member who has not yet arrived on campus. The newly hired faculty member will also have to be granted an Affiliate appointment in order to be eligible for early PI status. Please follow the standard procedure for granting an Affiliate appointment and include the results of the faculty vote on the Affiliate appointment in your memo.
    • Use Memo Template #2 for granting PI status to UW employees not holding a position automatically eligible for PI status. Template 2 should also be used for seeking Dean’s concurrence on renewal of PI status for these individuals.
    • Use the approval form for Postdoctoral Scholars for requesting approval for a Postdoctoral Scholar to serve as a PI on a single proposal.
  • The individual’s current CV

The request for PI status will then be evaluated by the Associate Dean of Research.  If approved, the Associate Dean of Research will sign the concurrence memo and copies will be filed as follows:

  • Electronically signed copy returned to the unit
  • Electronic copy to the academic personnel file, when applicable
  • Electronic copy to the PI status file on the College of the Environment shared drive

*As described in the Washington Sea Grant PI Eligibility Policy dated 29 May 2020

**UW-PNNL Dual Appointees are automatically eligible for PI status without limitation as described in the 2016 UW-PNNL MOU Concerning Dual Appointees, so the dual appointment itself must be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Department Chair/School Director and the Dean.

Effective Date: January 1, 2013
Last Review Date: November 16, 2020

Dean's Office Contact: