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.


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

  • Professor
  • Professor WOT
  • Research Professor
  • Associate Professor
  • Associate Professor WOT
  • Research Associate Professor
  • Assistant Professor
  • Assistant Professor WOT
  • Research Assistant 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 five years.  At the end of each five year period, the Department Chair/School Director/Program Director and the Dean will consider whether PI status shall be renewed.

  • Lecturer Competitive Recruitment (either Full-Time or Part-Time)
  • Senior Lecturer
  • 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 scholar (when the source of funding is from internal University of Washington funds)

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


The unit requesting PI status for an individual will submit the following documents to the Dean’s Office, attn: Rob Wood:

  • A memo 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.
  • The candidate’s CV

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

  • Signed original returned to the unit
  • Hard copy to the academic personnel file
  • Electronic copy to the PI status file on the College of the Environment shared drive


*As described in the Washington State Sea Grant PI Eligibility Policy dated 1 June 2010

**UW-PNNL Dual Appointees are automatically eligible for PI status without limitation as described in the 2011 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: January 5, 2017

Dean's Office Contacts: