PI Eligibility, Role, and Responsibilities

PI Information

From this section, PIs will see information regarding:

  • What confers automatic PI eligibility?
  • If the employment role does not automatically confer PI status, how can one be requested?
  • What are the roles and responsibilities of a PI?

PI Eligibility 

Several employment titles automatically confer PI/CoPI status due to the roles and responsibilities that come with that title. Titles of Professor, Associate Professor, and Assistant Professor and to library faculty holding the titles of Librarian, Associate Librarian, and Assistant Librarian. Other job titles whose workload includes research responsibility Other non-tenured research titles, whose workload includes research responsibility, also qualify for automatic PI status; these titles include Research Professor, Research Associate Professor, Research Assistant Professor, Clinical Professor, Clinical Associate Professor, Clinical Assistant Professor, and Research Scientists levels II-IV . Other administrative titles are also eligible for automatic PI status provided the individual is a full-time employee: Vice President, Associate Vice President, Assistant Vice President, Dean, Associate Dean, and Assistant Dean. However, Emeritus faculty do not automatically confer PI status and must request PI status.

The PI must have an active appointment with UNT and is responsible for executing and financially managing the grant or project. The PI and Co-PI are most often full-time, permanent employees whose official job roles and responsibilities include serving as a PI or Co-PI on extramural grants or sponsored projects. Since a proposal and subsequent award are a commitment for UNT in many ways, it is important to establish the qualifications and ability of PI’s and Co-PI’s to carry out the work on externally funded grants and sponsored projects.

Requesting PI Eligibility - Submit an Online Application

For individuals not in an employment position outlined above, or whose role and responsibility does not include serving as PI/Co-PI, PI eligibility will need to be requested. Individuals must complete the online application and upload the required documentation to be considered. The online application will then be routed to the replacement faculty member and appropriate approver before routing to the Vice President of Research and Innovation or Associate Vice President of Research and Innovation for review and approval.

Step 1) Complete the Requestor and Sponsor Information, upload a curriculum vitae, and provide a brief summary of the requestor’s justification for the request and a summary of their qualifications.

Step 2) Include a Backup PI or Co-PI. A replacement faculty member (who is a qualified PI or Co-PI, as defined above) who will commit to assuming the PI or Co-PI responsibilities should the original requestor leave UNT or otherwise be unable to remain as PI or Co-PI on the project.

Step 3) Include the requestor’s unit head for approval (for example, within an academic department, the Department Chair). The unit head must confirm via their approval that the person requesting PI or Co-PI eligibility status will, pending award, have assignable workload available for the specified scope of project activities (e.g., lecturer teaching load will be modified for assignable sponsored project workload).

Step 4) Once the online form is complete, provide the Requestor Certification online and then proceed to submit for internal routing and approval by the individuals listed above.

Such a request must be made for each proposal submission and will be approved or denied by the Vice President for Research and Innovation, the Associate Vice President for Research and Innovation, or their designee. Approval must be obtained before submitting the proposal package to Grants and Contracts Administration (GCA). The rationale for this request is to 1) inform the individuals supervisor and/or departmental chair of the research grant application; 2) communicate the individual’s qualifications to conduct research; and 3) ensure that the employees workload will be adjusted accordingly in the event of an award.

The backup PI or Co-PI should be someone both capable and committed to carrying on the work of the grant or sponsored project should the PI or Co-PI leave UNT. Persons qualified to certify this request include (a) (if the requestor is in an academic unit) a regular faculty member in the requestor’s unit who is otherwise qualified (as defined here) to be a PI or Co-PI and is qualified to manage the project and continue its work, and (b) (if the requestor is in an administrative / non-academic unit) a UNT administrator at the level of Assistant Vice President or above who is qualified to manage the project.

This process is electronic, and the individual requesting PI eligibility should work directly with a grants and contracts staff specialist to process the request.

PI Role and Responsibilities 

UNT’s principal investigators (PIs) bear the primary responsibility for success of their sponsored research and student training projects. In addition to their academic and scholarly duties, principal investigators must exercise a substantial degree of administrative acumen to enable the research enterprise, of which they are crucial for successful function. For the purpose of applying for extramural grants and sponsored projects, a PI at UNT is the person who, in the event of an award from an external funding entity, has the full and final responsibility for the conduct of the project as proposed and as set forth in the contract or grant. It is the responsibility of the PI/CoPI to be aware of the necessary materials required by the funding agency to provide updates on the project, adhere to proposed budget or modify the budget as allowable by the funding agency, and understand the material within this PI handbook.