Policies and Procedures for the Appointment
of an Individual to Principal Investigator Status1
(The policies and procedures are in compliance with
SFSU Academic Senate policy regarding temporary faculty,
The right to serve as Principal Investigator (PI) on
University-based grants or contracts at San Francisco
State is currently limited to tenured/tenure track faculty
or individuals with an MPP appointment. Other individuals
wishing to serve as a PI on a grant or contract administered
by SFSU must receive approval from the Provost.
The policies and procedures incorporated in this document
formalize the process for:
- approving Provisional PI status for those individuals
who are not automatically eligible to be a PI based
on SFSU's current policies, and
- reviewing these individuals for continuation of
their PI status
The individual requesting PI status must have a faculty
sponsor, receive an honorific2
(adjunct, in-residence, clinical or distinguished) faculty
appointment, and make a formal application for PI status.
The application should contain the follow items:
- A complete, up-to-date curriculum vitae
- A letter of support from the faculty sponsor
- Three letters of recommendation from senior researchers
in the applicant's field
- A brief description of the research/sponsored project(s)
for which the applicant plans to seek external funding
- Documentation of any experience the applicant has
had in managing research and grant-funded employees
- A description of how the applicant's research/sponsored
project(s) serves the University's mission
- Any University resources that the applicant's project
requires (e.g., space, computer resources, etc.) and
how the applicant proposes to gain access to those
The faculty sponsor should have experience as a funded
PI, should be willing to assist ORSP in dealing with
any issues that may arise related to grant activity
of the proposed PI, and serve as the department/College
representative for the proposed PI, if PI status is
approved. The faculty sponsor should submit the application
to the Chair of the Department for review and approval.
The Chair will forward the application materials and
his/her recommendation to the Dean of the College. The
Dean will review and decide whether to endorse the application.
If the Dean endorses the application, s/he will attach
a letter of support and forward the application to the
Associate Vice President (ORSP).
The Dean's letter of support should include a description
of the resources that the College will provide in support
of the applicant, and/or a request for the resources.
The letter should also describe how PI status for the
applicant would assist the College in meeting its goals
At the discretion of the AVP (ORSP), a committee will
be assembled to review the request for PI status. The
committee will be composed of faculty/administrators
(e.g. College Associate Dean) proposed by the Dean and
will include faculty/administrators well qualified to
evaluate the applicant's credentials and project proposal.
All faculty/administrators recommended for committee
service should have significant experience as a PI.
The AVP (ORSP) will chair the Committee and will also
make a separate recommendation.
The committee and the AVP (ORSP) should consider the
- Is the applicant competent to perform the research/sponsored
- Will the applicant contribute materially to the
research mission of the University?
- Will the applicant's presence as a PI on campus
contribute to the University in other ways (e.g. reputation
of the institution)?
- Does the arrangement for PI status provide reasonable
protections for the individual and the University
against possible abuses and liabilities?
The AVP's (ORSP) recommendation to the Provost should
cover the following options:
- Approve without restrictions for current and future
- Approve for a specific project or time period only
- Approve subject to specific conditions (e.g. involvement
of tenured faculty member with experience in grants/contracts)
- Approve provisionally (for purpose of allowing a
submission) subject to full review later (to be used
only when there is a very high likelihood of eventual
- Defer decision with a request for additional information
(e.g. if file is incomplete)
- Disapprove (with explanation)
The Provost will review and consider the Dean's and
the AVP's (ORSP) recommendations and either accept;
request consultation with the AVP (ORSP), if there is
a question regarding the category of approval; or reject
the application. Prior to formally rejecting a recommendation,
the Provost will consult with the Dean to discuss the
reasons for considering the rejection and give the Dean
the opportunity to provide additional information on
behalf of the applicant. After all discussions have
occurred, the Provost will issue a final written response
to the AVP (ORSP), applicant, faculty sponsor, and Dean.
Continuation as a PI will be based on an annual report
from the PI summarizing her/his activities. The report
would consist of a short narrative of results and accomplishments
and a list of publications, presentations, grant applications
submitted and funded. This annual report should be sent
to the Dean and the AVP (ORSP). If either the Dean or
the AVP (ORSP) has concerns after reading the report,
then a formal review (see below) should take place.
Otherwise, a formal review of the PI status should take
place every two years, at the same time as the review
of honorific faculty status. These reviews are not a
substitution for the reviews required for lecturers
performed by the department for teaching or other assigned
The formal review for continuation of PI status should
involve the following elements:
- A report to the appropriate Dean from the Provisional
PI summarizing his or her activities as a principal
investigator on the SFSU campus. This should include
a statement of how those activities have supported
the University's mission
- The report should be forwarded to the AVP (ORSP)
along with supporting letters from the Dean of the
appropriate College and the faculty sponsor for continuation
of the Provisional PI status
Continuation will also depend on the continued appointment
in their honorific faculty position (defined in SFSU
policies of review of honorific faculty which includes
a review every two years) and demonstrated competence
in managing external funding.
A letter of continuation or termination of the Provisional
PI status from the AVP (ORSP) will be sent to the applicant,
Dean, faculty sponsor and the supporting Department
1Submitted to Academic
Affairs Council by the Principal Investigator Eligibility
Task Force on September 8, 2003. Approved with revisions
by Academic Affairs Council: November 10, 2003. Approved
by President Corrigan: November 11, 2003.
approved March 7, 2001 (Office of the Provost and the
President) for such appointments define the positions,
and provide procedures for review and appointments.
here for more information.