UCLA Policy 900 : Principal Investigator Eligibility
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Issuing Officer: Vice Chancellor - Research
Responsible Office: Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research - Look Up Contact Person
Effective Date: November 2, 2015
Supersedes: UCLA Policy 900, dated 1/27/2012, dated 1/17/2012
Revision History: APP History


This Policy is intended to set forth the eligibility requirements and the duties and responsibilities of a Principal Investigator (PI) at UCLA. This Policy also describes the processes for requesting and approving exceptions to the PI eligibility requirements.


For the purposes of this Policy, the following definitions shall apply:

Types of Investigators:

Principal Investigator is an employee of UCLA (normally with an academic appointment – see Member of the Academic Senate, below) who is or becomes eligible under this Policy to submit a proposal for extramural support for a research, training, or public service project, who personally participates in the project to a significant degree, and who has primary responsibility for the scientific, technical, and administrative conduct, and reporting of the project, including financial matters. A Principal Investigator who is the head of a training or public service project may be known as a Project Director or Project Administrator. For the purposes of this Policy, the terms shall be considered equivalent.

Co-Principal Investigator is an investigator who will share responsibility for the scientific, technical, and administrative conduct and reporting of a project with the Principal Investigator. Each individual named as a Co-Principal Investigator at UCLA must meet the same eligibility requirements as a Principal Investigator. There may be more than one Co-Principal Investigator.

Multiple Principal Investigator is one of several Principal Investigators who is expected to equally share responsibility for leadership of multidisciplinary and other types of “team science” projects that are not optimally served by the single Principal Investigator model.

Member of the Academic Senate is an individual whose appointment, be it regular or emeriti, is deemed by the Academic Senate to correspond to one of the titles identified in The Regents’ Standing Order 105.1(a).


A. Eligibility and Administrative Duties

Eligibility to serve as a Principal Investigator, a Co-Principal Investigator (PI) or one of several Multiple Principal Investigators (PI) for extramurally supported projects (including receipt of research materials, data, software, etc.) is contingent upon continuation of the employment or other status under which eligibility was initially determined; and compliance with all applicable policies of the University and the funding agency. In the event of an apparent conflict between policies of the University and the funding agency, the more restrictive policy shall be followed.

Most funding agencies recognize only one Principal Investigator. In those instances where several names are listed in the proposal, the agency assumes that the first name listed is primus inter pares (first between equals). Whenever the funding agency recognizes only one Principal Investigator, the University will follow suit and direct all administrative correspondence to the first person listed, and that individual shall be identified as Principal Investigator. Additionally, when subcontracts or sub-grants are anticipated under a proposed project, the Principal Investigator for the sub-recipient institution may be named a Co-Principal Investigator on the UCLA proposal.

On certain kinds of collaborative research some funding agencies will recognize Multiple PIs. When this is the case, and in those instances when Multiple PIs are named in a proposal for research support, sponsors require incorporation of a project leadership plan into the proposal. Additionally one of the Multiple PIs must be designated the Contact Principal Investigator (PI). The Contact PI is the person responsible for relaying communications between the investigators and the funding agency, and for receiving and coordinating all communications with UCLA administrative offices and sponsors. The Contact PI is also responsible for ensuring that all internal approvals between administrative offices and the sponsors are procured. The Contact PI will be responsible for identifying those other investigators who should disclose financial interest and all internal financial and personnel matters.

B. Eligible UCLA Employees

The following categories of UCLA employees are eligible to serve as a Principal Investigator, Co-PI or Multiple PI as specified:

  1. A Member of the Academic Senate may serve as a Principal Investigator, Co-PI or Multiple PI on any extramurally funded project.

  2. A full-time UCLA appointee in the Adjunct Professor series at the Associate or Full level, may serve as a Principal Investigator, Co-PI or Multiple PI on any extramurally funded project conducted under the purview of the College of Letters and Science.

  3. A full-time UCLA appointee in the Professional Research series at the Associate or Full level, may serve as a Principal Investigator, Co-PI or Multiple PI on any extramurally funded project conducted under the purview of the College of Letters and Science.

  4. Incumbents holding the following positions may serve as a Principal Investigator, Co-PI or Multiple PI on extramurally funded projects conducted under the purview of their respective organizational units:

    • Director, Biomedical Library

    • Executive Director, Early Care & Education

    • Director, Cultural & Recreational Affairs

    • Curator, Film & Television Archive

    • Director, Film & Television Archive

    • Head of Programming, Film & Television Archive

    • Manager, Archive Research & Study Center, Film & Television Archive

    • Director, Fowler Museum of Cultural History

    • Director, Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts

    • Director, Hammer Museum

    • Program Director, Marina Aquatic Center

    • Sr. Assoc. Dean, Education, David Geffen School of Medicine

    • Director, Center for the Advancement of Teaching

    • Director, Performing Arts

    • Chief of Police

    • Director, Social Sciences Computing

    • Director, University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities

    • Director, Transportation

    • Sr. Assoc. Dean, Student Affairs, David Geffen School of Medicine

    • Executive Director, Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine (DLAM)

  5. A full-time UCLA employee who is a member of the University Extension Specialist series may serve as a Principal Investigator (or Project Director or Project Administrator) on a training or public service project conducted under the purview of University Extension.

  6. Other academic appointees, but in rare instances also non-academic personnel, may serve as a Principal Investigator, Co-PI or Multiple PI on an exception basis with the written approval of the appropriate campus official, as noted in IV.C.1, below.

  7. Faculty advisors or mentors will typically be designated as Principal Investigators for graduate student fellowships awarded as grants. Graduate students, Postdoctoral Scholars and other trainees may not normally serve as a Principal Investigator, Co-PI or Multiple PI on extramurally sponsored contracts or grants. Exceptions may be granted to permit Postdoctoral Scholars and other trainees to apply for support for research training and mentored training grants intended to enhance their professional skills and to prepare them for research independence. Except for career transitions awards, those programs specifically designed to bridge postdoctoral training and the earliest stages of a faculty appointment, the duration of a proposed grant should not exceed the period of the traineeship.

C. Exceptions

Exceptions to the eligibility requirements for submitting a contract proposal or a grant application may be granted by campus officials to whom such authority has been delegated by the Chancellor (see UCLA DA 201.06) and in accordance with the UC Contract and Grant Manual. It is important that an individual who serves as a PI, Co-PI or Multiple PI by exception is aware of University and sponsor policies. The academic unit in which these individuals will conduct research or other sponsored activities must provide space and access to other research facilities, and accept responsibility for ensuring administrative support and budgetary control needed to effectively manage the project through the term of the contract or grant.

1. Authority to Approve Exceptions

The following campus officials with administrative responsibility for the unit which will administer the award may approve, by exception, the submission of a contract or grant proposal by appointees in positions other than those noted above in section III.B:

  • Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost

  • Vice Chancellors (as named in UCLA DA 201.06)

  • Deans and Vice Provosts of the International Institute, Undergraduate Education, Graduate Education, and Information Technology; Deans of the Professional Schools, Health Sciences Programs and College Divisions

  • Dean of Continuing Education & Extension

  • Associate Deans for Research in the Schools of Dentistry, Nursing, and Public Health

  • Vice Dean for Research, School of Medicine

  • University Librarian

  • CEO Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital

  • Director, Semel Institute

2. Requests for Exception

Exceptions to the general eligibility requirements will be considered upon submission of a written request to the appropriate campus official noted in C.1, above. The written request must justify the exception in terms of the following criteria:

  • That such action is clearly in the best interests of the University;

  • That space and facilities can be arranged without detriment to the regular instructional and research responsibilities of UCLA; and

  • That the applicant is a UCLA employee, usually appointed at more than 50 percent time, who is able to carry out the responsibilities incumbent upon a Principal Investigator as specified in UCLA Policy 910.

Prior to forwarding requests for exceptions to the appropriate campus offcial for review and approval, the Department Chair, Organized Research Unit Director, or other department head is expected to ensure that the applicant meets the requirements for good standing as defined within the respective unit.

The request must be signed by the appropriate Department Chair, Organized Research Unit Director, or other department head, and should contain information sufficient for the assessment of the request. Upon approval, a copy of the request signed by a campus official with authority to approve the exception, shall accompany the application for funding when the proposal materials are forwarded to the Office of Contract and Grant Administration, Office of Intellectual Property & Industry Sponsored Research, or David Geffen School of Medicine, Clinical Trials Administration Office, as appropriate.


  1. University of California Contract and Grant Manual, dated 1/1/1996, Chapter 1, Subsection 1-530 (revised 1/30/2009) and Chapter 2, (revised 9/15/2010) Subsection 2-210: Who May Submit Proposals;

  2. UCLA Delegation of Authority 201.06, Exceptions to Submission of a Contract or Grant Proposal by Other Appointees, dated November 21, 2012;

  3. UC-UAW Contract, Postdoctoral Scholars;

  4. Academic Personnel Manual, APM-390, Appointment and Promotion, Postdoctoral Scholars.





/s/ Economou, James

Vice Chancellor - Research