Effective January 1, 2020 Brown University will follow a two-tiered process for determining Principal Investigator (PI) eligibility. Those PIs deemed eligible by the policy (i.e., ‘automatically’ eligible to serve as PI) and those exceptionally approved to serve as PI which will require an additional level of review. The former category is affirmed at the proposal submission stage through the Department Chair, Dean, University Librarian or Center/Institute Director’s approval. The latter category is approved by the Vice President for Research (VPR) or Dean of Biology & Medicine for Alpert Medical School (AMS) after endorsement by Department Chair, Dean, University Librarian and/or Center, Institute Director. The terms “principal investigator” (PI), “co-principal investigator” (co-PI) and “project director” (PD) are used interchangeably throughout the policy. Center Directors in units such as Leadership Alliance, Swearer Center, Bell Gallery, Haffenrefer Museum and the Policy Lab retain full Principal Investigator status. A chart of PI Eligibility by title can be found here.
Significant changes from existing practice include the removal of Adjunct, Instructor, Lecturer, Professor of the Practice and Visiting titles from automatic PI eligibility and the introduction of requirements for the screening of visiting faculty. Individuals not meeting the eligibility criteria may request written permission from the Office of the Vice President for Research or Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences for an exceptional approval to serve as PI, after securing permission of the senior officer in the school/department/center/institute or library. Such requests must be made well in advance of proposal submission due dates using the University’s designated form to document approvals. A copy of the signed approval form must be included in the proposal record.
The Office of the Vice President for Research has recorded the PI eligibility of those individuals who were exceptionally approved to serve as PI through December 31, 2019. These are individuals whose names appear in the Coeus grants management system as PI or co-PI on submitted proposals and/or awards. These approvals are deemed to be a permanent approval for future sponsored activity (i.e., identical requests for the same individual to submit proposals is not required).
Under the policy new Tenure-track faculty become eligible to serve as Brown PI for up to 12 months prior to the Brown appointment start date for proposal submission. Departing tenured/tenure-track faculty are eligible to serve as PI for up to 24 months from the end of the appointment to engage in closeout activities (e.g., completion of final technical reports, approval of subcontractor invoices, disposition of property), and to mentor project-supported graduate students. A permanent Brown faculty member must be named as Co-PI for exiting faculty so there is continuity of university affiliation in these cases.
In addition to the University requirements for Principal Investigator eligibility, some funding opportunities may limit or restrict eligibility of University proposals. For example, there may be a limit on the number or specific types of proposals that may be submitted from Brown to a particular program. In such cases, the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) will decide which proposals may be sent forward for review by an external agency. Management of all Brown University ‘limited submission’ funding opportunities rests with the OVPR.