PI Eligibility

For each sponsored award, it is customary to designate as Principal Investigator one person who bears ultimate responsibility for academic decisions as well as for financial, administrative, and compliance matters relating to the project. 

Only  teaching members of the Faculty and a select number of other academic appointees are accorded Principal Investigator rights and may seek external research support on a continuing basis.

If a Harvard employee whose appointment type is not listed among those on the PI Eligibility policy page wishes to serve as PI, his or her Department Chair/SEAS Area Chair must submit a request to the appropriate Divisional Dean or SEAS Dean using the PI Rights Questionnaire.

PI Eligibility should be reviewed before beginning any new application process. Non-faculty PIs with exceptional PI rights may require additional appointments so that their effort is properly charged and certified.  Please contact your FAS RAS Pre-award representative for advice if you are not sure how to budget for your PI's effort.

Important Update to the PI Eligibility Guidelines: 

Effective September 30, 2019, all individuals applying for exceptional PI Rights are required to take the FAS and SEAS Update for Faculty and Principal Investigators on-line course in the Harvard Training Portal before submitting a completed PI Rights Questionnaire to their FAS divisional dean or SEAS dean for consideration.  Please be advised that a Harvard University ID (HUID) is needed to access the Harvard Training Portal.  

Once the course has been successfully completed, a certificate of completion will be generated, and a copy of that certificate must accompany the PI Rights form.