Stewardship of knowledge is a privilege and obligation of faculty at all institutions of higher education. NC State University recognizes that faculty, who both impart knowledge to students and seek new knowledge, are central to its core research mission. The Board of Trustees has established criteria for the appointment of faculty and others to the positions of principal investigator (PI) and co-principal investigator (co-PI). The policy statements below complement the basic principle that PIs and co-PIs are expected to (1) be responsible in the stewardship of public resources, (2) be dedicated to advancing knowledge and (3) maintain the highest standards of conduct in research.

Policy Statement

The Board of Trustees, consistent with most institutions of higher education from around the country, has established a Policy that states, in part…

“4.4 All tenure-track faculty members may submit proposals for support of research and scholarly projects. All proposals must be approved by a faculty member’s unit or department head and Dean before submission to the Vice Chancellor for Research for final campus approval. Non-tenure-track faculty members and employees with termed appointments may submit proposals with prior approval of their Dean and the Vice Chancellor for Research.”

Furthermore, a Principal Investigator is…

The individual (or in the case of some NIH projects, the individuals) designated by [NC State University], and approved by [the sponsor], who will be responsible for the scientific or technical direction of the [entire] project.

Co-Principal Investigators or Co-Project Directors (co-PI/co-PD) are individuals designated by NC State University, and approved by our sponsors, who have substantively complementary responsibility for the scientific or technical direction of all or a portion of a project.

An individual can only be a Principal Investigator or a Co-Principal Investigator pursuant to the guidance articulated in the policy of the Board of Trustees defined above or as authorized under an approved exception as described below.

Principal Investigatorship/Co-Principal Investigatorship carries enormous responsibilities. Some, but not all, of these responsibilities are articulated in the Faculty Toolbox by clicking [here].

Policy Interpretation

This web page endeavors to clarify in what circumstances exceptions will be granted and to clarify the logic behind such exceptions and the underlying policy. All exceptions should be addressed to the Director of Sponsored Programs  via email.

Certain exceptions that require approval but do not require further justification are described below:

Investigator Eligibility Revocation

Academic administrators may also request the restriction of Principal Investigator or co-Investigator status by outlining the reasons for such restriction, in writing, to the Director of Sponsored Programs. The Director of Sponsored programs will meet with the Academic Department Head, Dean, and other responsible authorities as well as the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation to make and execute a decision to restrict Principal Investigator and/or co-Investigator status of otherwise eligible employees. Reasons for restriction include, but are not limited to: (1) Findings of misconduct; (2) History of failure to meet deliverables or reports on current or past sponsored projects in a timely and orderly fashion; (3) Unmanageable impairment of objectivity; (4) Current investigation into possible misconduct; (5) Fiduciary improprieties; (6) Actions by third parties warranting such actions; etc.