Principal Investigator (PI) Status

Overview Back to Top

In order to submit a proposal or serve as Principal Investigator (PI) on an award, investigators must have PI status.

Principal Investigator (PI) Status
The term Principal Investigator (PI) is used to identify a researcher with primary responsibility for a research project. In various contexts, the specific purport, policy, eligibility guidelines, procedures, and responsibilities of PI status may vary as directed by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education (VCRGE).

Principal Investigator Status on Extramural Grants
The term Principal Investigator (PI) is used most commonly to identify the individual who is responsible for a sponsored research project (grant). This responsibility includes both leadership of the scientific/technical aspects of the project and compliance with the financial and administrative aspects of the award. Tenure-track faculty members automatically have PI status. PI status can be granted to academic staff in three ways:

  • One-Time Limited PI Status: Approved by Schools/Colleges/Institutes on a proposal-by-proposal basis.
  • Blanket Limited PI Status: Approved by Schools/Colleges/Institutes for a time period of 1-3 years and/or for multiple proposals in a single category (e.g. research or outreach).
  • Permanent PI Status: Granted by the VCRGE to individuals with very strong research records who meet specific eligibility criteria.

Limited PI Status Back to Top

To serve as PI on a specific proposal/project, researchers may request One-Time Limited PI Status:

  • Complete a Request for Limited PI Status form for the proposal.
  • Upload the completed request form AND a current CV as attachments to the WISPER record for the proposal.
  • Create 2 approval requests in WISPER:
    • Department Chair/Director Approval:
      Use approval type “Other,” and direct the approval to your department chair/director.
      Include the following text:

      “Requesting approval of Limited PI Status for the PI named on this record. The request is attached to the record and applies specifically to this proposal.”

    • Division Approval:
      Use approval type “Limited PI Status” and direct to ’07-College of Ag and Life Science’.
  • Once the requests are approved, the individual is eligible to serve as PI.

Blanket Limited PI Status Back to Top

To gain PI status for a specified period of time (1-3 years) and/or multiple proposals, academic staff may request Blanket Limited PI Status:

  • Complete a Request for Blanket Limited PI Status form
  • Submit a paper copy of the form AND a current CV to your department chair/director for approval (signature required).
  • Once approved by your department, the form will be forwarded to CALS Research Division for Dean approval.
  • After approval by both the department and the school/college, the individual is eligible to serve as PI for the designated time period or one or multiple proposals.
  • Blanket Limited PI requests can be submitted electronically to the preaward@cals.wisc.edu mailbox or by paper to Michell Sass, CALS Research Division, 1450 Linden Dr., Suite 240 Ag. Hall.
  • Blanket Limited PI requests should not be submitted in WISPER as it is highly recommended that these requests be submitted and approved prior to proposal submission.
  • When submitting proposals, include information in the comments tab of each WISPER record indicating that the PI has Limited Blanket PI Status and provide the end date of the current approval.

Permanent PI Status Back to Top

Experienced academic staff members with very strong research records may be eligible to apply for Permanent PI Status, which is granted by the VCRGE.

Staff members granted Permanent PI Status do not need to request permission to serve as PI each time a proposal is submitted. In addition, Permanent PIs are eligible to apply for VCRGE Research Committee funds through its Spring/Fall Competitions.

For complete information on applying for Permanent PI Status, see the VCRGE Permanent Principal Investigator Status policy page.

Resources Back to Top

PI Status Forms and Policies
PI Status Policy UW VCRGE policy, eligibility and procedures for PI status.
One-time Limited PI Status Form (pdf) PDF form from the UW VCRGE website; upload completed form as an attachment to the project’s WISPER record.
Blanket Limited PI Status Form (pdf) PDF form from the UW VCRGE website; submit a hard copy of the completed form to your department chair/director. Department approved (signed) Blanket Limited PI requests can be submitted electronically to the preaward@cals.wisc.edu mailbox or by hard copy to Michell Sass, CALS Research Division, 1450 Linden Dr., Suite 240 Ag. Hall.
Permanent PI Status Policy UW VCRGE policy, eligibility criteria, submission check list and process of review for Permanent PI Status.

Contacts Back to Top

For more information or assistance with PI status, contact your Department Administrator or Michell Sass in the CALS Research Division, (608) 265-9534.

Questions with regard to Permanent PI Status can be submitted via email to Peggy Ziebarth in the Office of VCRGE.

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