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CNS Responsibilities under the Revised University Principal Investigator Eligibility Administrative Procedures, effective December 2017

The Office of the Vice President for Research issued changes and clarifications to the University’s Principal Investigator Eligibility Administrative Procedures (PI Eligibility Procedures). The updated procedures may be found at https://research.utexas.edu/osp/prepare-submit-proposal/pi-eligibility/.

Changes and clarifications to the University PI Eligibility Procedures are as follows:
  • Any proposal to an outside sponsor must have at least one principal investigator (PI) who is a paid employee of the University over the entire performance period of the proposed or granted award.
  • Newly hired faculty may submit proposals without Co-PIs when the project start dates are after their arrival at UT.
  • Research title-holders (as described by UT Austin Policy No. 7-1020 Research Titles) with 0% appointments may submit proposals without Co-PIs if the submission is accompanied by a written assurance from their department/unit head that the PI will hold a paid appointment during the award performance period.
  • Each college or ORU should have a written policy about how to manage active grants of emeritus or lead faculty, should the faculty member be incapacitated or absent from the University for an extended period.

With these changes in mind, the College of Natural Sciences delegates CNS department chairs and unit heads with the responsibilities for establishing procedures to ensure compliance with the University PI Eligibility Procedures and to fulfill the obligations to funding agencies. Obligations to funding agencies may include but are not limited to progress reports, completion of scope of work, and effort certification.

The College recommends that departments/units amend their governance guidelines to define processes to:
  • Review proposals to determine PI status and the necessity for a Co-PI, review exception requests for PI/Co-PI status requests, or provide written assurance of a paid future appointment in accordance with the University’s PI Eligibility Procedures;
  • As soon as possible, communicate any change in PI status to appropriate personnel such as Grants and Contracts Specialists, HR Specialists, the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP), and sponsor contacts; and
  • For PI exception requests involving emeritus faculty, the requisite department chair shall serve as Co-PI. The department should review active grants of emeritus faculty and other lead faculty who may be incapacitated for an extended period to ensure:
    • the award is updated as necessary;
    • electronic systems and delegations within electronic systems are updated to allow submission of progress reports and other required documents, and completion of effort certification tasks; and
    • all parties responsible for the grant are notified of their new obligations.