PI Status

University policy defines "Principal Investigator (PI) Status"* as the eligibility to submit proposals for research, training, or public service contracts or grants to extramural agencies, subject to approval of the appropriate department chair/Organized Research Unit (ORU) director or their appointed delegate.

Individuals who submit applications to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) must also hold PI Status.

Academic appointees in the following title groups are eligible to submit proposals for extramural support:

  1. Members of the Academic Senate, including emeriti**. Academic Senate Series include: Professor (Ladder Rank), Professor In Residence, and Professor of Clinical X.
  2. Appointees salaried at 50% or more in the Adjunct, Health Science Clinical Professor, Professional Research Series. 
  3. Appointees in the Librarian Series.

*For NIH multiple-PI proposal submissions, all PIs must meet the eligibility requirement or have an approved PI status waiver.

**Emeriti faculty must have a recall appointment in order to have PI status. The effort devoted to sponsored project may not exceed the amount listed on the recall appointment and may not exceed 43% aggregate

Key Points

  • Time devoted to professional activities – irrespective of total hours worked – cannot exceed 100%.
  • Academic Senate 95% Rule: There is a maximum of 95% of effort on sponsored projects for Ladder Rank and In Residence faculty.
    1. To exceed 95% effort requires permission from the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs.
  • Adjunct faculty must have at least 5% effort from a non-contract or grant source in any quarter in which they submit a proposal.


  • Academic appointments made under an affiliation agreement between UCSF and another Institution or Organization, such as Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Scholars or Investigators. These individuals hold tenured or tenure-track appointments at UCSF but are paid employees of the HHMI.
  • Individual fellowship proposals require that a PI be in a PI-ineligible title code to qualify for the award, and therefore do not require a PI Status Waiver. The fellow must have a mentor that has PI status.