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Eligibility - Institutional and Principal Investigator - A05


The purpose of this procedure is to outline the process for determining eligibility requirements for the Principal Investigator/Project Director (PI/PD) and the Institution to submit a sponsored project proposal.


This procedure applies to all sponsored projects subject to OU Policy 19.045 Administering External Grants and Contracts set up as separate accounts in the OHIO Financial Management System (FMS).


Eligibility is determined prior to proposal preparation. The PI/PD is responsible for ensuring eligibility by conferring with their department chair and reviewing the proposal guidelines. The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) will review each proposal submission for PI/PD and Institutional eligibility based on the following:

Principal Investigator/Project Director (PI/PD) Eligibility Determination

When a proposal is submitted and/or accepted by OHIO for research or other sponsored activity, the University assumes significant financial and legal obligations. Although projects are funded based on the expertise of the PI/PD, the formal award is made to OHIO. Given the magnitude of responsibility, the University must ensure that the individuals serving in the PI/PD capacity have the technical and administrative competence to carry out the sponsored project. OHIO considers individuals in the following categories eligible for PI/PD status: tenure track faculty, directors of university approved institutes and centers.

On a case-by-case basis, the following individuals may attain PI/PD status: emeriti faculty, instructional faculty, adjunct/visiting faculty, students (with eligible PI mentor), post-doctoral fellows, and full-time administrators. If a department chair or school director and dean are confident in the abilities of an otherwise ineligible individual to serve as PI/PD, the department head, school director or dean may request that the Vice President for Research and Creative Activity consider a deviation from procedure. Such requests must be submitted in writing and contain a statement by the department head or school director and dean that he or she will assume full responsibility for the actions of that individual in their capacity as PI/PD.

In some cases, a sponsoring agency may have restrictions as to who may serve as a PI/PD on a project or program that is more stringent than OHIO defines above. In these cases, the sponsor’s requirements take precedence over the institutional procedure for that project. In the case where a sponsor may require, allow or expect an individual to serve as a PI/PD, who under OHIO definitions would otherwise not be eligible, the individual will have a tenure track faculty member serve as Co-principal Investigator for internal purposes and assume responsibility for compliance with sponsor and institutional requirements.

Institution Eligibility Determination

When considering eligibility, the next step is to know what type of organization you represent (or whether you are applying as an individual). If you already know whether you will apply on behalf of your organization or as an individual, then you are ready to check your eligibility.

Before beginning the application process, you should make sure you or your organization is eligible to apply for the grant. For the full legal eligibility requirements, you need to carefully read the Application Instructions that are attached to the funding opportunity. The awarding agencies define eligibility in those instructions, and they may also summarize the eligibility in the Synopsis Details section.

Some agency guidelines require applicant organizations to have a 501(c)(3) tax status. OHIO is not a 501(c)(3) organization. But the Ohio University Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization and can receive grants on behalf of the University in some cases.

ORSP will review and verify for PI/PD and Institutional eligibility upon receipt of an Intent to Submit with the guidelines attached.

Eligibility must be determined prior to submission.


Questions regarding this procedure can be sent to

Roles and Responsibilities

OWNER: Vice President for Research

CONTRIBUTOR: PI/PD, Department Chair



OU Policy 19.045 Administering External Grants and Contracts