The University of Iowa

Project Director: Eligibility Requirements

University of Iowa policy permits regular faculty, qualified professional & scientific staff, postdoctoral fellows, and, in some cases, graduate students to serve as a Project Director, applying for external funds to support a project at UI; retired faculty are eligible with the permission of the departmental executive officer, collegiate dean, and Vice President for Research. Those not employed by the University or with an adjunct or visiting faculty status are generally not eligible to serve as PI, requiring special approval from the Vice President for Research.


The following clarifications of that policy relate to research conducted by individuals who are not members of the faculty:

  • As is the case for research conducted by faculty, research undertaken by non-faculty members must be conducted within an established unit of the University. The unit executive must be willing to certify that the proposed research fits within the goals of the unit or the sub-unit conducting such research.
  • The unit executive must make clear to the proposer that there is no guarantee of University salary support beyond the termination of the proposed grant or contract.
  • The proposal will be subject to the usual departmental, collegiate, and central routing requirements applied to faculty proposals, to be reviewed in regard to matters such as space, effort commitment, use of human subjects, and University cost-sharing before submission to the sponsor.
  • Those not employed by the University or those with adjunct or visiting faculty status are not eligible to be listed as proposed project directors on University grants or contracts, except under unusual circumstances and with the approval of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development.
  • Graduate Students may be eligible to serve as Principal Investigator on dissertation grants, research fellowships, and similar types of sponsored projects, provided (a) the project sponsor considers the student to be the PI; and (b) the project includes a formally designated mentor meeting the eligibility guidelines described in the Section 2 opening paragraph (University policies...) above.