Quick guide: PI Eligibility

Quick guide: PI Eligibility

IU and affiliated institutions for which the IU IRB reviews research studies have specific requirements for who is eligible to serve as principal investigator on research studies.

Words to know

  • Principal Investigator (PI) – the leader of a team of investigators (research team) who has ultimate responsibility for the conduct of the research.
  • Faculty sponsor – full-or part-time faculty employed by IU who engage in classroom and/or online instruction; supervise on-or off-campus internships, clinical experiences, or practica; or mentor students who are conducting their own research projects.

How it works

  • Students are not permitted to serve as PI of their own research studies.
  • All student projects, including masters theses, dissertations, and projects designed by medical residents and fellows, must have a faculty sponsor listed as PI on the IRB submission.
  • All PIs, regardless of their affiliation with IU, must have an IU username. To request an IU username, please visit IU Affiliate Accounts and complete the information requested. HSO staff will contact you with further instructions to complete account setup.

Principal investigator eligibility at Indiana University

The following academic appointee classifications ARE eligible to serve as principal investigators and/or faculty sponsors:

  1. Faculty with the following titles:
    • Tenure-track appointments
    • Professor
    • Associate Professor
    • Assistant Professor
    • Non-Tenure Track
    • Lecturer appointments
    • Senior Lecturer
    • Lecturer
    • Clinical appointments
    • Clinical Professor
    • Associate Clinical Professor
    • Assistant Clinical Professor
    • Clinical Senior Lecturer
    • Clinical Lecturer
    • Professor of Practice
  2. Librarians with the following titles:
    • Librarian
    • Associate Librarian
    • Assistant Librarian
  3. Administrative or special statuses with the following titles:
    • President
    • Vice President
    • Chancellor
    • Vice Chancellor
    • Dean
    • Associate Dean
    • Assistant Dean
    • Chairman
    • Director
    • Acting (with letter from Chair/Dean)
    • Visiting (with letter from Chair/Dean)
    • Emeritus (with letter from Chair/Dean)
  4. Research appointments
    • Senior Scientist/Scholar
    • Associate Scientist/Scholar
    • Assistant Scientist/Scholar

The following academic appointee classifications are NOT eligible to serve as principal investigators and/or faculty sponsors (*see special exceptions below):

  1. Instructional staff with the following appointment titles:
    • Adjunct
  2. Professional staff with the following title:
    • Health Center Physician
  3. Resarch staff with the following titles:
    • Research Associate
    • Postdoctoral Fellow
  4. Student Academic Appointments with the following titles:
    • Associate Instructor
    • Faculty Assistant
    • Graduate Assistant
    • Student Counselor
    • Academic Intern
    • Research Assistant

*Individuals in schools other than the schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Dentistry who wish to serve as principal investigators or faculty sponsors must meet the eligibility requirements as outlined above or must receive special dispensation from their school's dean.

Principal investigator eligibility at IU Health

A physician must be a member of the IU Health medical staff ("Active" status, "Associate" status, or "Provisional" status), as verified by the Medical Staff Office. Non-physician eligibility requests, such as physical therapists, pharmacists, nurses, and other IU Health staff, are approved on a case-by-case basis. In these cases, a letter of approval is required from the department head or other supervising official.

Who to contact

For questions about PI eligibility or obtaining an affiliate account, contact the Human Subjects Office at irb@iu.edu or 317-274-8289.