Who May Submit a Proposal

The Investigator Title and MIT PI status, as used in Proposals

Principal Investigators are entrusted by the Institute with the responsibility to independently design, conduct, and supervise sponsored projects in MIT’s name. Certain appointments carry Principal Investigator Status (PI Status) automatically. These include:

  • Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Institute Professor, Director of Libraries, Medical Director 
  • Principal Research Scientists, Principal Research Engineers, and Principal Research Associates 
  • Senior Research Scientists, Senior Research Engineers, and Senior Research Associates 
  • Adjunct Professor 
  • Adjunct Associate Professor 
  • Professor of the Practice
  • Associate Professor of the Practice 

Other positions may be granted PI Status on a per-project basis by the Dean’s office for the unit where the project would reside if funded.  Refer to MIT Policies and Procedures regarding Research Appointments.

Each project must have one Lead PI who is responsible for the overall development and content of the proposal as well as the resulting funded project and serves as the primary technical point of contact for the sponsor. Please refer to Roles and Responsibilities for details on the roles and responsibilities in the proposal submission process.

Often one or more investigators may share responsibility for a project. Please note that any reference in proposal documents to any project team member as an “Investigator” is considered as assigning that team member independent responsibility for the design, conduct, or reporting of research, and therefore PI status must be obtained for each Investigator. All Investigators should be entered at the Coeus development proposal as either the “Principal Investigator” or a “Co-Investigator”. Other persons associated with the project may be entered as Key Persons, but the title assigned to their “Key Person Role” should be easily distinguishable from Investigator roles.*

Each Investigator must have PI status and must certify any proposal in which they participate. Because sponsors use many different titles to indicate similar project roles the following project roles are considered interchangeable under MIT policy.

PI Status is required for:

  • Principal Investigator (PI)
  • Project Director (PD)
  • Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI)
  • Co-Investigator (Co-I)**
  • Co-Project Director (Co-PD)
  • Investigator

* MIT makes a solicitation-specific exception to this for certain personnel on NSF I-Corps Teams proposals (see NSF Solicitation NSF-18-515 [website]). The Entrepreneurial and Technical Leads on an I-Corps team should be listed as Co-Investigators in KC for tracking and disclosure purposes, but do not require PI status and should not appear as co-PIs on the NSF proposal cover page.

** MIT makes an exception for Co-Is on proposals to NASA to align with NASA’s definitions of these roles. Please refer to the NASA PI Status guidance for details.