Principal Investigator/Project Director Eligibility Policy

Williams College Policy Eligibility to serve as Principal Investigator (PI) or Project Director (PD) on grant applications 

Effective Date: March 1, 2024
Approval Date: January 18, 2024
Approval Office: Dean of Faculty Office

The Williams College Grants Office is responsible for submitting grant applications to external sponsors after a thorough review to ensure proposals are compliant (with both sponsor and college regulations), competitive, and complete.  The Grants Office reviews, negotiates, and accepts awards on behalf of the college and the identified Principal Investigator or Project Director (hereinafter referred to as PI/PD).  By accepting an award from an external sponsor, the college assumes significant financial and legal risk and agrees to specific terms and conditions as determined by the funder.  Sponsors make awards to the college based upon both the college’s credentials and the professional expertise of the PI/PD; it is thus the obligation of the college to approve the title of PI/PD and to assist that PI/PD in managing the award responsibly.  As PI/PD on an award, that individual agrees to: intellectual conduct of the project, technical compliance, completion of programmatic work and/or research, fiscal stewardship of sponsor funds, oversight over any staff or student employees involved in the project, and compliance with administrative requirements of the project.

To be eligible to serve as PI/PD on an externally funded sponsored project at Williams College, individuals must be employed by the college as one of the following:

  • regular tenured or tenure-track faculty member
  • athletics faculty member on a permanent, long-term or renewable appointment
  • lecturer or senior lecturer
  • visiting faculty member *
  • staff member (with permission of direct supervisor)

*PI/PD must have an appointment at the college at the time of proposal submission and the  appointment must continue through the time when the award would be received.

**Students are not permitted to serve as PI/PD.

Any individual holding one of the following positions may be included as a co-PI/PD for externally funded awards IF one of the individuals listed above is named as PI/PD:

  • visiting faculty with term ending prior to award receipt
  • emeritus faculty member
  • research associates (as appointed by the Dean of Faculty (DoF))

Some sponsors may have restrictions on PI/PD eligibility that are more restrictive than the Williams College policy.  The Grants Office closely reviews sponsor eligibility and will consult with the DoF on a case-by-case basis to ensure restrictions are adhered to and to allow exceptions if appropriate.

All individuals permitted to serve as PI/PD on externally sponsored projects are required to comply with Williams College business practices, policies, and procedures in addition to the sponsoring agency’s terms and conditions.

note: Exceptions to this policy may only be made with prior approval of the DoF.