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Who may submit a proposal at MSU? (Archived)

Regular faculty members and research or fixed-term faculty employees of the University with a rank of assistant professor and higher, may be identified as the sole or co-principal investigator on proposals seeking support for a sponsored research, education, or service project.

Individuals holding other appointment titles, such as, research associates, specialists, postdoctoral fellows, or visiting, adjunct and clinical faculty, normally may submit proposals only as co-investigators/key personnel with a regular MSU faculty member. Upon approval by the appropriate department chairperson, college-level research associate dean, and the Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies (OVPRGS), these non-regular faculty may serve as principal investigators or co-principal investigators.      
*principal investigator and co-principal investigator definition: Both of these roles have the same level of authority and responsibility to direct the project or program being proposed.


Can serve as a Principal Investigator / Co-Principal Investigator without requiring an exception
Can serve as an Co-Investigator/Key Personnel without requiring an exception
Regular faculty with the rank of assistant professor or higher
Research or Fixed-term faculty with the rank of assistant professor or higher
Non regular faculty such as research associates, specialists, postdoctoral fellows, or visiting, adjunct and clinical faculty
No – exception approval required as indicated below



Note: For Emeriti faculty-
The Chair of a department can approve a retired (also called emeritus) PI to submit a proposal.  The PI should obtain an appointment commitment letter from their Chair addressing salary and any needed resources (e.g. office space, etc.) if the project is funded and process an eTransmittal before the proposal is submitted.  The PI's fringe benefit cost is usually 7.65% of salary to cover FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) tax; the PI and Department may want to confirm this with MSU HR when budgeting fringe.


Procedure for requesting an exception approval from the department chairperson, associate dean for research and the OVPRGS:

  1. As soon as it's known, please follow department & college procedures to prepare the documentation to request the approval for an exception to the above rule.  The request should specify if it is for the specific project or a request for a blanket approval for this and all future proposals.
  2. Prepare a draft eTransmittal and please indicate in the notes section, that OVPRGS approval is being requested.  This allows the eTransmittal to be routed if the budget has been pre-approved by OSP while you are waiting for the PI exception request approval by OVPRGS.
  3. Forward the chairperson and associate dean for reserach approved email request to, indicating the application number from the eTransmittal prepared in step two and request the review and approval for this exception by the OVPRGS. NOTE:  The OVPRGS will need to receive the exception request by email at least three days prior to the intended submission date. 
  4. If approved, the OVPRGS will email this approval to the person who submitted the request with a copy to the OSP administrative assistant.
  5. If disapproved, the OVPRGS will email the person requesting the exception as well as the OSP administrative assistant.
Category: Operations    Subcategories: Faculty, Policy, Proposal, Research, Signature Authority

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