Who Can Be a Principal Investigator at U of T?

Who is this for?

An understanding of who can be a principal investigator is important for the following roles.

  • Professor, Faculty Members
  • Teaching Stream Faculty
  • Librarian
  • Principals, Deans, Academic Directors & Chairs
  • Research or Financial Administrator

What do I need before I can begin?

Review the University of Toronto’s (U of T) Guidelines Regarding Eligibility to be a Principal Investigator at the University of Toronto, which were developed in close consultation with the Provost’s Office.  These guidelines clarify who is eligible to be the lead on a research application or funded research project.


A Principal Investigator (PI) conducts research and research-related activities ethically and in compliance with policies, terms and conditions. The PI authorizes activity and expenses on a funded research project.

The following are eligible to act as Principal Investigators on research grants and contracts.

  • Individuals who hold paid academic appointments at the University that extend beyond the period of funding being requested
  • Clinical faculty appointed under the Policy for Clinical Faculty
  • Individuals who are employed at an affiliated institution (such as an affiliated teaching hospital) and hold a status only appointment at the University
  • Retired faculty will be considered eligible with the authorization of their unit head
  • In exceptional cases, approval of eligibility may be provided by the Provost

The University's Guidelines regarding PI eligibility supersede any eligibility policy set by a research sponsor.

Only those individuals who are eligible to act as PIs will have access to My Research – Applications (MRA), the on-line research application submission system through which all U of T research applications must be submitted prior to submission to a sponsor.

Forms & Downloads


  • Review the researcher's appointment status and duration prior to providing institutional endorsement of research funding applications and/or finalizing a research funding agreement.

VPRI Contact

Find the appropriate VPRI staff member to assist you by checking our staff directory. You may search by discipline area (e.g. Social Sciences, Health & Life Sciences, Natural Sciences or Engineering, etc.) or funding agency name.