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Research Policy and Procedures

Principal Investigator Privileges for SLAC Faculty and Staff.  Stanford Research Policy grants all faculty the privilege of being principal investigators (PIs) of sponsored research projects.  For others, there are several exceptions to the PI policy which are allowed under special circumstances.  Information about this topic of PI eligibility is found in the Stanford Research Policy Handbook (RPH).   Section 2.4 contains the information, policy and guidance on PI eligibility and criteria for exceptions.


There are two types of exceptions that are most relevant to SLAC’s staff scientists and senior technical workforce:


1.   For Senior and Distinguished staff scientists at SLAC (RPH 2.B)


2.   Specific projects which are part of large interdisciplinary programs (RPH 2.4.II.A.2)


SLAC Senior and Distinguished staff scientists seeking to be PIs will normally use the process in route (1.) above.  It is intended to encourage and facilitate SLAC’s senior scientific workforce to develop and expand research programs aligned with the SLAC mission.  The other PI exception route (2.) is available for SLAC staff scientists independent of level, and associated with large interdisciplinary programs.  This is not intended as an entitlement or blanket route to PI privileges, and review and approval of requests under this path are not routine or automatic and undergo very careful review and scrutiny by the SLAC Dean’s Office.


Links to the relevant SLAC forms for both routes 1. and 2. are found below.  Scientists considering PI exceptions under either of these routes are strongly encouraged to consult early on with their respective Directorate Business Manager and ALD.  The Office of the CRO and Senior Associate Dean is also pleased to offer help and advice (contact David MacFarlane or Amy Rutherford). 


Please note NSF EXCEPTION:


NSF does not fund FFRDCs. Exceptions to submit can be requested of the NSF Program Officer for the specific NSF call. You must get this exception before effort is put into applying for a SLAC PI Waiver. Proposals from SLAC, an FFRDC, cannot be submitted to NSF without an exception. To determine if you will need this exception, please answer the following:

  1. In your response to the NSF call, are you submitting on behalf of SLAC (an FFRDC)? YES or NO

  2. If YES, attach the email response from the cognizant NSF Program Officer that has granted the exception for you to submit this proposal from SLAC (an FFRDC) to your PI Waiver paperwork. See NSF Grant Proposal Guide – section on Other Federal agencies for exception descriptions. Link:

  3. If NO, are you submitting this through a Stanford University campus department? Provide the point of contact at campus department who will be administratively responsible for submitting the proposal to the NSF.

PI Waiver forms:

  1. SLAC Senior and Distinguished Scientists (Word)

  2. Special Exception for Large Interdisciplinary Programs (Word)

Stanford Research Policy Handbook

Information Contact:

David MacFarlane

Ph: 650-926-3406


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