Research Policy & PI-Ship

CRO Office Contacts

JoAnne Hewett
Chief Research Officer (CRO)

Piero Pianetta
Deputy Chief Research Officer

Steve Eglash
Deputy Chief Research Officer

Charlotte Chang
Senior Staff

Queenie Huang

Important Dates

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Deadline: December 15, 2022


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SLAC Conduct of Research Policy

The SLAC Director is responsible for the administration and operation of SLAC as a national laboratory and for academic matters arising from SLAC’s role as an affiliated academic unity of Stanford University. The SLAC Policy on the Conduct of Research provides clarification regarding the roles, responsibilities, requirements, and training for PIs and all SLAC researchers on the conduct of research at SLAC.

The SLAC Director has delegated the authority to implement this policy to SLAC’s Chief Research Officer (CRO). Associate Laboratory Director’s (ALDs) will ensure that all SLAC researchers and all SLAC PIs in their directorates effectively implement these requirements. The CRO also maintains a current list of all SLAC researchers and all SLAC PIs.

Stanford Research Policy Handbook

As an affiliated academic unit of Stanford University, research conducted at SLAC is subject to Stanford University’s policies on the conduct of research as documented in Stanford’s Research Policy Handbook. The Research Policy Handbook is a collection of policies, guidelines and general information related to the research enterprise at Stanford and at SLAC. The Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Research is responsible for publishing all policies in the Research Policy Handbook and for the developing and maintaining the DoResearch website.

Principal Investigatorship

The role of Principal Investigator (PI) provides an individual with the authority to lead the definition and delivery of a research program. This represents an important step in the career of scientists and engineers, enabling them to strike out in new directions based on their own ideas.

At SLAC, any employee is PI-eligible to submit proposals to be awarded by the Department of Energy (DOE), consistent with requirements stated in the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). 

For grants funded by other agencies or private sponsors, Stanford’s principal investigatorship policy applies.  Stanford Research Policy grants all faculty the privilege of being principal investigators of sponsored research projects. For others, there are several exceptions to the PI policy which are allowed under specific circumstances. Further information on PI eligibility is found in the Stanford Research Policy Handbook (RPH) Section 2.  This section contains the information, policy and guidance on PI eligibility and criteria for exceptions.

Based on RPH section 2, there are three routes to PI eligibility that are most relevant to SLAC employees. 

  1. Senior and Distinguished staff scientists or engineers, staff levels five and six, at SLAC (RPH 2.1.2.B)
  2. As of June 11, 2020, PI eligibility has been extended to continuing staff and lead staff scientists or engineers, staff levels three and four, at SLAC as a five-year pilot (RPH 2.1.2B)
  3. Specific projects which are part of large interdisciplinary programs (RPH 2.1.2.A.2) * See Notes Below

SLAC staff scientists or engineers in levels three to six seeking to be PIs will normally use the waiver process in category 1 or 2 above. It is intended to encourage and facilitate SLAC’s scientific or engineering workforce to develop and expand research programs aligned with the SLAC mission.

The PI exception route 3 is available for SLAC staff independent of level and job series if they are associated with large interdisciplinary programs. This route is not routine or automatic and undergoes careful review for adherence to the Stanford RPH by the SLAC Office of the Chief Research Officer (CRO).   A "large interdisciplinary program" is defined as a research program which: a) is directed by a member of the Academic Council or MCL faculty, b) has an expected duration beyond the involvement of any individual faculty participant, c) has more than one faculty member involved, and d) requires expertise in more than one discipline or technical area. All of the following conditions must be met in order for the department chair and school dean to approve PI exceptions in such cases:

The proposed project must be a demonstrably important component of the success of the overall interdisciplinary program, as defined above

  1. There is no member of the Academic Council or MCL faculty associated with the large interdisciplinary project who is qualified to take responsibility for the scientific direction of the prospective research project
  2. No incremental space will be required for the project
  3. For each graduate student participating on the project, a qualified faculty member has been identified to assure that the student's research program and the education derived from it are consistent with the degree for which the student is a candidate
  4. Exceptions approved under this provision will be reported to the Dean of Research on an annual basis.

PI Waiver Process

First consult the FAQ below to see if a waiver process is requied.  

PI Eligibility FAQs

»  Initiate PI waiver process (login required)

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.
  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.

Staff pursuing PI-ship on grants funded by DOE or non-DOE sources must seek prior management approval by the respective Associate Laboratory Director (ALD), and the Directorate Business Manager must be notified. The Office of the CRO is pleased to offer help and advice (contact

Stanford Principal Investigator (SPI) at SLAC

One of SLAC’s strengths is the ability to involve Stanford faculty and Stanford PIs to develop new or contribute significantly to existing research programs at SLAC. To facilitate this interaction, it has become important to provide a mechanism for Stanford PIs to formally integrate into SLAC so they have all of the rights and responsibilities of a SLAC PI.  This includes, but is not limited to, the ability to supervise SLAC staff on their funded SLAC programs, obtain the relevant SLAC training necessary to submit proposals and perform work at SLAC, and obtain a SLAC badge. 

In order to qualify as a Stanford PI at SLAC, the individual must: (1) be a member of the Professoriate or have PI privileges at Stanford; (2) not already have a SLAC appointment; and (3) have or be expected to develop an ongoing funded program of research or engineering at the Laboratory that contributes to the mission of the Laboratory. 

The request for the appointment shall be made by an Associate Laboratory Director (ALD) and sent to the chair of the Laboratory Advancements and Promotions Committee (LAPC) for submittal to the Laboratory Director for approval. 

The term of the appointment may be up to 5 years with the possibility of renewal. In cases of an initial appointment preceding the development of an ongoing funded program (i.e., one expected to result in an ongoing funded program), an appointment of up to two years may be more appropriate. 

This appointment does not impact the individual’s Stanford faculty appointment, or Stanford responsibilities in any way, nor confer any new employment benefits.  The appointment is not a SLAC faculty appointment.   

The Stanford PI at SLAC responsibilities:
  • Following all SLAC policies and DOE requirements in executing any awards received through this appointment. 
  • Observing all the training requirements as assigned by the Point of Contact (POC)/Supervisor through the STA process, which will be the same as for SLAC faculty and research staff.
  • Obtain a SLAC badge.

References (requires SLAC login):

SLAC Author Responsibilities

SLAC Author Responsibilities (SciDoc)