Glossary of Terms
Glossary of Terms Related to Sponsored Programs
Allocable costs. A cost is allocable if the goods or services involved are chargeable or assignable to a specific cost objective in accordance with relative benefits received or other equitable relationship. A cost is allocable to a sponsored agreement if (1) it is incurred solely to advance the work covered under the sponsored agreement; (2) it benefits both the sponsored agreement and other work of the institution, in proportions that can be approximated through used of reasonable methods; or (3) it is necessary to the overall operation of the institution and can be assigned in part to sponsored projects. When the purchase of equipment or other capital items is specifically authorized under a sponsored agreement, the costs thus authorized for those purchases are assignable to the sponsored agreement regardless of the use that may later be made of the equipment or other capital items involved. (OMB-Cir.A-21)
Allowable costs. Costs deemed allowable based on specific principles applied to each project. The general principles used to determine whether a cost is allowable include (1) is it reasonable; (2) is it allocable to the sponsored project; (3) has it been treated consistently based on application of the generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) appropriate to the circumstances or situation; and (4) does it conform to any limitations or exclusions set forth in the principles or in the sponsored project agreement as to types or amounts of cost items; (5) if applied to a federally-financed program, it is not included as a cost or used to meet cost sharing or matching requirements for any other such funded program; and (6) it is adequately documented. (OMB-Cir.A-21; OMB-Cir.A-122)
Authorizing Official (Signature Authority). The institution official(s) authorized to commit institutional resources, services and personnel to a sponsored agreement.
Budget. The sum total of costs (direct and indirect) associated with a project or proposed project.
Budget Justification. A detailed justification for each major proposed expenditure. Generally accompanies the budget section of the proposal.
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA). A listing of all federal programs, projects, and services which provide assistance to the US population.
Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The compilation of general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by departments and agencies of the Federal government.
Cognizant agency. The Federal agency responsible for negotiating and approving indirect cost rates.
Conflict of Interest Policy. See Conflict for policy.
Continuation Project (Non-competing). Multiple year awards which may or may not require noncompetitive consecutive applications or progress reports.
Contract. An agreement, promise or set of promises between the institution and another legal entity to provide an economic benefit for compensation. The agreement is legally binding and creates a quid pro quo relationship between the institution and the entity. The performance of the terms of a contract is recognized legally as a duty and obligation. Breach of this duty or obligation carries legal sanctions. May be recognized as a procurement contract under an award or subaward, and a procurement subcontract under a recipient’s or subrecipient’s contract. (OMB-Cir.A-110)
Cost Accounting Period. Educational institutions shall use their fiscal year as their cost accounting period whenever possible. (OMB-Cir.A-21)
Cost-sharing (Cost-matching). The institutional practice of sharing in the cost of conducting an externally funded grant or contract by pledging in-kind or matching cash funds. Cost sharing/matching may come in three forms:
Suggested cost sharing/matching: Suggestion must be in writing rather than simply verbal.
Required cost sharing/matching: If the sponsoring agency’s policy is to require a cost share, the Office of Sponsored Programs must be consulted before commitments can be considered.
Voluntary cost sharing/matching: Generally not considered.
Debarment and Suspension. Being deemed ineligible under statutory or regulatory authority from competing for Federal procurement or nonprocurement programs.
Direct costs. Direct costs are those costs which can be clearly identified and specifically related to a particular sponsored project relatively easily and with a high degree of accuracy. These include but are not limited to salary and wages, fringe benefits, supplies, contractual services, travel and communication, equipment, and computer use. Costs incurred for the same purpose in like circumstances must be treated consistently as either direct or F&S costs (OMB-Cir.A-21).
Ethics in Research Document. See Faculty Guide, Section IV
Equipment. Tangible nonexpendable personal property including exempt property charged directly to the award budget (OMB-Cir.A-21). Permanent Equipment. An item with a value greater than $1,000 with a useful life expectancy of one year or longer.
Expendable Equipment and Supplies. Equipment with a unit value of less than $1,000 and a useful life expectancy of less than one year. Allowable items will ordinarily be limited to research equipment and apparatus not already available for the conduct of the work. General purpose equipment, such as a personal computer, is not eligible for support unless primarily or exclusively used in the actual conduct of scientific research.
External Proposal Review (Peer Review). Proposal evaluation conducted by professionals not within the agency’s employ. While external reviewers advise the agency on the appropriateness of the budget and make recommendations for funding, final funding decisions often rest with agency officials.
Facilities and Administration. (OMB-Cir. A-21)
Facilities is defined as depreciation and use allowances, interest on debt associated with certain buildings, equipment and capital improvements, operation and maintenance expenses, and library expenses.
Administration is defined as general administration and general expenses, department administration, sponsored projects administration, student administration and services and all other types of expenditures not listed specifically as “facilities”.
Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs (formerly Indirect Costs). Costs that are incurred for common and joint objectives as a result of supporting and conducting research but which cannot be assigned easily or specifically to a particular sponsored project, institutional activity or service. F&A costs are synonymous with “indirect” costs. Examples would include general and departmental administration, sponsored projects administration, physical plant operation and maintenance, depreciation costs, and student services. (OMB-Cir. A-21)
F&A rate. The negotiated, predetermined educational institution indirect cost rate established for a period of two to four years. The rate should be applied to total salaries, wages, and fringe benefits.
Gift. A voluntary contribution/transfer of money or material goods received by an institution for either unrestricted or restricted use. The contribution is a nonreciprocal transfer in that there is no expectation of a return of commensurate value or actual control over the expenditure of funds.
Grant. An award of funds or other property by a sponsor to achieve some general or specific purpose(s). Typical sponsors include corporations, foundations, and state or federal agencies.
Grant Officer. The sponsoring agency representative assigned to your grant or grant category.
Indirect Costs. (see Facilities and Administrative Costs).
Indirect Cost Recovery (IRC) Policy. See Academic Procedures and Regulations # 17 Academic Affairs Memoranda: Grants
Institutional Review Board (IRB): Human Subjects. The University/Administrative committee specifically charged with reviewing proposed research projects to make sure that potential research subjects will be protected from harm and that they will be treated respectfully and fairly. See Charge and Membership.
Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). The University/Administrative committee specifically charged with (1) recommending acceptable and ensuring proper standards for the care, use and treatment of laboratory animals in research, testing and education in compliance with federal guidelines and (2) assisting with the preparation and review of research proposals involving animal subjects specified by the Animal Welfare Act to assure their compliance with all scientific, humane and ethical principles outlined by National Institutes of Health policies. Central is also a member of OLAW and a registered U.S. Department of Agriculture research facility. Personnel must follow standards and procedures for procurement, care, and use of animals as outlined in the Animal Welfare Act. See Charge and Membership.
Internal Proposal Review. Proposal review by an agency’s own staff of full-time, trained personnel.
Internal Routing Sheet (Blue Sheet). See Blue Sheet.
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circulars.
A-21 – Cost Principles for Educational Institutions
A-110 – Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements With Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals and Other Non-Profit Organizations
A-122 – Cost Principles for Non-Profit Organizations
A-133 – Audits of State, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations
Proposal. A written offer to accomplish an objective in a particular way for a particular sum of money. It serves as the primary document upon which the University and a funding agency agree to provide funds, facilities, and services necessary to complete the project and it specifies the obligations of the PI to complete the objectives of the project, the University to provide facilities and services, and the funding agency to provide financial support.
Principal Investigator (PI). The individual faculty or staff member identified as the primary researcher with fiscal and legal responsibility for ensuring that the terms of the award are met and that the policies of the university are followed.
Program income. Program income means gross income earned by the recipient that is directly generated by a supported activity or earned as a result of the award. Program income includes, but is not limited to, income from fees for services performed, the use or rental of real or personal property acquired under federally-funded projects, the sale of commodities or items fabricated under an award, license fees and royalties on patents and copyrights, and interest on loans made with award funds.
Program or Project Officer. See Grant Officer.
Project Period. The period established in the award document.
Reasonable costs. A cost is considered reasonable if the nature of the goods or services acquired or applied are considered ordinary and necessary, and the amount involved reflect the actions that a prudent person would have taken under the circumstances prevailing at the time the decision to incur the cost was made. (OMB-Cir. A-21; OMB-Cir. A-122)
Request for Proposal (RFP). Announcements which specify a topic or area of research, outline or specify research methods, identify results to be reported or delivered, list eligibility requirements and specify project periods.
Signature Authority. See Authorizing Official.
Sponsored Agreement. Any grant, contract, or other agreement between the institution and the funder.
Total costs. The sum total of the allowable direct and allocable indirect costs of a sponsored project less any applicable credits. (OMB-Cir. A-122)
Transmittal letters. A letter, written and signed by the signature authority for the University which asks the agency to consider the proposal. It should accompany the proposal and include the project’s title or name, a brief introduction to the project, a statement of the PI’s qualifications and an offer to negotiate the terms of the proposal.