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Office of Research & Sponsored Programs

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Rates & Resources

ORSP Glossary

Navigate through the Office of Research and Sponsored Program's glossary for more information regarding each subject matter. For more information, please contact your Project Administrator.

A - Terms

Acquisition Cost

Acquisition cost is the amount it takes to purchase an asset and make it available for use.  Acquisition costs include the purchase price of an item and the costs necessary to obtain and prepare the asset. Acquisition cost does not include repairs, service contracts, or supplemental warranties.

Activity Code

A unique code that captures the cost-share information for a specific grant.

Administrative Salary

Compensation paid for non-technical services that support departmental activities or objectives including services such as clerical support, financial management, procurement of materials and services, business services, budget and planning, and personnel management.  Administrative salary is typically not permissible on a federal award unless unlike circumstances exist that comply with the Administrative and Clerical Salaries Charged to Federal Awards Policy.

Advance Payment

Advance payment means a payment that a Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity makes by any appropriate payment mechanism, including a predetermined payment schedule, before the non-Federal entity disburses the funds for program purposes.


A basic condition that must be met in deciding if an expenditure is appropriate to a federal award.  In defining an allocable charge, the purchase of the good or service must relate to the specific project being charged.


Allocation means the process of assigning a cost, or a group of costs.


A basic condition that must be met in deciding if an expenditure is appropriate to a federal award.  In order to define if a charge is allowable, federal regulations must allow the use of federal funds for the purchase of such an item or service.

Audit Finding

An action that appears to not comply with regulations and is deemed significant to warrant mention in an auditor's report. Audit finding means deficiencies are reported in the schedule of findings and questioned costs.

Authorized Institutional Signatory

An employee of the University authorized to sign legal documents on behalf of the Chancellor. 


Funds that have been obligated by a funding agency for a particular project.

B - Terms


The detailed statement outlining estimated project costs to support work under a grant or contract.

Budget Period

The interval of time, usually 12 months, into which the project period is divided for budgetary and funding purposes.

C - Terms

Capital Equipment

Capital assets means tangible or intangible assets used in operations having a useful life of more than one year and a value of more than $5,000 which are capitalized in accordance with the Capital Equipment Policy.  Capital assets include land, buildings, equipment, and software.


Carryforward is the ability granted by a sponsor,  either permitted automatically or requiring approval, to  the grantee to move  funds previously unspent in a past budget period into the new budget period while also obligating the fully anticipated amount for the new budget period.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number

The CFDA number means the number assigned to a Federal Program in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Programs (“CFDA”).  Each federal assistance program has a unique identifying CFDA number comprised of a two-digit prefix that identifies the federal agency followed by a period (dot) and a three-digit number that identifies the specific program, e.g., 16.056).

Chart of Accounts (CoA)

A code that accompanies every financial transaction.  The Chart of Accounts is comprised of 6 Segments (Fund, Org, Account, Program, Activity, and Location) that are used as the University of Denver’s organizational framework for budgeting, recording, and reporting on all financial transactions.

Circular A-110

An OMB publication entitled “Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Other Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals and Other Non-Profit Organizations” that describes the required minimum management systems and institution must have in order to administer federal grants.  OMB Circular A-110 was incorporated into the OMB Uniform Administrative Requirements, which became effective December 26th, 2014.

Circular A-133

An OMB publication governing audits of “States, Local Governments and Non-Profit Organizations.  OMB Circular A-133 was incorporated into the OMB Uniform Audit Requirements, which became effective December 26th, 2014.

Circular A-21

Cost Principles for Educational Institutions, an OMB publication governing the cost principles for universities.  OMB Circular A-21 was incorporated into the OMB Uniform Cost Principles, which became effective December 26th, 2014.

Clinical Trial

A contract to test drugs, devices, or other controlled substances for Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) approval.  Most Clinical Trials are focused on generating safety and efficacy data for use in an FDA approval process.  Clinical trials usually involve the use of human or animal subjects.


The act of completing all internal procedures and sponsor requirements to terminate or complete a research project. Most awards have strict deadlines for completion of closeout activities. Failure to complete the closeout by the deadline can result in non-payment of the final amount or may affect the ability to obtain another award from the sponsor.

Committed Effort

Amount or percentage of time an individual has communicated to the sponsor that he/she will work on a specific sponsored project over a specified period of time. Commitments are made in the award proposal and may be documented by the sponsor in award documents.  Changes to reduce committed effort may require sponsor approval.

Competing Renewal

Request to the sponsor for funding that builds upon a previous project in the sponsor peer review process.  If the competing renewal is awarded, there is usually a new period of performance and level of funding.  Normally, this generates a new segment in GMAS within existing project.

Conflict of Interest (COI)

A situation in which an employee has the opportunity to influence a university or sponsor decision that could lead to a financial or other personal advantage or that involves other conflicting official obligation that could directly and significantly affect the design, conduct, or reporting of research.


A legal protection for an original piece of work, such as art, film, software, or writing.  At the University of Denver, the University holds any patents that come about as a result of sponsored research, but the individual faculty member often holds the copyrights.  Sponsored research agreements may specify other, or additional, provisions.  Questions about copyright may be addressed to either the Office of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer.


An individual or business whose expertise is required to perform work on a sponsored award.  Services are temporary, special, or highly technical.  A consultant may not serve as senior personnel (e.g., Co-Investigator, Principal Investigator).


A professional activity related to a person's field or discipline, where a fee-for-service or equivalent relationship with a third party exists. (Consulting or Related Service Agreements)

Continuation (aka Non-Competing Continuation)

A request or proposal type submitted to request funds for subsequent budget periods after the first budget period, when a discretionary multiyear project is approved for a project period of more than 1 year.


A mechanism for procurement of a product or service with specific obligations for both sponsor and recipient. Typically, a research topic and the methods for conducting the research are specified in detail by the sponsor, although some sponsors award contracts in response to unsolicited proposals.


Term used to refer to a vendor.

Cooperative Agreement

An award similar to a grant, but in which the sponsor's staff may be actively involved in proposal preparation, and anticipates having substantial involvement in research activities once the award has been made.

Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI)

University of Denver faculty or staff member who shares equally with another faculty or staff member the responsibility for directing the technical and administrative work of a sponsored project.  Each person can be named in the proposal and on project documentation as a co-PI, provided this role is accepted by the sponsor.

Corrective Action

Corrective action means action taken by the auditee that corrects identified deficiencies, produces recommended improvements, or demonstrates that audit findings are either invalid or do not warrant auditee action.

Cost Accounting Standards Board (CASB)

Federally mandated accounting standards intended to ensure uniformity in budgeting and spending funds.

Cost Sharing (or Matching)

A general term, used as a noun or adjective, that can describe virtually any type of arrangement in which more than one party supports research, equipment acquisition, demonstration projects, programs, institutions. 

Example: A university receives a grant for a project estimated to have a total cost of $100,000. The sponsor agrees to pay 75% (%75,000) and the university agrees to pay 25% ($25,000). The $25,000 portion is the cost-sharing component.

Cost Transfer

A cost transfer is a journal entry that transfers an expense onto a federally funded sponsored award that was previously recorded elsewhere on the University of Denver’s General Ledger and requires institutional approval before it can be posted to the General Ledger. 

D - Terms

Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number

A certification assuring the Federal agency that the research personnel and the institution are not presently declared ineligible for receiving federal support, have not been convicted of fraud or a criminal offense in the performance of a federal award, are not in violation of federal or state statutes, are not presently indicted for criminal or civil charges and have not within a three-year period preceding the application had one or more federal, state or local transactions terminated for cause or default.

Defense Acquisition Regulations (DAR)

The source regulations for research projects sponsored by the Department of Defense.


Expenditures exceed funds available.

Direct Costs

Clearly identifiable costs related to a specific project. General categories of direct costs include, but are not limited to, salaries and wages, fringe benefits, supplies, contractual services, travel and communication, equipment, and computer use.

Disallowed Costs

Disallowed costs means those charges to a Federal award that the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity determines to be unallowable, in accordance with the applicable Federal statutes, regulations, or the terms and conditions of the Federal award.

E - Terms

Effort Reporting

The mechanism used to provide assurance to federal or other external sponsors that salaries charged or cost shared to sponsored awards are reasonable in relation to the work performed. 


Funds that have been set aside or "claimed" for projected expenses pending actual expenditure of funds.

Expanded Authorities

The permission that many federal agencies give research universities to approve certain types of changes to grants without obtaining the sponsor’s authorization.  These changes include pre-award spending, no-cost extensions, and rebudgeting of restricted expense classes such as equipment.

Export Controls

Federal laws and regulations that restrict the unlicensed flow of certain materials, devices, and technical information related to such devices outside the United States or to foreign persons in the United States.  These laws include, but are not limited to:

ITAR: International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) are administered by Dept of State (Controls Defense related items)

EAR:  Export Administration Regulations (EAR) are administered by Dept of Commerce (Controls most other items)

OFAC:  Office of Foreign Asset Controls (OFAC) are a part of the U.S. Department of Treasury that administers and enforces economic embargoes and trade sanctions based on U.S. foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, and those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.


An additional period of time given by a sponsor to an organization for the completion of work on an approved grant or contract. An extension allows previously allocated funds to be spent after the original expiration date.

F - Terms

Fabrication/Fabricated Equipment

Equipment constructed or developed by combining parts and/or materials into one identifiable unit.  The aggregate cost of all parts in the completed unit must meet the $5,000 capital equipment threshold and must have a useful life of one year or more.

Facilities & Administrative (F&A) Costs

Costs that are incurred for common or joint objectives and, therefore, cannot be identified readily and specifically with a particular sponsored project, instructional activity, or any other institutional activity. F&A costs are sometimes called "indirect" costs or “overhead.”

Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR)

The FAR is a system of uniform policies and procedures governing the acquisition or contracting actions of all federal executive agencies.  All federal contracts are subject to the FAR.

Federal Award Date

Federal award date means the date when the Federal award is signed by the authorized official of the Federal awarding agency.

Federal Awarding Agency

Federal awarding agency means the Federal agency that provides a Federal award directly to a non-Federal entity.

Federal Share

Federal share means the portion of the total project costs that are paid by Federal funds.


An award made directly to an individual in support of specific educational pursuits either proposed by the Fellow or by a Principal Investigator’s fellowship program. The individual cannot be an employee of the granting organization.

Final Report

The final technical or financial report required by the sponsor to complete a research project.


An action that appears not to comply with regulations and is deemed sufficiently significant to warrant mention in an auditor's report.

Fiscal Year (FY)

Any twelve-month period for which annual accounts are kept. At the University of Denver, the fiscal year runs from July 1st through June 30th.

Fixed Amount (Fixed Price) Awards

A contract/grant for which one party pays the other party a pre-determined price, regardless of actual costs, for services rendered. Quite often, this is a fee-for-service agreement.


When subawards are created, the specific terms of the prime award that must be incorporated into these documents are called flowdowns —that is, the terms “flow down” from the prime award to the subaward.


This is the unique combination of a fund, org, activity and program set-up in the University’s Banner system and charged in the general ledger, or grant fund.

Foreign National

A person residing in the U.S. who is not a lawful permanent resident. This term also includes any foreign corporation, business association, partnership, trust, society or any other group not incorporated or organized to do business in the United States, and any international organization, foreign government or diplomatic entity.

Fringe Benefits

Employee benefits paid by the employer (for example, life insurance, medical coverage, tuition assistance, and pension benefits).  The department in which the person works (or the sponsor, if the salary is paid by sponsored funds) pays the costs of these benefits; the amount is usually a percentage of the salary.

Fully Executed

A contract or grant document is fully executed when it has been signed by all the parties from which signature is required. Typically, ORSP will not establish an account until all parties have reached formal agreement.


In the University of Denver Chart of Accounts, a fund is a five-digit value that represents the source of funding as provided by a particular sponsored award.

Federal Wide Assurance (FWA)

The University’s agreement with the United States Office of Human Research Protection (OHRP) regarding our obligations to review and approve the use of human subjects in research. 

G - Terms

Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)

The common set of accounting principles, standards, and procedures.  GAAP are a combination of authoritative standards (set by policy boards) and simply the commonly accepted ways of recording and reporting accounting information.


Gifts and bequests are awards given with few or no conditions specified. Gifts may be provided to establish an endowment or to provide direct support for existing programs. Frequently, gifts are used to support developing programs for which other funding is not available. The unique flexibility, or lack of restrictions, makes gifts attractive sources of support.


A type of financial assistance awarded to an organization for the conduct of research or other program as specified in an approved proposal. A grant, as opposed to a cooperative agreement, is used whenever the awarding office anticipates no substantial programmatic involvement with the recipient during the performance of the activities.

Grant/Contract Officer

A sponsor's designated individual who is officially responsible for the business management aspects of a particular grant, cooperative agreement, or contract. Serving as the counterpart to the business officer of the grantee/contractor organization, the grant/contract officer is responsible for all business management matters associated with the review, negotiation, award, and administration of a grant or contract and interprets the associated administration policy regulations and provisions.

I - Terms

Indirect Costs [Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs]

Costs related to expenses incurred in conducting or supporting research or other externally-funded activities, but not directly attributable to a specific project. General categories of indirect costs include general administration (accounting, payroll, purchasing, etc.), sponsored project administration, plant operation and maintenance, library expenses, departmental administration expenses, depreciation or use allowance for buildings and equipment, and student administration and services.

Indirect Cost Rate Proposal

The rate, expressed as a percentage of the base amount of salaries and wages. This rate is established by negotiation with the cognizant federal agency on the basis of the institution's projected costs for the year.

In-Kind Cost Sharing

Non-cash contributions of time, talent, or resources from the University of Denver. Third-party in-kind contributions may be in the form of equipment, materials, or services of recognized value that are offered in lieu of cash.

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)

The committee responsible for approving all activities involving the use of animals at the in federally funded research.

Institutional Base Salary (IBS)

Annual compensation paid by the University for an employee’s appointment (9 or 12 months), whether that individual’s time is spent on research, teaching, or other activities.  IBS does not include bonuses, one-time payments, or incentive pay.  Additionally, IBS does not include payments from other organizations or income that individuals are permitted to earn outside of their University responsibilities, such as consulting.  IBS must be used as the base salary on all grant proposals.

Institutional Review Board (IRB)

A committee formally designated to approve, monitor, and review biomedical and behavioral research involving humans with the aim to protect the rights and welfare of the research subjects.  Regulations have empowered IRBs to approve, require modifications in planned research prior to approval, or disapprove research.  An IRB performs critical oversight functions for research conducted on human subjects that are scientific, ethical, and regulatory.

Intangible Property

Intangible property means property having no physical existence, such as trademarks, copyrights, patents and patent applications and property, such as loans, notes and other debt instruments, lease agreements, stock and other instruments of property ownership (whether the property is tangible or intangible). 

Intellectual Property (IP)

A broad term that encompasses the various intangible products of the intellect of inventors and authors. These include patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, know-how, and other proprietary concepts, including an invention, scientific or technological development, and even computer software and genetically engineered microorganisms.

Internal Controls

Internal controls are processes to provide reasonable assurance that the University of Denver is managing federal awards in compliance with federal statues, regulations, and the terms and conditions of the award.

International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)

The body of U.S. law governing export of articles, services, and related technical data that are inherently military in nature (including technology related to space and space exploration), as determined by the State Department.

K - Terms

Key Personnel

The personnel considered to be of primary importance to the successful conduct of a research project. The term usually applies to the senior members of the project staff.

L - Terms

Letter of Credit (LOC)

A payment mechanism that allows the institution to request a wire transfer of cash from the federal sponsor’s treasury account in order to cover immediate disbursement needs (i.e., the costs) of the research projects supported by that sponsor. Non-federal sponsors occasionally set up letters of credit as well.


The legal mechanism by which one party can obtain the right to use someone else's patent or copyright, usually by paying licensing fees.

M - Terms

Material Transfer Agreement (MTA)

An agreement negotiated by the Office of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer to govern the transfer of materials and, in limited cases, devices. MTAs specify the rights, obligations, and restrictions of both the providing and receiving parties with respect to issues such as ownership, publication, intellectual property and permitted use and liability.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

An agreement between interested parties establishing their respective rights and responsibilities regarding a project.

Misconduct in Science

Fabrication, plagiarism, or other practices that seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted within the scientific community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research. It does not include honest error or honest differences in interpretations or judgments of data.

Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC)

MTDC means all direct salaries and wages, applicable fringe benefits, materials and supplies, services, travel, and subawards up to the first $25,000 of each subaward (regardless of the period of performance of the subawards and subcontracts under the award). MTDC excludes equipment, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, rental costs, tuition remission, scholarships and fellowships, participant support costs and the portion of each subaward in excess of $25,000.)

Modular Grant

A type of NIH grant application in which support is requested in increments or modules of $25,000 up to a maximum total of $250,000 in direct cost per year, without providing a detailed categorical budget breakdown.

N - Terms

No-cost Extension

An extension of the period of performance beyond the expiration data to allow for the Principal Investigator to finish a project. Usually, no additional costs are provided.

Non-federal Entity

Non-Federal entity means a state, local government, Indian tribe, institution of higher education (IHE), or nonprofit organization that carries out a Federal award as a recipient or subrecipient.

Non-profit Organization

Nonprofit organization means any corporation, trust, association, cooperative, or other organization, not including IHEs, that:

  • Is operated primarily for scientific, educational, service, charitable, or similar purposes in the public interest;
  • Is not organized primarily for profit; and
  • Uses net proceeds to maintain, improve, or expand the operations of the organization.

Notice of Grant Award (NGA)

The legally binding document that serves as a notification to the recipient and others that a grant or cooperative agreement has been made. It contains or references all terms of the award and documents the obligation of funds.

O - Terms


For the purposes of sponsored research, “off-campus” refers to research that is conducted in space not owned by the University and not otherwise paid for by the University from University funds. For space used for off‐campus research, an external source (typically, a research sponsor) provides funding, either paying directly for space, or reimburses University costs for renting or leasing the space, or otherwise directly provides space for research at no charge to the University.  Accordingly, the Facilities portion of the on‐campus F&A rate does not apply to the rental or lease costs of such space.

Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

Agency of the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government that assists the President in overseeing the preparation of the Federal budget and establishes government-wide grants management policies and guidelines through circulars and common rules.  These policies are adopted by each grant-making agency. 


For the purposes of sponsored research, “on-campus” refers to research that is conducted in space owned by the University and for which the University is bearing the space costs, from University funds.  For space used for on‐campus research, the University has already included the costs associated with that space in the “facilities” portion of the on‐campus F&A rate.

Activities performed partly-on, partly-off campus:  the University uses the rate applicable to the location where the preponderance of the time and effort will be expended.  Accordingly, each contract or grant is assigned only one indirect cost rate.

Organized Research

All research and development activities of the University that are separately budgeted and accounted for

Other Institutional Activities

Other Institutional Activities include all activities of an institution except: (1) instruction, departmental research, organized research, and other sponsored activities (2) F&A cost activities; and (3) specialized service facilities.  Examples of other institutional activities include operation of residence halls, dining halls, hospitals and clinics, student unions, intercollegiate athletics, bookstores, faculty housing, student apartments, guest houses, chapels, theaters, public museums, and other similar auxiliary enterprises. This definition also includes any other categories of activities, costs of which are "unallowable" to sponsored agreements, unless otherwise indicated in the agreements.

Other Sponsored Activities

Programs and projects financed by Federal and non -Federal agencies and organizations which involve the performance of work other than instruction and organized research. Examples of such programs and projects are health service projects, and community service programs. However, when any of these activities are undertaken by the institution without outside support, they may be classified as other institutional activities.


See F&A.

P - Terms

Parental Leave

Parental leave is considered paid time off and should be charged to the fund or project where regular pay would have been charged


An individual who receives services from a project or program funded by an award. Participants perform no work or services for the project or program other than for their own benefit. University employees may not be participants.

Participant Support Costs

Participant support costs means direct costs for items such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not employees) in connection with conferences, or training projects.

Pass-through Entity

Pass-through entity means a non-Federal entity that provides a subaward to a subrecipient to carry out part of a sponsored program.


Legal recognition issued by the US government, allowing the inventor to prevent others from making or using his/her invention without permission.  US utility patents last 20 years from the date the patent application is filed; US design patents last 14 years from the date of issue.  Others who wish to use the patent holder's invention must obtain a license to do so.  If the item to be protected is a written or artistic work (or sometimes computer software), a copyright is the appropriate legal protection.

Peer Review

The process by which competing proposals are reviewed and compared on the basis of scientific or intellectual merit by other investigators or “peers” rather than by agency administrators. Different federal agencies use peer review at different points in the proposal process, and with differing levels of involvement by experts both within and outside the agency.

Performance Goal

Performance goal means a target level of performance expressed as a tangible, measurable objective, against which actual achievement can be compared, including a goal expressed as a quantitative standard, value, or rate. In some instances (e.g., discretionary research awards), this may be limited to the requirement to submit technical performance reports (to be evaluated in accordance with agency policy).

Period of Performance

The time period during which the proposed work will be completed and the funds awarded are available for expenditure by the recipient.

Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

PII means information that can be used to distinguish or trace an individual's identity, either alone or when combined with other personal or identifying information that is linked or linkable to a specific individual. Some information that is considered to be PII is available in public sources such as telephone books, public Web sites, and university listings. This type of information is considered to be Public PII and includes, for example, first and last name, address, work telephone number, email address, home telephone number, and general educational credentials. The definition of PII is not anchored to any single category of information or technology. Rather, it requires a case-by-case assessment of the specific risk that an individual can be identified. Non-PII can become PII whenever additional information is made publicly available, in any medium and from any source, that, when combined with other available information, could be used to identify an individual.


A brief description, usually 2-10 pages, of research plans and estimated budget that is sometimes submitted to determine the interest of a particular sponsor prior to submission of a formal proposal. Also termed Preliminary Proposal.


The original funding entity of a project for which the University of Denver has received a portion of funding via a subagreement. The prime sponsor is our sponsor's sponsor.

Principal Investigator (PI)

The individual officially responsible for the conduct of a sponsored project.  On research projects, the PI is usually a faculty member.

Prior Approval

The requirement for written documentation of permission to use project funds for purposes not in the approved budget, or to change aspects of the program from those originally planned and approved. Prior approval must be obtained before the performance of the act that requires such approval under the terms of the agreement.

Program Income

Program income means gross income earned by the non-Federal entity that is directly generated by a supported activity or earned as a result of the Federal award during the period of performance.  If the federal awarding agency does not specify how to treat program income generated on an award, the income may be added to the federal award and must be used for the purposes and under the conditions of the federal award.  Program income does not include income earned from license fees and royalties for copyrighted material, patents, trademarks, and inventions.

Program Officer

A sponsor's designated individual officially responsible for the technical, scientific, or programmatic aspects of a particular grant, cooperative agreement, or contract. Serving as the counterpart to the principal investigator/project director of the grantee/contractor organization, the program/project officer deals with the grantee/contractor organization staff to assure programmatic progress. (For definition of business officer, see Grant/Contract Officer.)

Progress Report

Periodic, scheduled reports required by the sponsor summarizing research progress to date. Technical, fiscal, and invention reports may be required.


An application for funding that contains all information necessary to describe project plans, staff capabilities, and funds requested. Formal proposals are officially approved and submitted by an organization in the name of a principal investigator.

Proprietary Research

Research sponsored by a non-governmental entity (including the University of Denver) or individual that involves restrictions on the distribution or publication of the research findings or results following completion, for a specified period or for an indefinite duration.

Protected Personally Identifiable Information (Protected PII)

Protected PII means an individual's first name or first initial and last name in combination with any one or more of types of information, including, but not limited to, social security number, passport number, credit card numbers, clearances, bank numbers, biometrics, date, and place of birth, mother's maiden name, criminal, medical, and financial records, educational transcripts.  This does not include PII that is required by law to be disclosed.

Project Cost

Project cost means total allowable costs incurred under a Federal award and all required cost sharing and voluntary committed cost sharing, including third-party contributions.

Purchase Order (PO)

A form representing an authorized request for the purchase of goods or services from a vendor. In many procurement systems, a PO is synonymous with an approved "requisition." Invoices from vendors correlate with POs by "PO number," typically supplied to vendors when orders are placed. 

R - Terms

Real Property

Real property means land, including land improvements, structures and appurtenances thereto, but excludes moveable machinery and equipment


One of the basic conditions that must be met in deciding whether a particular expenditure is appropriate to a particular federal account. “Is the charge reasonable?” means “does the nature of the goods or services acquired, and the amount paid for those goods or services, reflect the actions of a prudent person at the time the cost was incurred?”


Recipient means a non-Federal entity that receives a Federal award directly from a Federal awarding agency to carry out an activity under a Federal program. The term recipient does not include subrecipients.


Applicable to grants and cooperative agreements only. A competitively reviewed proposal requesting additional funds extending the scope of work beyond the current project period.


In relation to capital equipment, repairs are expenses that maintain the equipment for current use.  Repairs that do not extend the useful life of the equipment by one year or more cannot be capitalized.  Repairs that extend the useful life of equipment by one year or more are considered upgrades and may be capitalized.

Report of Invention (ROI)

A form used by inventors to describe an invention. The Office of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer reviews the ROI before deciding whether to file a patent application.

Request for Proposals (RFP)

Announcements that specify a topic of research, methods to be used, product to be delivered, and appropriate applicants sought. Proposals submitted in response to RFPs generally result in the award of a contract. Notices of federal RFPs are published in the Commerce Business Daily.

S - Terms

Salary Cap

Legislatively mandated provision limiting the direct salary (also known as salary or institutional base salary, but excluding any fringe benefits and F&A costs) for individuals working on grants, cooperative agreement awards, and extramural research and development contracts.

Simplified Acquisition Threshold

Simplified acquisition threshold means the dollar amount below which a non-Federal entity may purchase property or services using small purchase methods. The simplified acquisition threshold is $150,000 as of December 2014. 

Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR)

Government programs that encourage innovation by mandating that the large sponsoring agencies fund cooperative R&D projects involving small businesses and
research institutions.


The organization that funds a research project.

Sponsored Instruction and Training

Specific instructional or training activity established by grant, contract, or cooperative agreement. For purposes of the cost principles, this activity may be considered a major function even though an institution's accounting treatment may include it in the instruction function.


A payment made to an individual under a fellowship or training grant in accordance with pre-established levels to provide for the individual's living expenses during the period of training.


Subaward means an award provided by a pass-through entity to a subrecipient for the subrecipient to carry out part of a sponsored award received by the pass-through entity.  It does not include payments to a contractor or payments to an individual.  A subaward may be provided through any form of legal agreement, including an agreement that the pass-through entity considers a contract.

Submitted Financial Reports and/or Final Invoices

Many sponsors require the submission of annual and/or final financial reports or invoices at the end of each budget period and/or end of the project.  Final reports and/or final invoices are submitted at the award termination.  The final report also includes annual reports for a specific budget period when the award is set-up as year logic, and the accounts for the reporting period require final figures for closeout. 


Subrecipient means a non-Federal entity that receives a subaward from a pass-through entity to carry out part of a sponsored program; but does not include an individual that is a beneficiary of such program. A subrecipient may also be a recipient of other Federal awards directly from a Federal awarding agency.


Supplies means all tangible personal property other than those described by Capital Equipment.  A computing device is a supply if the acquisition cost is less than the lesser of the capitalization level established by the non-Federal entity for financial statement purposes or $5,000, regardless of the length of its useful life.

Supplemental Proposal

A request to the sponsor for additional funds for an ongoing project during the previously approved performance period. A supplemental proposal may result from increased costs, modifications in design, or a desire to add a closely related component to the ongoing project.

T - Terms

Teaming Agreement

An agreement between two or more parties to participate in a research project or teaching activity.

Technology Transfer

The various mechanisms by which the University "transfers" to industry products of research that have potential market applications. Usually, the researcher and the University receive some compensation (i.e., licensing fees). 


Termination means the ending of an award, in whole or in part at any time prior to the planned end of period of performance.

Third-Party In-Kind Contribution

Third-party in-kind contributions means the value of non-cash contributions (i.e., property or services) that—

(a) Benefit a federally assisted project or program; and
(b) Are contributed by non-Federal third parties, without charge, to a non-Federal entity under an award. 

Total Direct Costs (TDC)

The sum of all charges that are clearly associated with a sponsored project-the salaries of people working on it, the cost of necessary supplies and equipment, etc. TDC is often used to identify the costs on which overhead will be charged.

Tuition Remission

The portion of graduate student tuition that is charged to a sponsored award.

U - Terms

Uniform Guidance (2 CFR 200)

The Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance) are the federal regulations for the management of federal awards.  The Uniform Guidance streamlines and supersedes guidance that was previously contained in eight different OMB Circulars (including A-21, A-110 and A-133).  

The Uniform Guidance administrative requirements and cost principles will apply to new and incremental funding awarded after December 26, 2014.

V - Terms


An organization that provides goods and services within normal business operations.  Vendors provide similar goods and services to many different purchasers; operate in a competitive environment; and provide goods or services that are ancillary to the operation of the sponsored program.  

Under the federal Uniform Guidance, the word “contractor” is used in favor of “vendor.”  For the purposes of the Uniform Guidance, when a non-federal entity provides funds from a federal award to a non-federal entity, the non-federal entity receiving these funds may be either a subrecipient or a contractor.