Glossary for Research Administration



  • Terms & Definitions


American Cancer Society


American Chemical Society - Petroleum Research Fund

AAALAC: American Association for the Accreditation of Lab Animal Care

ACS: American Cancer Society

ACS/PRF: American Chemical Society - Petroleum Research Fund

AHA: American Heart Association

AID: Agency for International Development

AFOSR: Air Force Office of Scientific Research (DOD)

Allocable Costs: Those allowable costs that actually benefit the grant or contract to which they are being charged.

Allowable Costs: Those categories of costs that can be charged to a grant, such as salaries and equipment. Certain types of costs, such as the cost of alcoholic beverages are not allowable and may not be charged to a contract or grant.

AMA: American Medical Association

ARPA: Advanced Research Projects Agency (DOD)

ASPR: Armed Services Procurement Regulations

Audit: A formal examination of an organization's or individual's accounts or financial situation. An audit may also include examination of compliance with applicable terms, laws, and regulations.

AUTM: Association of University Technology Managers

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

Award Period/Duration: Agreement should have specified beginning and ending dates. Expenditures must be incurred during this award period. While some agreements allow for pre-award costs, others do not allow for expenditures outside of the award period to be reimbursed or used for cost share.

Bequests: A type of donation or gift. Bequests and gifts 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.

Broad Agency Announcement (BAA): An announcement of a federal agency's general research interests that invites proposals and specifies the general terms and conditions under which an award may be made.

Budget: The budget is the basis for authorizing expenditures on the agreement and is the basis for requesting payment from the sponsoring agency. Budgets identify the estimated amounts and types of expenditures necessary for the project. The budget must be approved by the funding agency and UNO. Deviations must be pre-approved according to the terms of the sponsoring agency and UNO.

Budget Period: The interval of time--usually twelve months--into which the project period is divided for budgetary, reporting and funding purposes.

Budget Adjustment: The act of amending the budget by moving funds from one category or line item to another. These are submitted to and processed by Sponsored Programs Accounting (SPA).

CBD: Commerce Business Daily

CDC: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

CFDA: Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance

CFR: Code of Federal Regulations

Challenge Grant: A grant that provides monies in response to monies from other sources, usually according to a formula. A challenge grant may, for example, offer two dollars for every one that is obtained from a fund drive. The grant usually has a fixed upper limit, and may have a challenge minimum below which no grant will be made. This form of grant is fairly common in the arts, humanities, and some other fields, but is less common in the sciences. A challenge grant differs from a matching grant in at least one important respect: The amount of money that the recipient organization realizes from a challenge grant may vary widely, depending upon how successful that organization is in meeting the challenge. Matching grants usually award a clearly defined amount and require that a specified sum be obtained before any award is made.

Change Order: A written order signed by the contracting officer, directing the contractor to make changes that the changes clause of the contract authorizes the contracting officer to order without the consent of the contractor.

Close Out: The act of completing all internal procedures and sponsor requirements to terminate or complete a research project.

COGR: Council on Governmental Relations

COLA: Cost of Living Allowance granted to employees based in a foreign city, where cost of living is higher.

Competing Proposals: Proposals that are submitted for the first time or unfunded proposals that are resubmitted; either must compete for research funds. Ongoing projects must compete again if the term of the original award has expired.

Conflict of Interest: may arise when an Investigator, a member of an Investigator's family, or an entity with which an Investigator is associated: has an existing or potential financial or other external interest that impairs, or might reasonably appear to impair, the Investigator's independence of judgment in the discharge of his or her professional responsibilities to the University, ( for example, when an Investigator or a member of an Investigator's family has a financial or other interest in an entity that supplies or receives funds, goods or services to or from the University), or when the Investigator, a member of the Investigator's family or an entity with which the Investigator is associated may receive a material, financial or other benefit from the use or disclosure of information confidential to the University.

Consortium Agreement: Group of collaborative investigators/institutions; arrangement can be formalized with specified terms and conditions.

Consulting: Any professional activity related to an Investigator's field or discipline, where a fee-for-service or equivalent relationship exists between a University employee and a third party.

Continuation Project (Non-Competing): Applicable to grants and cooperative agreements only. A project approved for multiple-year funding, although funds are typically committed only one year at a time. At the end of the initial budget period, progress on the project is assessed. Continuation projects do not compete with new project proposals and are not subjected to peer review beyond the initial project approval.

Contract: 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. Payments to the university cover allowable project costs or payment of a fixed price upon satisfactory completion of the contract.

Contract/Grant 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 policies, regulations, and provisions. (For definition of scientific officer, see Program/Project Officer.)

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.

COS: Community of Science A web server containing information about scientific expertise, funded scientific research, and funding opportunities for research.

Cost Accounting Standards (CAS): Federally mandated accounting standards intended to ensure uniformity in budgeting and spending funds.

Cost-Reimbursement Type Contract/Grant: A contract/grant for which the sponsor pays for the full costs incurred in the conduct of the work up to an agreed-upon amount. The university funds initial costs associated with the agreement and then seeks reimbursement for actual, approved project costs, within the budget or any variances allowed by the sponsor.

Cost-Sharing: That part of total project costs not covered by the sponsoring agency. It includes cash cost share, in-kind cost share, third-party cost share, or un-recovered indirect costs. Cost share is ordinarily borne by the university.

CRADA or CRDA: Cooperative Research and Development Agreement

DAR: Defense Acquisition Regulations

DCAA: Defense Contract Audit Agency

DED: Department of Education

Defense Acquisition Regulations (DAR): The source regulations for research projects sponsored by the Department of Defense.

Deficit Expenditures exceed funds available.

DFARS: Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement

DHHS: Department of Health and Human Services

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, and equipment.

DRG: Division of Research Grants ( National Institutes of Health)

DOD: Department of Defense (includes Air Force, Army, ARPA, and Navy)

DOE: Department of Energy

DOI: Department of Interior

DOT: Department of Transportation

Donation: Transfer of equipment, money, goods, services, and property with or without specifications as to its use. Sometimes donation is used to designate contributions that are made with more specific intent than is usually the case with a gift, but the two terms are often used interchangeably. (Also see Gift.) These accounts are overseen by Accounting Services.

EDISON: NIH Extramural Invention Information Management System

Electronic Research Administration (ERA): Conducting research administration by utilizing electronic resources such as the internet, the world wide web, form templates, databases, and other electronic tools.

Encumbrance: Funds that have been set aside or "claimed" for projected expenses pending actual expenditure of the funds. UNO encumbers equipment and subcontracts via a Purchase Order.

Endowment: A fund usually in the form of an income-generating investment, established to provide long-term support for faculty/research positions (e.g., endowed chair). These accounts are handled by the UNO Foundation and Financial Services.

EPA: Environmental Protection Agency

Expiration Date: The date signifying the end of the performance period, as indicated on the Notice of Grant Award. Expenditures are not allowed after the end expiration date.

Extension: An additional period of time given by the 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. (Using remaining funds is not a sufficient justification.)

FAA: Federal Aviation Administration

FASTLANE: NSF's website for electronically submitting proposals, notifications, and reports to NSF.

Facilities and 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, an instructional activity, or any other institutional activity. F&A costs are synonymous with Indirect Costs.

FDA: Food and Drug Administration

FDP: Federal Demonstration Project

FEDIX: On-line federal database serving most federal agencies for on-line searches.

FIC: Fogarty International Center (NIH)

Final Report: The final technical or financial report required by the sponsor to complete a research project. ORSP should be provided a copy of the final technical report.

Financial Interest: Any interest in or relationship with an entity including, but not limited to, ownership of stocks, bonds, stock options, partnership or other equity interests, rights to patents or royalty payments, receipt of consulting fees, speaking fees, salary, loans, gifts, lectureship fees, compensation for serving on boards of directors, scientific or other advisory boards, or other remuneration. Note: this does not include stock owned through mutual funds.

Fiscal Year (FY): Any twelve-month period for which annual accounts are kept (at UNO, July 1 through June 30; Federal Fiscal is October 1 through September 30).

Fixed-Price (FP) Contract/Grant: Payments for fixed price contracts are based on satisfactory performance. Payment is set on performance rather than actual costs whether those costs are more or less than the contracted amount.

FOIA: Freedom of Information Act

Fringe Benefits: Employee benefits paid by the employer. (e.g., FICA, Worker's Compensation, Withholding Tax, Insurance, etc.)

Funding Cycle: Range of time during which proposals are accepted, reviewed, and funds are awarded. If a sponsor has standing proposal review committees (or boards) that meet at specified times during the year, application deadlines are set to correspond with those meetings. For some sponsors, if proposals are received too late to be considered in the current funding cycle, they may be held over for the next review meeting.  

GENIUS: Global Expertise Network for Industry, Universities and Scholars

Gift: 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. (Also see Donation.)

Grant: 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. They may be funded by a federal, state, local or private source. A grant is an agreement to accomplish something for the public good.

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 policies regulations, and provisions (For definition of scientific officer, see Program/Project Officer.).

GSA: General Services Administration  

IDC: Indirect Costs (also called F&A).

IACUC: Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

IBC: Institutional Biosafety Committee

IFB: Invitation for Bid

In-Kind: Contributions or assistance in a form other than money. Equipment, materials, or services of recognized value that are offered in lieu of cash.

Incremental Funding: A method of funding contracts that provides specific spending limits below the total estimated costs. These limits may be exceeded only at the contractor's own risk. Each increment is, in essence, a funding action.

Indirect 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. (See also F& A or Facilities and Administrative Costs.)

Indirect Cost Rate: The rate, expressed as a percentage of a base amount (MTDC), established by negotiation with the cognizant federal agency on the basis of the institution's projected costs for the year and distributed as prescribed in 2 CFR Part 200. 

Intellectual Property: Any legally protected work of the mind (such as technology, software, or scholarly or artistic works), including inventions, plants, mask works, copyrightable works, trademarks, and trade secrets. Intellectual property includes, but is not limited to, commercializable biomaterials, such as transgenic animals or cells and viruses.

Interim Funding: Authorization to expend funds on a project to a specified limit before the award document has been received from the sponsor.

Invitation for Bid (IFB): A solicitation issued to prospective bidders. An IFB describes what is required and how the bidders will be evaluated. Award is based on the lowest bid. Negotiations are not conducted.

Investigator: Principal Investigator ("PI") and any other UNO student or employee who is responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of Sponsored Research or for the proposal of such Sponsored Research.

Investigator-Initiated Proposal: A proposal submitted to a sponsor that is not in response to an RFP, RFA, or a specific program announcement.

IRB: Institutional Review Board

IRIS: Illinois Researcher Information Service An on-line search system available by subscription for research opportunities developed by the University of Illinois.  UNO has a subscription to IRIS.

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.  

Limitation of Cost (LOC): A mandatory clause for cost-reimbursement type contracts. Under the clause, the sponsor is not obligated to reimburse the contractor for costs in excess of the stated amount. The contractor, however, is not obligated to continue performance once expenses reach the stated amount.  

Matching Grant: A grant which requires a specified portion of the cost of the project be provided as a match (or cost share). The required match may be more or less than the amount of the grant. Some matching grants require that the additional funds be obtained from sources outside the recipient organization. Many matching grants are paid in installments, the payments coinciding with the attainment of pre-specified levels of additional funding. (Also see Challenge Grant.) Matching grants are very common in the sciences, especially for equipment.

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.

Mission: A sponsor's stated purpose, which is designed to address a specified set of problems. Almost all federal research agencies are designated as mission agencies.

Modification: An award document that modifies any aspect of an existing award. Example: Carryover approvals, adding or deleting special terms and conditions, changes in funding levels, administrative changes initiated by the agency, extensions that include changes in terms, change of principal investigator, etc.

Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC): At UNO, the basic indirect costs are calculated total costs minus tuition, equipment, and subcontract costs in excess of the first $25,000 for each subcontract.

NACUBO: National Association of College and University Business Officers

NAS: National Academy of Sciences

NASA: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

NCI: National Cancer Institute (NIH)

NCRR: National Center for Research Resources (NIH)

NCURA: National Council of University Research Administrators

NEA: National Endowment for the Arts

NEH: National Endowment for the Humanities

NEI: National Eye Institute (NIH)

New Award: An award not previously awarded or a renewal or continuation or award treated as a new award by the sponsor and given a new agency number.

New and Competing Proposals: Proposals that are submitted for the first time or ongoing projects that must re-compete for funding prior to expiration of the original award.

NHGRI: National Human Genome Research Institute (NIH)

NHLBI: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NIH)

NIA: National Institute on Aging (NIH)

NIAAA: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH)

NIAID: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH)

NIAMS: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIH)

NICHD: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NIH)

NIDA: National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH)

NIDCD: National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIH)

NIDDK: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIH)

NIDR: National Institute of Dental Research (NIH)

NIEHS: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIH)

NIGMS: National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIH)

NIH: National Institutes of Health

NIMH: National Institute of Mental Health (NIH)

NINDS: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH)

NINR: National Institute for Nursing Research (NIH)

NLM: National Library of Medicine

No Cost Time Extension: An extension of the period of performance beyond the expiration data to allow the principal investigator to finish a project. Usually, no additional funds are provided.

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

NSF: National Science Foundation

OFPP: Office of Federal Procurement Policy

OMB: Office of Management and Budget

ONR: Office of Naval Research

OHRP: Office for Human Research Protections ( DHHS) formerly OPRR

ORSP Office of Research and Sponsored Programs

Peer Review A system using reviewers who are the professional equals of the principal investigator or program director who is to be responsible for directing or conducting the proposed project. It is a form of objective review. Peer review is legislatively mandated in some programs and in other programs is administratively required.

PHS: Public Health Service

PHS 2590: Application for Continuation of a PHS Grant ( National Institutes of Health )

PHS 398: Application Form for a PHS Grant ( National Institutes of Health)

PI: Principal Investigator

PRDA: Program Research and Development Announcement

Pre-Proposal: 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.

Principal Investigator: The individual responsible for the conduct of research or other activity described in a proposal for an award.

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.

Priority Score: A score derived from the rating given a research proposal by each member on a review committee. It is used to help determine which approved proposals will be granted awards, based on funds available.

Program Announcement: Describes existence of a research opportunity. It may describe new or expanded interest in a particular extramural program or be a reminder of a continuing interest in an extramural program.

Program Income: This is income which is directly attributable to a sponsored agreement.

Program/Project 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, property and invention reports may be required.

Project Period (PP): The total time for which support of a project has been programmatically approved. A project period may consist of one or more budget periods. (Also see Budget Period.)

Proposal: 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. 
Re-budget: The act of amending the budget buy moving funds from one category or line item to another. (See also Budget Adjustment)

Regs: Short for "regulations."

Regulations: The contractual rules and procedures governing sponsored research projects.

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

Request for Applications (RFA): Announcements that indicate the availability of funds for a topic of specific interest to a sponsor. Proposals submitted in response to RFAs generally result in the award of a grant. Specific grant announcements may be published in the Federal Register and/or specific sponsor publications. (Also see Broad Agency Announcements.)

Request for Proposal (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.

Request for Quotations (RFQ): A formal request from TAMRF to vendors for a price quotation on equipment or supplies to be purchased.

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR): focuses on defining and implementing policies and procedures which strengthen the integrity of the research enterprise and protect the University from assuming unreasonable risks associated with research, which is a cornerstone of the university mission.

Revision: A modified and resubmitted request for funding for a project that was previously not funded either because it was denied by the sponsor or withdrawn by the principal investigator.

Salaries and Wages (S&W): Payments made to employees of the institution for work performed.

SBA: Small Business Administration

Scope of Work: The description of the work to be performed and completed on a research project.

Senior Personnel: Professional personnel who are responsible for the scientific or technical direction of project.

Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR): Agency administered programs supported by ear-marked federal funds, making grants to small business entities.

Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Grant applications and/or programs to fund small business "teamed" with research institutions.

Small Grant: A special type of award, often limited to a beginning researcher. Typically, such an award may be obtained for one year only.

Sponsor: The organization that funds a research project.

SRA: Society of Research Administrators

SSA: Social Security Administration

Stipend: 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.

Subcontract, Subgrant, or Subagreement: A document written under the authority of, and consistent with the terms and conditions of an award (a grant, contract or cooperative agreement), that transfers a portion of the research or substantive effort of the prime award to another institution or organization.

Subs: Short for subcontractors.

Supplemental (Re-budgeting or Modification) 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.

Task Order Agreement (TOA): A legally binding document authorizing work and appropriating funds as a supplement to a basic contract.

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

Technical Data: Recorded information, regardless of form or characteristic, of a scientific or technical nature. Often referred to as the "science" of a proposal.

Templates: Facsimiles of agency forms created with common software (MS Word, Excel, WordPerfect, etc.) that enable the user to fill out agency forms with their computer.

Terms of Award: All legal requirements imposed on an agreement by the sponsor, whether by statute, regulation(s), or terms in the award document. The terms of an agreement may include both standard and special provisions that are considered necessary to protect the sponsor's interests.

Total Direct Costs (TDC): The total of all direct costs of a project.

Total Project Costs: Direct costs plus any indirect costs. This includes the sponsoring agency's share, the university's share and any third party's share.

Unrestricted Funds: Monies with no requirements or restrictions as to use or disposition. Grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements are considered to be restricted funds, while gifts are usually considered unrestricted funds.

Unilateral Award: An award made by a sponsor to an organization without considering competitive proposals. Unilateral awards are most often made when unsolicited proposals receive favorable treatment.

Unsolicited Proposal: Proposals submitted to a sponsor that are not in response to an RFP, RFA, or program announcement.  (See also Investigator-Initiated Proposal.)

USDA: United States Department of Agriculture

VA: Veterans Administration