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Sponsored Programs Glossary

Agreement: A generic name for grant, contract, or other sponsored agreement.

Allocable costs: Allowable costs that directly benefit the grant or contract to which they are charged.

Applied Research: Systematic study to gain knowledge or understanding necessary to determine the means by which a recognized and specific need may be met.

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

Authorized Official: The individual(s) authorized to bind the institution to grants, contracts, cooperative agreements, and other agreements.  

Award: The provision of funds by a sponsor, based on an approved proposal and budget, to an organizational entity or individual to carry out an activity or project.  

Basic Research: Systematic study directed toward fuller knowledge or understanding of the fundamental aspects of phenomena and of observable facts without specific applications towards processes or products in mind.  

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 can be made (e.g., Department of Defense agencies such as ONR, AFOSR, and ARL issue BAA's).  

Budget: A detailed financial statement of project costs that needed to support work described in a grant or contract proposal. The proposal budget is often called the "fiscal expression" of a sponsored project.  

Budget Period:  A time period of finding, usually expressed incrementally, e.g., Year 1 of an incrementally sponsored project, or the first 12 months.  

Certification: A statement, signed by an applicant or recipient as a prerequisite for receiving federal funds, that (1) meets or will adhere to certain conditions and/or (2) will undertake or not undertake certain actions.

Closeout: The programmatic and administrative process during which the PI/PD, ORSP, and the Office of Grant Accounting complete all required work of a sponsored project and undertake all necessary administrative to complete the project in accordance with university policy, sponsor's requirements, and federal and state rules and regulations.  

Co-Investigator: The individual involved with the PD/PI in the development or execution of a project. The co-investigator (collaborator) may be employed by, or be affiliated with, the applicant/grantee organization or another organization participating in the project under a consortium agreement.  A co- investigator typically devotes a specified percentage of time to the project and is considered senior/key personnel.  

Consultant: An individual independently hired to provide routine professional services on a sponsored project for a fee, but generally not as a university employee. Consultants are typically not involved in the programmatic direction or management of a project.

Contract: A binding agreement between the sponsor and contractor for the provision or purchase of a product or service of direct benefit to the sponsor. The administration of federal contracts is governed by Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).  

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.  

Cost-sharing or matching: Costs of a sponsored project not borne directly by the sponsor. Cost-sharing, or matching, are either "in-kind" or "cash" contributions by the recipient of the sponsored project, or by a third-party.

Developmental Research: Systematic application of knowledge or understanding, directed toward the production of useful materials, devices, and systems or methods, including design, development, and improvement of prototypes and new processes to meet specific requirements.  

Direct Costs: Costs that can be specifically identified with a particular project, program, or activity.

Effort: The time devoted to a particular sponsored activity, expressed as a percentage of the total time spent on PACIFIC teaching, research, and service activities.

Effort Certification: A self-attestation of an employee's University activities for a stated time period. Appropriately certified effort provides audit-able documentation to demonstrate to the University's sponsoring partners that the sponsor did in fact receive the level of effort committed through the award process.

Effort Reporting: Proportional distribution of 100% of an employee's university effort across categories  of activity for a stated time period. Certification of reported effort is required by the federal government's Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal  Awards.  

Encumbrance: Those funds that have been set aside of "claimed" for projected expenses pending the actual expenditure of the funds.

End Date: The date signifying the end of the period of performance, typically indicated on the notice of award; may also be called "Expiration Date."  

Equipment: A tangible article that has a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more. Each piece of equipment requested should be described and justified fully in the budget justification section of a proposal. Quotes may be required.  

Expanded Authorities: The delegation of prior approval directly to the institution. Many federal agencies allow universities to exercise expanded authorities for specific actions, e.g., an initial request for a no- cost extension provided sufficient programmatic justification.

FastLane: FastLane is the National Science Foundation's electronic system for conducting business over the Internet.  All NSF proposals and reports must be submitted using FastLane.

Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR): The system of federal rules and regulation that govern the administration of government procurement contracts.

Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI): A significant financial interest that could directly and significantly impact the design, conduct, and reporting of the research.

Financial Report: Periodic, scheduled financial reports required by the sponsor showing the financial status of awarded funds for a specific time period. PIs/PDs will work directly with the Office of Grant Accounting to ensure that periodic and final financial reports are submitted on time and in compliance with the sponsor's guidelines.

Financial Status Report (FSR): A standard, government-wide report that recipients must submit to the federal funding agency that identities the status of funds for a specific grant or cooperative agreement. (40 CFR Part 31)

Fringe Benefits: Employee benefits paid by the employer, e.g., health insurance, F.I.C.A., Worker's Compensation.  Fringe benefit rates are calculated using fixed percentages that vary depending on the employee's classification and may change from year to year.

Grant: Financial assistance provided to complete a project, generally with a public purpose, need or "public good" in mind. There is usually limited involvement from the federal government in the project except to convey the funds.  Policies governing the management of grants from federal sponsors are covered in the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for  Federal Awards  

Indirect Costs: Synonymous with "Facilities and Administrative Costs," or "F&A." Costs an organization incurs in the conduct of research or other externally sponsored activity which cannot readily and specifically be identified with a particular sponsored project or other institutional activity (e.g., facilities maintenance, plant operation, library services, utilities, general administration, sponsored projects administration).

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC): Oversees the institution's animal research program, facilities, and projects involving the use of animals.  Every research, testing, and teaching project involving the use of a live vertebrate animal must be reviewed and approved by the IACUC prior to initiation.

Institutional Review Board (IRB): An administrative body established to protect the rights and welfare of human research subjects recruited to participate in research activities conducted under the auspices of the organization with which it is affiliated.  The Institutional Review Board has the authority to approve, require modifications in, or disapprove all research activities that fall within its jurisdiction.

Key Personnel: Personnel of primary importance in carrying out a research or other sponsored project; typically senior personnel (e.g., Co-Investigator).

Mandatory Cost-Sharing: Cost-Sharing that is required or mandated by the sponsor as a condition of receiving a sponsored award.

Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC): The cost-base for calculating F&A costs (Indirect Costs) incurred on a sponsored project. MTDC is a subset of direct costs and typically excludes equipment, tuition, scholarships/fellowships, renovations, space rental, and subawards in excess of $25K from being charged F&A.

No-Cost Extension: An additional period of time authorized by the sponsor to complete work on an approved grant or contract at no additional cost to the sponsor. An extension allows previously allocated, remaining funds to be spent during the extension period, provided sufficient programmatic justification. On many federal awards, the University may authorize an extension unilaterally without sponsor prior approval for a one-time period of up to twelve months if the award terms allow for this action under "Expanded Authorities."  

Notice of Grant Award/Notice of Award: The official, legally binding document, signed (or the electronic equivalent of signature) by a Grants Officer and/or Program Officer that: (1) notifies the recipient of the award of a grant; (2) contains or references all the terms and conditions of the grant and funding limits and obligations; and (3) provides the documentary basis for recording the obligation of funds.  

Period of Performance: Time interval between the approved start date and the end date of a project. This is the period in which the sponsor has authorized the award recipient to conduct the scope of work. The period of performance may be made of one or more budget periods, typically of uniform length (e.g., twelve months).  

Preliminary Proposal: A brief presentation by the PI of goals, methods, personnel, and overall budget submitted to a funding agency. Pre-proposals are used by funding agencies to determine the eligibility of the applicant and the suitability of the proposed project for support.  

Prime Award: In the context of sub-awards or subcontracts, the prime award is the award made directly from the sponsor to the recipient institution. When a recipient institution makes a subaward or subcontract under the terms and conditions of the award to a second organization, the sponsor's award is labeled the prime award and the terms and conditions are generally included as part of the agreement to the subaward or subcontract site.  

Principal Investigator (PI)/Project Director (PD): The PI/PD is that person primarily responsible for the technical and fiscal management of a sponsored project.  

Prior Approval: Written approval from the sponsor's designated Grants Officer. Sponsor approval may be required for specified post award changes in the approved project or budget. Such approval must be obtained before undertaking the proposed activity or spending funds.  

Program Announcement: Describes the existence of a funding opportunity. A formal statement about a new or ongoing activity or program. It may serve as a reminder of continuing interest in a research area, describe modification in an activity or program, and/or invite applications for grant support.  

Program Officer: Program office staff person responsible for (1) developing program regulations, application notices, and application packages; (2) overseeing the review and ranking of applications submitted under their programs; (3) providing detailed funding recommendations to the Grants Division for applications; (4) participating in negotiations, as necessary; (5) providing technical assistance to applicants and recipients; (6) monitoring funded projects; and (7) making recommendations to the Grants Division about recipients' requests for revisions to project activities and budgets.

Progress Report: Periodic, scheduled reports required by the sponsor summarizing research or project progress to date.

Proposal: A set of documents containing a descriptive narrative of an idea and a budget to be submitted to a funding agency for sponsored support.  Some agencies require that proposals be submitted on preprinted forms, while others have no specific format.  

Proposal Routing Form (PRF): The Proposal Routing Form is an internal PACIFIC document that is used to record, track, and report on the proposed project.  In addition, the PRF is also used to obtain both the PI and Co-I's certifications and signatures, and the endorsement of the appropriate College Dean(s) and Department Chair(s). Routing forms must be filled out and submitted electronically to ORSP. Routing forms must be signed by the PI, the department head, and the dean to ensure approval for the proposal. The Routing Form is available on ORSP's website.  

Rebudget: Refers to the process of transferring sponsor approved budgeted funds from one line item to another, e.g., for a different purpose than originally intended.  Rebudget requests are reviewed by the Office of Grant Accounting and, in some cases, sponsor prior approval may be necessary.  

Recipient: Organizational entity or individual receiving a grant or cooperative agreement. Typically the organizational entity is the legal recipient of a grant, contract or cooperative agreement.  

Request for Applications (RFA): An RFA is a formal statement that solicits grant or cooperative agreement applications in a well-defined scientific area to accomplish specific program objectives. An RFA indicates the estimated amount of funds set aside for the competition, the estimated number of awards to be made, whether cost sharing is required, and the application submission date(s).  

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 a contract award.  

Request for Quotation (RFQ): A formal request from a sponsor for solicitation of a proposal to provide the sponsor a good, or service of direct benefit to the sponsor (e.g., a corporate or industry sponsor typically will issue an "RFQ").  

Sponsor: An external funding agency which enters into an agreement with the University to support research, instruction, public service, or other sponsored activities. Sponsors include private businesses, corporations, foundations and other not-for-profit organizations, other universities, and federal, state, and local governments.   

Statement of Work/Scope of Work: A summary description of the work to be performed and completed on a project or sponsored activity.  

Subaward/Subcontract: A document written under the authority of, and consistent with, the terms and conditions of an award (e.g., 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.

Uniform Guidance: Established in 2013 (effective 12/26/2014), the Office of Management and Budget  Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards establishes uniform administrative requirements, cost principles, and audit requirements for Federal awards to non-Federal entities.

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

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