Sponsored Research Terms and Definitions
Abstract - One page summary of the proposed research.
Academic Year - The period during the year in which classes are in session (i.e., from September through May)
Allowable - Cost incurred by a recipient that is reasonable for the performance of the award; allocable; in conformance with any limitations or exclusions set forth in the federal cost principles applicable to the organization incurring the cost or in the notice of grant award as to types or amount of cost items; consistent with internal regulations, policies and procedures that apply uniformly to both federally-funded and other activities of the organization; accorded consistent treatment; determined in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles; and not included as a cost in any other federally-funded grant (unless specifically authorized).
Allocable - A cost is allocable to a particular cost objective (i.e., a specific function, grant project, service, department, or other activity) in accordance with the relative benefits received. A cost is allocable to a project where it is treated consistently with other costs incurred for the same purpose in like circumstances; is incurred specifically for the award; benefits both the award and other work and can be distributed in reasonable proportion to the benefits received; or is necessary to the overall operation of the organization.
Allocation - The assigning of a cost to a particular cost objective. It must be done in a reasonable manner and must be realistic and proportionate to the benefit received.
Automatic Carry-over - Under expanded authorities for research grants, the authority that is delegated to the recipient to move unobligated balances remaining at the end of any budget period to a subsequent budget period which thereby allows for additional expenditures in the subsequent budget period.
Budget - The financial expression of the project.
Budget Period - The time period in which funding is provided for a specific purpose. Periods are usually of one year in duration.
Coeus - An electronic database designed by MIT to assist with the management and development of sponsored research proposals and managing subawards.
Calendar Year - The period from January 1 st through December 31 st .
Carry-forward - Unexpended award funds on grants and contracts which are moved to the next budget period. The grantor must approve the carry-over of unexpended funds.
Cognizant Agency - The government agency which, on behalf of all government agencies, is responsible for implementing the requirements of the Single Audit Act. These include reviewing, negotiating and approving cost allocation plans, F&A cost rates; receiving and approving audit reports; conducting audits; and resolving cross-cutting audit findings. Princeton 's cognizant agency is the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
Committed Cost Sharing - Cost sharing — voluntary or mandatory — once cost sharing is proposed and accepted in an award.
Contract - A procurement action subject to terms and conditions. The two primary types of contracts are cost reimbursements and firm fixed price.
Cooperative Agreement - A project where the sponsor is substantially involved in the outcome of the research results or a partner in the work.
Copyright - An author's right to prevent others from copying an original work of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression, such as a book, music or other recording, pictorial work, sculpture, film or computer program.
Cost Principals - The principals as set out in applicable statutes, regulations, grantor instructions, Office of Management and Budget Circulars and generally accepted accounting principals used for determining allowability, reasonableness and allocability of costs applicable to grants, contracts and other agreements.
Cost Sharing - The portion of total costs of a sponsored project paid for by Princeton, rather than the sponsor.
Cost Transfer - an after-the-fact re-allocation of a cost from one project grant to another.
Deficit - The excess of expenditures over revenues.
Deliverables - A pre-planned or structured set of items promised under a sponsored grant or contract.
Direct Cost - Those costs that can be specifically identified with a particular project, program or activity.
Disallowed Cost - Expenditures determined by the sponsor to be unallowable. If the grantor will not provide a specific exception to its policy and approve the expense, the costs need to be covered by the PI or the department.
Export Administration Regulations ("EAR") - Regulations established by the Department of Commerce to limit sensitive research data, research results, and equipment in cases where it may risk national security interests. These regulations are also referred to as export controls.
Encumbrances - Obligations in the form of purchase orders, contracts or salary commitments which are chargeable to an award. They cease when either paid or de-obligated.
Equipment - Tangible assets acquired through donation, gift, purchase, capital lease or fabrication with a life expectancy in excess of one year. It must have an acquisition cost which equals or exceeds $5,000.
Expanded Authorities - Delegation from the federal government to universities for many grants so that the universities may approve some expenses such as equipment, foreign travel, and some reallocation of effort
F & A (Facilities and Administrative) Costs - Costs incurred in common and joint activities which cannot be easily separated from a particular sponsored project. F&A costs are also known as indirect costs or overhead.
FAR - Federal Acquisitions Register is a set of contract terms and conditions from which sponsored research contracts are created.
Federal Guidelines - Government wide grants management policies and guidelines established by the Office of Management and Budget through circulars and common rules. These policies are adopted by each grantmaking agency and inserted into their federal regulations.
- OMB Circular A-21 - is entitled Principles for Determining Costs Applicable to Grants, Contracts, and Other Agreements with Educational Institutions . The cost principles in A-21 provide the general accounting rules for colleges and universities. These principles define those costs that are allowable and allocable by the federal government.
- OMB Circular A-110 - is entitled Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals and other Non-Profit Organizations. This circular sets out standards for the pre-award and post-award administration of grants to, and agreements with, institutions of higher education. It includes provisions relating to property, procurement standards, reports and records, among others.
- OMB Circular A-133 - is entitled Audits of Institutions of Higher Education and Other Non-Profit Institutions. This circular sets out standards for obtaining consistency and uniformity among federal agencies for the audit of non-profit organizations expending Federal awards. A-133 requires a single, annual compliance audit of educational institutions receiving federal funding.
Firm Fixed Price - Establishes pre-agreed price for performing the work. The price is determined by the sponsor's program officer and Princeton at the initiation of the project. These contracts do not provide for any cost adjustments and, as such, place Princeton at maximum risk for assuming full responsibility for total project costs should the cost exceed the firm fixed price.
Fly America Act - An act that calls for grantees to use U.S. flag air carriers for all transportation of personnel and property when the travel is being charged to a federal grant or contract.
Gift - Any item of value given to the University by a donor (other than the federal government) who expects the total benefit to be of lesser value than the donation amount, other than recognition and disposition of the gift in accordance with his or her wishes.
Grant - A general assistance award bestowed to Princeton without expectation of any tangible deliverables other than a final report. Sponsor is a passive participant and does not have substantial involvement in the work.
Independent Contractor Agreement (ICA) - An agreement type used for transactions in which the University engages a consultant or research service provider. Purchasing is responsible for issuing an ICA when procuring a consultant or research service provider is needed in order to complete a research project.
Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) - A subcommittee of the University Research Board established to review approve research projects that use animal subjects. The Committee has oversight responsibility for all aspects of animal research.
Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) - A subcommittee of the University Research Board established to oversee the biological safety program. The Committee will review research proposals involving rDNA and other biological agents and materials, and approves those that comply with NIH and CDC guidelines and University policy. The Committee adopts policies supporting the safe use of biological materials and the elimination or reduction of exposure to potentially biohazardous materials or agents and addresses biosafety issues related to experimentally-infected laboratory animals.
Institutional Review Board for Human Subjects (IRB) - A subcommittee of the University Research Board charged with the task of protecting the interests of human subjects in research.
International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR) Regulations established by the Department of Defense to limit sensitive research data, research results, and equipment in cases where it may risk national security interests. These regulations are also referred to as export controls.
Indirect Cost - See F&A Costs
Intellectual Property - Certain types of information, ideas, or other intangibles in their expressed form, generally resulting from research activities. The holder of this legal entitlement is generally entitled to exercise various rights in relation to the subject matter of the IP. The use of these rights is protected by law, as are other types of property.
Interim/Incremental Funding - A method of funding an award whereby funding is received in annual budget portions typically when a deliverable is required between each increment. For example, most federal awards are incrementally funding based on the submission of an annual progress report.
Mandatory Cost Sharing - Cost sharing that is required by the sponsor as a condition of obtaining the award.
Material Transfer Agreement - An agreement initiated between two parties to allow the use of a patented or otherwise protected substance, compound or research material.
Modified Total Direct Costs - This is the calculated amount of all direct costs elements needed to carry out the project, excluding tuition and equipment. This amount is then multiplied by the institutions F&A rate to determine the appropriate amount of indirect costs for a sponsored research project.
No-Cost Extension - Additional time added to the original total project period, without any accommodation for additional funding. Such extensions are usually requested by the PI when research was delayed for some reason, and additional time is needed to carry out the approved scope of work.
Notice of Award (NOA) - Document, sent by ORPA, to PI, DA and SRA containing specific details about the terms and conditions of award.
Obligated Funds - Monies that are unexpended but encumbered at the end of a funding period to cover known obligations. If the grantor permits, they may be carried forward to the next funding period.
Off Campus Rate -A lower F&A rate applied to sponsored research projects or portions of projects per the University's Off Campus Policy. The reduced rate excludes certain components of the institutions federally negotiated rate. Requests for the off campus rate should be directed to ORPA.
Office of Research and Project Administration (ORPA) - A department in the Office of the Dean for Research. They are the administrative arm of the University Research Board and carries out policies set by the Board. ORPA's primary responsibilities include providing grant and contract administration for research and instructional projects funded by external sponsors.
Patent - Exclusive right granted by the government for any "new and useful process, machine manufacture composition of matter or any new and useful improvement thereof.
Patent Report - A report of any patents or other inventions developed under a sponsored research project. These reports are required by federal sponsors.
Pre-award Costs - The cost incurred prior to the effective date of the award. Permission is granted when incurrence is necessary to comply with the proposed delivery schedule or period of performance. In many cases permission may be granted by ORPA.
Prime Sponsor - In cases where Princeton receives subcontract funds, we need to know who supplied funds originally, particularly when these funds are federal funds. For example, if we receive a portion of an NIH award from Columbia in the form of a subcontract, the Prime Sponsor is NIH.
Prior Approval - Permission grants by the sponsor to allow an activity to take place that was not previously approved in the award document, or would normally be unllowable by the sponsor. Examples include modification of project scope and budget amendments.
Project Period - The total time period for which the support is recommended. The project period may consist of one or more budget periods.
Property Report - A report that ORPA files with the sponsor of any property (typically equipment) purchased on a sponsored research award. These are required for most federal sponsors.
Proposal - A detailed request for funding prepared in accordance with the sponsor's instructions.
Reimbursement - Provides for sponsor payment of the allowable, allocable, and reasonable costs of the project. Reimbursements are designed to estimate total project costs so that funds may be obligated for the work and also to set a spending ceiling that may not be exceeded by the PI without the prior approval of the sponsor's contracting officers.
Renewals - an authorization for follow-up support to a project. Renewal awards usually retain the same grant number with a year of renewal designation. They typically are given new accounting numbers at Princeton University .
Research agreement with Industry - agreement made by and between an industry sponsor and the University, where the sponsor wishes to financially support research.
Salary - a form of periodic payment from an employer to an employee
Stipend - a form of payment or salary, such as for an internship or apprenticeship. Stipends are usually lower than what would be expected as a permanent salary for similar work. This is because the stipend is complemented by other benefits such as instruction, work experience, food, accommodation, and personal satisfaction. Universities usually refer to monies paid to graduate research assistants as stipends, rather than as wages, to reflect complementary benefits.
Sponsored Project - an externally-funded activity governed by terms and conditions specified in a written agreement between the sponsor and Princeton University .
Sponsored Project Agreements - Any grant, contract or other agreement between the institution and the federal government.
Sponsored Research Accounting (SRA) - Department within the Office of Finance and Treasury that assists, guides and supports PIs and DAs in the financial administration of their Princeton University-sponsored research projects. The primary functions of SRA are to
- provide assurance to University faculty, DAs, personnel from government , non-government sponsoring agencies and organizations and to other users inside and outside of the University, that all financial data reported on research projects is accurate and timely;
- ensure that the University is promptly and correctly reimbursed by sponsors for all research costs.
Subcontract/subaward - A formal written agreement made between Princeton University and a "Subrecipient" to perform a portion of the Statement of Work under a Princeton sponsored project. Subawards differ from procurement contracts used to acquire goods or services from vendors.
Summer Salary - Salary paid to faculty members during the summer months. Faculty receiving summer salaries are paid at a rate of one-ninth of the academic-year salary per month. Such appointments do not normally exceed two months' duration. University policy permits the payment of summer salary for up to 2.5 months, provided that any salary beyond two months is derived from outside sources (4000, 6000 accounts).
Supplemental Award - The addition of funds to an existing award. They may be granted for a new or expanded scope of an existing award or provide for funding due to an increase in costs caused by unforeseen circumstances. Depending on the circumstances, Princeton may or may not issue new account numbers for the supplement.
Technical Report - A report submitted to the sponsoring agency that out lines the work performed typically submitted annually. This report is generated by the research team.
Terms and Conditions - The rights and obligations that the awarding party requires pertaining to a project, as set forth in statute, program rule or other document or incorporated by reference in the award or subaward document.
Trademark - obtained to protect the right to use a word, phrase or design, in a specific class, such as clothing.
Unallowable Costs - Expenditures incurred on a sponsored project for which the sponsor will not pay.
Unexpended Funds - Monies not spent during the award period.
University Research Board (URB) - The advisory board to the President on all matters concerning research performed at the University. The URB consists of six members of the faculty, two elected by the faculty and four appointed by the President. Each of the four divisions of faculty is represented by at least one member. In addition, the chair is elected by the Board of Trustees on nomination of the President.
Voluntary Cost Sharing - the cost that Princeton offers to pay in order to become more competitive with peer institutions and peer PIs who are applying for awards for similar types of projects.
Wages - Payment for labor or services to a worker, especially remuneration on an hourly, daily, or weekly basis or by the piece.