Research Administration Glossary
Customized for VCU
A-21 "Cost Principles for Educational Institutions," a circular published by the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that establishes the principles for determining the costs applicable to grants, contracts, and other government agreements (also known as Sponsored Projects) with educational institutions.
A-87 "Cost Principles for State, Local, and Indian Tribal Governments," a circular published by the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that establishes the principles for determining the costs applicable to grants, contracts, and other government agreements (also known as Sponsored Projects) with state, local, and Indian tribal Governments. Frequently state agencies will flow-down A-87 cost principles in subawards; VCU must always insist instead on A-21 cost principles.
A-110 "Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Other Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals and Other Non-Profit Organizations," a circular published by the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that establishes the administrative requirements for federal grants and cooperative agreements. Each agency implements A-110 in its own regulations; agency specific deviations require OMB approval but do exist, so depend on the agency regulations for details.
A-122 "Cost Principles for Non-Profit Organizations," a circular published by the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that establishes the principles for determining the costs applicable to grants, contracts, and other government agreements (also known as Sponsored Programs) with non-profit organizations.
A-133 " Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," a circular published by the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that establishes the requirements that ensure consistency and uniformity in audits of federal funds, by concentrating on systems for financial control and regulatory compliance.
AFOSR Air Force Office of Scientific Research (DOD)
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. To be allowable, the cost must be reasonable, allocable, consistently treated, and conforming to any limitations or exclusions of the agreement (see Special Terms and Conditions).
APA Auditor of Public Accounts, the "state auditor" that audits VCU annually, to A-133 standards.
ASPR Armed Services Procurement Regulations
Assistance Under federal law, the process that leads to a grant or cooperative agreement, as opposed to procurement. The purpose is to "assist" the grantee with what it would do anyway, if it had the resources.
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. VCU's annual audit by APA meets A-133 standards.
Authorized Official The individual(s) formally authorized to bind the institution to grants, contracts and other agreements; the official "signer" for the institution.
Award Funds that have been obligated by a funding agency for a particular project, or the document memorializing this transaction.
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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. A Broad Agency Announcement is not considered a formal solicitation under FAR.
Budget Period The interval of time--usually twelve months--into which the project period is divided for budgetary and funding purposes.
Budget Adjustment The act of amending the budget by moving funds from one category or line item to another.
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Cancellation, Termination, Stop Work Order A contractual clause (usually Termination Clause) that says a party can terminate or cancel an agreement or contract with a set number of days of written notification. VCU requires at least thirty (30) days written notification to allow the University to reassign faculty, staff, and students working on the project. A Stop Work Order can require ceasing work without necessarily terminating the project.
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Publication and database produced by the General Services Administration that lists the domestic assistance programs for all federal agencies and gives information about a program's authorization, fiscal details' accomplishments, regulations, guidelines, eligibility requirements, information contacts, and application and award process. CFDA does not list assistance that benefits foreign entities, and does not list procurement opportunities.
Certification A statement signed by an authorized representative of the university indicating that the university will adhere to certain conditions and will or will not undertake certain actions. Several certifications are required before receiving federal funds.
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 in the processes, goods and services under a contract. The contract will have a changes clause that specifies the authority of the contracting officer to order such changes without the consent of the contractor.
Clinical Trial A clinical trial is an interventional or observational prospective research study involving human subjects that is designed to answer specific questions about biomedical (e.g., drugs, treatments, devices) or behavioral interventions (e.g., diet modifications, physical activity) through the compliant collection and analysis of safety and efficacy data as measurement for health outcomes. In an interventional clinical trial, research subjects are assigned to a treatment or other intervention and their outcomes are measured. In an observational clinical trial, interventions given during the course of clinical care are observed and outcomes are measured by the researchers. Preclinical laboratory studies or studies in animals are not considered clinical trials.
Close Out The act of completing all internal procedures and sponsor requirements to terminate or complete a research project.
Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) A compilation of all final regulations issued by federal agencies and published annually by the National Archives and Records Administration. The CFR is divided into numbered "Titles", primarily by federal agency.
Cognizant Agency The single federal agency responsible for negotiating a university's F&A rate and resolving audit questions. VCU's cognizant agency is DHHS Audit Agency.
COGR Council on Governmental Relations, an association of research universities whose primary function is to help develop policies and practices that fairly reflect the mutual interest and separate obligations of federal agencies and universities in federal research and training.
COLA Cost of Living Allowance which may be granted to employees based away from their home location, to provide for a higher cost of living than at the home location.
Compliance Adherence to the requirements imposed, often by federal regulation, and the responsibilities institutions assume in their receipt. The institution signs certifications or representations regarding compliance for most proposals or awards. It is important that the institution have systems in place to ensure compliance and maintain adequate records to demonstrate compliance.
Commerce Business Daily (CBD) Daily (business days) federal government publication of U. S. government procurement invitations, contract awards, subcontracting leads, sales of surplus property, and foreign business opportunities.
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.
Confidentiality Agreement An agreement between too parties whereby they agree to maintain confidential information received from the other party. VCU wants such information be clearly identified as proprietary and/or confidential, and wants a time limit specified for maintaining confidentiality. In reviewing a confidentiality agreement, the university's right to publish must be protected.
Consistently Treated Costs Costs that are treated alike when circumstances are alike, particularly as to whether costs of a given type are treated consistently as either direct costs or as F&A costs.
Consortium Agreement Agreement between two institutions that allows collaborative work on a single project by investigators of the two institutions. The "lead" or "prime" institution receives an award from the sponsor which directs that a subaward or subcontract be issued to the "sub-" institution.
Consultant Agreement An agreement between an individual or organization (consultant) and the university whereby the consultant provides services of an advisory nature. The university may enter into an agreement of this type when the necessary expertise is not available within the university community. A VCU employee may not be paid as a consultant on one of VCU's sponsored programs; this principle applies at most universities. A VCU employee may not use University resources in conducting a consulting project.
Continuation Project (Non-Competing) Applicable to grants and cooperative agreements only. A project can be 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. If satisfactory, an Continuation award is made for the next budget period, subject to the availability of funds. Continuation projects do not compete with new project proposals and are not subjected to peer review after the initial project approval.
Contract A mechanism for procurement of a product or service with specific obligations for both the sponsor and recipient. Each contract document contains a statement of work or services to be performed (scope of work) and represents a legal obligation by the contractor. Since a contract is a purchase or procurement, there will always be a deliverable. Contracts received by the institution are more detailed than grants or cooperative agreements in the technical requirements and sometimes in the accountability for the use of funds. Contracts issued for procurement under a sponsored program need careful review for adequacy of the scope of work and objectivity of the statement of deliverables.
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 authorized official or 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 A federal award similar to a grant and subject to grant regulations, 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 A courtesy title for a senior investigator who is not not the Principle Investigator, generally with responsibility for the conduct of a portion of the research or other activity described in a proposal or an award. NSF recognizes this title when there are multiple senior investigators, but states that " the first one listed will have primary responsibility for the project and the submission of reports." Few other funding agencies recognize the title. VCU does not formally recognize "Co-PI" as different from any other investigator.
Copyright Intellectual Property protection for a "writing", which protects the specific expression. A copyright may be registered, but registration is not needed for protection. All materials to be copyrighted by VCU should be marked "Copyright © [date of publication], Virginia Commonwealth University".
Copyright Infringement Use of copyrighted material without permission other than under "fair use" doctrine.
COS Community of Science A subscription web service containing information about funding opportunities for research and scientific expertise.
Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) Federally mandated accounting standards intended to ensure uniformity in budgeting and spending federal funds, originally applicable to commercial concerns. In April 1996, OMB revised A-21 to incorporate certain cost standards issued by the Cost Accounting Standards Board. Four of the CAS apply to the university: CAS 501, 502, 505, and 506.
Cost Sharing Cost sharing refers to that portion of the costs of a sponsored project that is borne by the university. To qualify as cost sharing, a cost must be (1) verifiable from the university's records, (2) allocable as necessary and reasonable for proper and efficient accomplishment of the project objective, and (3) allowable under applicable cost principles and administrative regulations. Both Mandatory and Voluntary Committed cost sharing must be adequately documented in the university's records. The university will make a cost sharing commitment only when required by the sponsor (Mandatory) or by the competitive nature of the award and then only to the extent necessary to meet the specific requirements of the sponsored project.
CRADA or CRDA Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, originally a mechanism to transfer technology between the government and the university. CRADAs can also be used to transfer equipment, supplies, or to pay travel expenses. A CRADA is often the only mechanism to transfer funds into a federal agency, e.g., when making a subaward to a cooperating federal research laboratory.
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DARPA Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DOD)
DCAA Defense Contract Audit Agency, a cognizant agency for some institutions.
Deadline Date The date by which a proposal must be postmarked, or must be received by, a sponsor to be considered. OSPA must receive an approved, correct proposal two full work days prior the date the PI desires the proposal back for delivery, or the date for electronic submittal. If OSPA must upload additional electronic files for an electronic submittal, an additional day is needed.
Deficit Expenditures exceed funds available; also "cost overrun".
Deliverable An objectively measurable product or service that is a direct result of a project effort or a procurement. Deliverables must be stated as an integral part of the proposal and award documents. The deliverable for many projects can be a report or other objects, and in a time and effort project will be a specified amount of effort as demonstrated by the effort reporting system. A good deliverables list is very noun oriented.
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.
DOD Department of Defense (includes Air Force, Army, ARPA, and Navy)
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)
Drug-free Workplace The Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988. This regulation stipulates that no federal funding will be available for institutions or individuals who do not have a drug-free workplace policy in place. VCU meets all requirements of this regulations. There is no requirement for flow down to subrecipients under either grants or contracts.
Drug-free Work Force No statutory authority exists for the drug-free work force requirements. Requirements are contained in DFAR, 252.223-7004. Drug-Free Work Force addresses employee involvement with controlled substances regardless of where such involvement takes place, random drug testing of employees, and other intrusive personnel policies. This clause is only applicable to DOD solicitations and contracts involving access to classified information or when the contracting officer decides inclusion is necessary. Universities have successfully negotiated out this compliance for basic research contracts. Like the Workplace certification, there is no requirement to flow-down these provisions to subrecipients. VCU has never accepted this clause.
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EDGAR (Education Department General Administrative Regulations) Administrative regulations governing U.S. Department of Education grants and cooperative agreements. EDGAR includes DED's implementation of A-110, including all approved deviations.
EDISON Interagency Extramural Invention Information Management System A system for reporting inventions made with federal funds through DHHS to all agencies.
Effort, Per Cent Effort Under A-21, VCU must budget, propose, accumulate costs, and report the work done on sponsored programs by salaried employees in Percent Effort. The total work responsibility of an individual cannot exceed 100%. This work cannot be treated in terms of hours, although an approximation of hours may be quoted with the proviso that this is merely an estimate. VCU has a standard method of estimating this conversion from % effort to "Productive Hours." This applies to all sponsored programs.
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. Typically, the issuance of a Purchase Order results in encumbrance of the face value of the PO.
Endowment A fund usually in the form of an income-generating investment, established to provide long-term support for the institution, including for faculty/research positions (e.g., endowed chair).
Entity Identification Number (EIN) The number the Internal Revenue Service assigns to every employer, also "Federal Identification Number" (FIN), that uniquely identifies that taxable entity. Use of this number enables a sponsor to identify the correct recipient to receive the funds awarded under a contract or grant. VCU's EIN is 54-6001758.
Equipment An article of nonexpendable, tangible personal property having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost which equals or exceeds $5000. If a single device is assembled from parts with a total cost of $5000 or more, it becomes "equipment".
Expanded Authorities Under expanded authorities (NIH's term), many federal agencies have delegated to the institution exercise of some prior approvals required for federal research grants, typically carryover of unobligated balances, 1 year NCTE to final budget period.
Expiration Date The date signifying the end of the performance period, as indicated on the Notice of Grant Award.
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. Most federal agencies, including NSF and NIH allow, on research grants only, an extension of the final period of up to one year by the institution with adequate notice to the sponsor.
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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, and are sometimes called "overhead".
Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) Provides uniform policies and procedures for acquisition for all executive agencies. The FAR incorporates OMEB Circular A?21 in its entirety by reference, as Part 31.3. Some agencies have supplements to FAR (DFARS, HHSAR)
FEDERAL FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE MANAGEMENT IMPROVEMENT ACT (FFAMIA)/P.L. 106-107 Enacted in 1999, this federal law is intended to make it easier for State, local, and tribal governments and nonprofit organizations to apply for and report on financial assistance. The Act requires federal agencies to create a common system for electronic processing of all grant programs.
Federal Identification Number (FIN) The number the Internal Revenue Service assigns to every employer, also "Entity Identification Number" (EIN) that uniquely identifies that taxable entity. Use of this number enables a sponsor to identify the correct recipient to receive the funds awarded under a contract or grant. VCU's FIN is 54-6001758.
Federal Register Daily Compilation of federal regulations and legal notices, presidential proclamations and executive orders, federal agency documents having general applicability and legal effect, documents required to be published by act of Congress, and other federal agency documents of public interest; prepared by the National Archives and Records Administration for public distribution by the Government Printing Office; publication of record for many federal agency regulations.
FIC Fogarty International Center (NIH)
Final Report The final technical or financial report required by the sponsor to complete a research project.
FirstGov FirstGov is a public-private partnership, led by a cross-agency board and administered by the Office of FirstGov in the General Services Administration's Office of Governmentwide Policy. Launched in September 2000, it is the only official U.S. Government portal to 47 million pages of government information, services, and online transactions. The site offers a search engine that searches every word of every U.S. government document. FirstGov also features a topical index, online transactions, links to state and local government, options to contact the government, and other tools.
Fiscal Year (FY) Any twelve-month period for which annual accounts are kept. VCU's and the Commonwealth of Virginia FY is July 1 through June 30; the U. S. Government's FY is October 1 through September 30.
Fixed-Price (FP) Contract/Grant/Agreement A contract/grant for which one party pays the other party a predetermined price, regardless of actual costs, for services rendered, and which becomes due in full when Deliverables are accepted. Quite often this is a fee-for-service agreement.
FOIA, Federal Freedom of Information Act The Federal Freedom of Information Act provides that citizens may request public documents in the possession of any federal agency. The federal agency interprets what is available under FOI, and what is not. A proposal to an agency is not a public document until awarded. If sections of a proposal contain confidential or proprietary information that should not be revealed once the proposal results in an award, those sections/pages should be clearly marked and an accompanying memo/letter be sent listing those locations and specifying that the information is confidential/proprietary.
FOIA, Virginia Freedom of Information Act Virginia's Freedom of Information Act excepts from access through Virginia FOI procedures research data generated or collected at state colleges and universities until publicly released, published, copyrighted or patented. However, this exception does not apply to the institution's financial or administrative records. As a matter of practice, VCU freely publishes and release the sponsor's name, the research project title, and the total cost of each sponsored program, as those data fall under the "financial or administrative records" category. For this reason, certain industries will wish the project have an innocuous title.
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 (i.e., National Science Foundation's Target Dates).
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GENIUS Global Expertise Network for Industry, Universities and Scholars A database of individuals' information in the InfoOffice suite of ERA programs. Each individual who uses or is named in any part of the InfoOffice ERA system at VCU should be minimally registered in GENIUS. Adding keywords to the registration will allow the SMARTS system to provide regular emails of funding opportunities. The GENIUS database is a location in which all of the c.v. information for an individual can be recorded, and retrieved on an as-needed basis to create a custom c.v. for any purpose.
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.)
GLP, Good Laboratory Practices An objectively defined standard of laboratory practice with scientifically sound protocols and meticulous attention to quality, required for certain purposes, including submissions for many FDA purposes. GLP regulations are at 21 CFR 58, and FDA has a web site on GLP. VCU researchers needing certification of GLP should contact the Office of Research Integrity and Ethics (ORIE) in the Office of Research and Innovation.
Governing Law VCU, as an instrumentality of the Commonwealth of Virginia, cannot accept a contract governed by the laws of another state or other jurisdiction. We must get sponsors to change this clause in a contract to state that the contract is governed by the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia. If agreement cannot be reached to do so (e.g., the other party is an instrumentality of another state), we can remain silent on the issue and remove all reference to governing law.
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 federal grant, as opposed to a federal cooperative agreement, is used whenever the awarding office anticipates no substantial programmatic involvement with the recipient during the performance of the activities. The PI of a research grant has significantly greater flexibility in making changes to the research plan than the PI of a research contract. As with any agreement, a grant has terms and conditions which must be followed.
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 authorized official or 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.)
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HHSAR Health and Human Services Acquisition Regulations Supplement, a supplement to the FAR which includes clauses particular to HHS contract procurement.
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IBC Institutional Biosafety Committee
IDC Indirect Costs; Facilities and Administrative Costs is the preferable term.
IFB Invitation for Bid A solicitation issued to prospective bidders. An IFB describes what is required and how the bidders are evaluated. Award is based on the lowest bid. Negotiations are not conducted.
Investigator A University Member conducting Research as an employee or student of, or using facilities owned or operated by, or resources administered by, the University.
In-Kind Contributions or assistance, typically for cost sharing, in a form other than money. Equipment, materials, or services of recognized value that are offered in lieu of cash. A-110 provides guidance in evaluating the value of in-kind contributions. VCU's own cost sharing contributions are "cash" rather than "in-kind", because the value can be established precisely.
Incremental Funding A method of funding contracts that provides specific spending limits below the total estimated costs, usually with target dates. These limits may be exceeded only at the contractor's own risk. Each increment is, in essence, a funding action.
Indemnification, Hold Harmless An indemnification clause shifts the liability or loss from one party to another, usually without regard to fault (including undertaking any legal defense) for some legal action or claim for damages taken against the indemnified party. VCU is an instrumentality of the Commonwealth of Virginia. By direction of the Attorney General of the Commonwealth, we are not allowed to indemnify or hold harmless any third party. We may offer instead insurance clauses.
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 Facilities and Administrative Costs.)
Indirect Cost Rate The rate, expressed as a percentage of a base amount (MTDC for most universities), 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 OMB Circular A-21.
Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) A committee set up within the university charged with the oversight of research with vertebrate animals, and of the facilities in which that research occurs. Research protocols involving vertebrate animals must be reviewed and approved by the IACUC prior to initiation. Federal and some other sponsors require this approval prior to receipt of an award. An institution must provide an acceptable written assurance to the Office for Protection from Research Risks, NIH, that the institution is complying with the Animal Welfare Act, the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, and other applicable laws and regulations. Recipients must maintain records of committee activities which are treated as award related records for the purpose of access and retention.
Intellectual Property In very general terms, an IP is the result of using one's intellect to create something new and different from whatever was known before. IP is also a legal concept, inasmuch, as like other property, it can be owned, sold, rented, given away, etc. lPs are protected by patents, copyrights, trade secrets, trademarks, and know-how (secrecy). By state law, VCU must retain title to any and all intellectual properties (patents, copyrights, trademarks) developed with significant use of general funds, except with prior approval from the Governor. However, the University or its VCU Intellectual Property Foundation can license IP.
Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) Agreement A mechanism by which an employee of state government may be assigned to work for a federal agency, or vice versa, while remaining on the payroll of the "home" government, retaining his leave and benefits status. This is often used for a temporary (up to one year) assignment of a faculty member to a federal agency. The "borrowing" government reimburses the "lending" government for salary and benefits, and may directly pay a cost of living or relocation allowance. VCU treats an IPA as a sponsored program (with no F&A) as an administrative convenience.
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.
IPA Intergovernmental Personnel Act agreement.
IRB Institutional Review Board (for Human Subjects Research) IRB is a committee(s) set up within the university charged with the oversight of research with human subjects. Research protocols involving live human subjects must be reviewed and approved by the IRB prior to initiation of the research. Federal and some other sponsors require this approval prior to issuing an award. An institution must provide an acceptable written assurance to the Office for Human Research Protection (OHRP), that the institution is in compliance with 45 CFR 46 and other applicable laws and regulations. Recipients must maintain records of committee activities which are treated as award related records for the purpose of access and retention.
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Key Personnel Individuals who contribute in a substantive way to the scientific development or execution of a project, usually only the senior members of the project staff. Sponsor permission is usually required to change key personnel.
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Limitation of Cost (LOC) A mandatory clause for federal 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. The Limitation of Cost clause can be routinely increased by contract modification in an incrementally funded contract.
Lobbying Certification "Byrd Amendment". Certification is required for grants exceeding $100,000 that no appropriated funds were used or will be used to influence a federal employee or a member of Congress in connection with an award, and if the recipient has used non-appropriated funds to pay for lobbying activities for an individual not regularly employed by the recipient, a disclosure is required. Must be flowed down to subrecipients.
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Mandatory Cost Sharing Cost sharing required by the sponsor in order that the proposal be considered. Mandatory cost sharing must be recorded by the University, reported to the sponsor in the final fiscal report, and considered in preparing the F&A rate proposal. See also Voluntary Committed Cost Sharing.
Matching Grant A grant that requires a specified portion of the cost of a supported item of equipment or project be obtained from other sources, as mandatory cost sharing. 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. Some 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 especially common in the sciences for large equipment grants. They are standard practice in some government agencies.
Misconduct in Science Research Misconduct
Mission An organization's stated purpose, which is designed to address a specified set of goals or 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, NIH's Minority Supplement, administrative changes initiated by the agency, extensions that include changes in terms, change of principal investigator, etc.
Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC) The cost base for calculating F&A costs used by VCU and all larger universities. It is a subset of direct costs which excludes equipment, patient care, tuition remission, off-campus space rental, alterations and renovations, scholarships and fellowships, and subaward costs in excess of the first $25,000.
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NCI National Cancer Institute (NIH)
NCRR National Center for Research Resources (NIH)
NEI National Eye Institute (NIH)
New and Competing Proposals Proposals that are submitted for the first time or ongoing projects that must recompete for funding prior to expiration of the original award.
NHLBI National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NIH)
NIA National Institute on Aging (NIH)
NIDA National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH)
NIGMS National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIH)
NHGRI National Human Genome Research Institute (NIH)
NIMH National Institute of Mental Health (NIH)
NINR National Institute for Nursing Research (NIH)
No Cost Time Extension An extension of the period of performance beyond the original expiration date but with no additional costs, usually to allow the principal investigator to finish a project. Most federal agencies allow the institution's central sponsored programs office to grant a one year NCTE to the final year of a research grant (not contract), so long as there is timely notification to the sponsor.
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.
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OMB Circulars Regulatory circulars issued by the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) to direct and standardize the actions and policies of federal departments. Check the definitions above for A-21, A-87, A-110, A-122, and A-133.
OPAS Organizational Prior Approval System
OHRP Office for Human Research Protections (DHHS) The federal office for ensuring ethical conduct of human research.
ORI Office of Research Integrity, a DHHS office promoting integrity in biomedical and behavioral research.
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Patent Intellectual property protection of the embodiment of an idea. A patent is the statutory monopoly property right granted by the government to prevent others from making, using or selling what was patented for a set period (commonly 20 years from the patent date) in exchange for making public the information in the patent document.
Patent Infringement Using another's patent without adequate permission (usually a royalty bearing license).
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, previously a major part of DHHS, but reorganized out of existence; it remains on paper primarily because of significant sets of regulations previously imposed under its name which remain in effect for the organizations that used to be under its authority.
PRDA Program Research and Development Announcement. An announcement and solicitation for proposals, frequently used by the U S. Department of Energy.
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. Pre-proposals may be in the form of a letter of intent or brief abstract. Also termed Preliminary Proposal.
Principal Investigator a) The individual with final responsibility for the conduct of research or other activity described in a proposal or an award; b) the individual with fiduciary responsibility for an award's management. Usually these are the same individual. However, VCU has a requirement that the fiduciary responsibility vest in an employee, so on occasion they may be different; a common example is that the recipient of a research fellowship is explicitly not an employee, so that person's major professor manages the award's account.
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. Under expanded authorities (NIH's term), many federal agencies have delegated to the institution exercise of some prior approvals required for federal grants.
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.
Procurement Under federal law, the process that leads to a contract, as opposed to assistance. The purpose is to "procure" the contractor's goods and services to meet a governmental goal.
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 announcements, especially federal, may contain specific information that becomes part of the award, or specific deviations from the sponsor's normal mode of doing business.
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 or project progress to date. Fiscal and invention reports may also 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. A proposal (application) can be considered an offer to do business, and requires the signature of an institution's authorized official.
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Reasonable The action that a prudent person would have taken under the circumstances prevailing at the time.
Re budget The act of amending the budget by 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.
Reprocurement A contractual clause giving the sponsor the right to have a deliverable ordered from another organization at the original contractor's expense, if the contractor fails to deliver. This is an unacceptable clause. VCU is a non-profit educational institution and has no funds to pay such costs.
Reps And Certs Representations and Certifications, a list of statements of institutional policies, practices, and commitments which must be signed as part of some proposals. Always found in federal contract proposals. At VCU, OSP will fill them out or guide the PI in so doing.
Request for Applications (RFA) Announcements that indicate the availability of funds for a topic of specific interest to a sponsor. RFAs generally contemplate the award of a grant rather than a contract. 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. RFPs generally contemplate the award of a contract rather than a grant. Notices of federal RFPs are published in the Commerce Business Daily.
Request for Quotations (RFQ) A formal request to vendors for a price quotation on services, equipment or supplies to be purchased. Industry often uses an RFQ to solicit proposals.
Research Misconduct "Research misconduct is defined as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results. Fabrication is making up data or results and recording or reporting them. Falsification is manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record. Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit. Research misconduct does not include honest error or differences of opinion." [Office of Science and Technology Policy, 65 FR 76260 - 76264] VCU's Policies and Procedures for Misconduct in Research and Scholarly Activities has been reviewed and approved by HHS's ORI.
Restricted Funds Monies (or an accounting category for such funds) with specific 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.
Right to Publish University policy requires that the institution or PI retains the right to publish the results of a sponsored program, as it is part of our mission and obligation to disseminate knowledge and educate students. A short delay in publication for Intellectual Property protection, coordination with other publishers, or other good reason is allowed. prohibition of the right to publish requires approval of the Vice President for Research and Innovation or delegee.
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Salaries and Wages (S&W) Payments made to employees of the institution for work performed.
Scientific Review Group The NIH Peer review panel to which each grant proposal is sent for peer review. Formerly named "Study Section".
Scope of Work (SOW) The description of the work to be performed and completed on a research project or sponsored activity. A good SOW is very verb oriented.
Secrecy Agreement A secrecy agreement, nondisclosure agreement, proprietary agreement, and a confidentiality agreement are all the same thing. The purpose of this agreement is generally to protect proprietary information regardless of whether it is technical, financial, trade secrets, business information, or any other item that the party is disclosing, that they do not want divulged beyond the party signing the agreement. A confidentiality clause requiring that the contract, its existence, and/or its terms be kept confidential may not be accepted by VCU because the VA FOI Act requires release of financial or administrative records.
Senior Personnel Professional personnel who are responsible for the scientific or technical direction of project. The Principal Investigator has final responsibility if there are more than one senior investigators on a project.
Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Federal grant program created to provide support to small business concerns and investigators for research projects that have potential for commercialization. The SBIR program requires that the primary employment (over 50%) of the principal investigator for the grant be with the small business. The small business concern may conduct the entire SBIR project without outside collaboration, or it may subaward some of the grant to a university.
Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Federal grant program created to provide support to small business concerns and investigators for research projects that have potential for commercialization. The STTR program allows (but does not require) that the principal investigator for the grant be primarily employed other than with the small business. The small business concern must subaward some of the grant to a university or other research institution because the goal of the program is to transfer technology developed there.
Small Grant A special type of award, often limited to a beginning researcher. Typically, such an award may be obtained for one year only.
SMARTS SPIN Matching And Researcher Transmittal System, a subset of SPINPlus which will, if registered in GENIUS, provide email notification of funding opportunities based on keywords regarding subject material.
Special Terms and Conditions Terms and conditions of an award that are specific to that individual award only.
Sponsor The organization that funds a sponsored program received by the institution. If VCU receives a subaward, the sponsor is the organization issuing that subaward. However, VCU may need to know if the subaward is issued under a federal award.
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. Expressly, this is NOT an employer-employee relationship. Stipends may NOT be paid from any other type of grant although students may be employed on them. A stipend does not generate fringe benefits, although health insurance is often an allowable cost to a fellowship or training grant.
Stop Work Order An official communication from the sponsor's Contracting Officer requiring the contractor to stop work. This may be related to a Termination, or may be a temporary halt for some reason. The contractor will cease work and comply with other terms of the Stop Work Order.
Subaward, 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. "Subaward" or Subgrant" is usually used in relation to an agreement under a federal grant.
Subs Short for subcontractors, or for subcontracts.
Supplemental (Rebudgeting 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.
Suspension and Debarment Prohibition on an individual, institution or corporation receiving some benefit. As a result of Executive Order 12549 in 1986, an institution must certify , for receipt of a federal contract of grant, that it is not suspended or debarred by any federal department or agency.
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Task Order Agreement (TOA) A legally binding document authorizing work and appropriating funds as a supplement to a basic agreement. Task Orders are subject to the terms and conditions of the original contract, and may occasionally contain additional special terms applicable to the specific task only.
Teaming Agreement An agreement between two or more parties to participate in an activity. Commonly a teaming agreement is sought by a commercial entity to jointly propose a federal contract which requires the University's expertise for some portion of the work. VCU should not agree to an exclusive teaming arrangement, as this would prevent any other PI at the university from working on research of this type with any agency. VCU can agree that it, with a specific PI can team exclusively, but the industry must understand that VCU may team with another organization using another PI. A Consortium Agreement serves the same purpose between VCU and another institution for joint application under a grant.
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 and Conditions 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. All applicable terms must be included in the award document, but very frequently by reference only.
Total Direct Costs (TDC) The total of all direct costs of a project.
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Unrestricted Funds Monies (or an accounting category for such funds) 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.
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VAH Department of Veterans Affairs Hospital. Most VAH's have close relationships with a local teaching hospital. VCU has an association with Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center.
Voluntary Committed Cost Sharing Cost sharing that is not mandatory, but is offered by the University in the proposal. Included are salaries in excess of applicable reimbursement caps. Voluntary committed cost sharing must be recorded by the University and considered in preparing the F&A rate proposal. See also Mandatory Cost Sharing.
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Warrant, Warranty A contractual assurance of something. VCU will not warrant any outcome of work it undertakes; our work is on a best effort basis. VCU will, if appropriate, warrant performance to a specific objective standard of quality such as GLP.
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This glossary is a work in process, compiled with assistance from several sources. In particular: "The Language of the University Research Administrator" by Pat Hobbs of Virginia Tech, and the UCLA Glossary of Research Administration Terms are used with permission.
Please email questions, additions, and suggestions regarding this glossary to: email@example.com