Basic Definitions

Sponsored Research: External funds given or awarded to support a specific research or training project or proposal.

Principal Investigator: (PI) Person designated to be primarily responsible for the proposed research or training project.  T

Project Director: (PD) essentially a PI, this term is associated more often with private funding sources.

Co-Principal Investigator: Has meaning at National Science Foundation (NSF) and NIH – essentially the equal of a Principal Investigator on a project, used when collaborating on a project and it makes the collaborators basically equal.

Co-Investigator:  a Co-Investigator is an important collaborator on a grant but not the equal of the Principal Investigator.

Key Personnel: People working on a specific project whose knowledge or expertise is critical to the success of the project.  All Investigators should be considered key personnel.  Other researchers may be key personnel, but should only be listed as such if their contribution to the grant is substantive.

Proposal: a request for support of a specific research or training project or program.  May include a budget or detailed description of the project.

Pre-award and Post-award: Pre-award is the start of the process to receive external funding, from initial conception of the idea through the proposal development and submission process and ends when an award is made.  Post-award is from the point an award is made through administration and reporting of the project until final reporting and completion of all fiscal matters related to the award

Awards come in three basic forms:  Contracts, Grants and Gifts

Contract:  an agreement between organizations that may include research or training.  Generally restrictive in nature, also deliverables are usually involved.

Grant:  An award given to support a specific project (either research or training).  Generally, there is a proposal and budget that were generated in order to receive the award.

Gift: Least restrictive in nature.  Does not usually include reporting requirements, may or may not have a budget.

Proposal Definitions

Letter of Inquiry:  A letter to a funding source requesting permission to submit a proposal or exploring interest in funding a particular topic or program.

Letter of intent:  A written statement expressing the intention of the undersigned to enter into a formal agreement.

Request for Proposal: (RFP) Issued by a specific funder to address a specific need or avenue of research.  Usually have specific funds set aside for PI’s responding to the specific request.  Other similar terms are Request for Applications, Request for Quotations, and Request for Services.

Program Announcement:  An announcement requesting applications in the stated scientific areas. Generally, money is not set aside to pay for them.

Request for Applications: (RFA) Stimulates research in a well-defined scientific area. RFAs have a single application receipt date.  They identify funds set aside and the number of awards likely to be funded.

Solicited Proposal: Proposal that funder requested PI to submit.

Unsolicited Proposal: A proposal for research funded as a result of an investigator, on his or her own, submitting a research application. Also known as unsolicited research.

Budgeting Definitions

Direct Costs: Costs that can be identified with a particular project or program. Allowable direct costs may include: Salaries and fringe benefits of principal investigators and supporting staff, Expenditures for project-related equipment and supplies, Fees and supporting costs for consultant services, Expenses for travel, Inpatient and outpatient costs for research subjects, publications and other miscellaneous expenses, Contract services, Costs for consortium participants.

Personnel: All salaries, hourly pay for employees working on the project.  Consultants and participant fees are NOT considered personnel costs.

Fringe Benefits: Non-salary employee compensation.

Other than personnel services: (OTPS)   All expenses not related to personnel or fringe benefits.  This include things like equipment, consultants, subcontracts, travel, participant or subject fees, supplies, meeting and dissemination costs, as well as tuition or tuition remission fees.

Course Buy Outs: A faculty member may be given a course buy-out to provide time to work on externally funded research if permission is granted by the Chair of the faculty member’s primary department.

Research supplies vs. office supplies:  Research supplies are all items used directly for the research project; this may include paper, pens, transparencies, test tubes.  Office supplies are items used in administrative support of the research.

Facilities and Administrative Costs: (AKA Indirect Costs or Overhead) Costs associated with the general operation of an institution and the conduct of its research activities.  Allowable indirect costs include: Depreciation use allowance, Facilities operations and maintenance, General administration and expenses, Departmental administration, Sponsored project administration, Libraries

Modified total direct cost (MTDC): Tuition, tuition remission, capital equipment over $3,000, contracts over $25,000 for the life of the grant are all excluded from a modified total direct cost on publicly funded projects only.