Terms and Commonly Used Acronyms in Sponsored Projects & Technology Transfer

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A-21: "Cost Principles for Educational Institutions," an OMB circular that sets forth the cost principles to be used by educational institutions with respect to federal grants and contracts, as well as outlining costs that are considered allowable and unallowable against federal grants and contracts. A-21 Circular Online

A-110: "Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements With Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Non-Profit Organizations," an OMB Circular that sets forth standards for obtaining consistency and uniformity among Federal agencies in the administration of grants to and agreements with institutions of higher education, hospitals, and other non-profit organizations. A-110 Circular Online

A-133: "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," an OMB Circular that sets forth standards for obtaining consistency and uniformity among Federal agencies for the audit of States, local governments, and non-profit organizations expending Federal awards. A-133 Circular Online

Abstract: An abbreviated summary (typically 1 page) of a research subject or discipline.

Agency/Funding Agency: See "Sponsor"

Amendment: A formal written change to an existing agreement.

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 award terms, laws, regulations and policies.

Award: The document that funds a successful proposal. May be in the form of a grant, contract or cooperative agreement.

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BAA: Broad Agency Announcement.

Bayh-Dole Act: The federal law that gives the University title to inventions developed with federal funding, subject to certain conditions.  

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

Budget: A list of anticipated project costs that represent the Principal Investigator's best estimate of the funds needed to support the work described in a grant or contract proposal.

Budget Justification: A written description of the cost estimation methods used in preparing a budget and that also explains or describes the types of individual costs.

Budget Period: The period for which funds are obligated for spending. Generally, one-year periods within a larger project/performance period.

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CAGE: Commercial and Government Entity code.

Carryforward: Unexpended funds carried from one budget period to another.

CAS: See "Cost Accounting Standards"

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA): A comprehensive listing and description of Federal programs and activities which provide assistance or benefits to the American public.

CDA: Confidential Disclosure Agreement. See "Confidentiality Agreement"

CFDA: See "Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance"

CFR: Code of Federal Regulations.

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

COI: See "Conflict of Interest"

Confidentiality Agreement: An agreement requiring the recipient of certain information to keep that information in confidence.

Conflict of Interest: A principle in which outside activities, relationships or financial interests of a recipient are determined to be proper or improper to prevent an individual from appearing to be motivated by private gain.

Contract: An agreement where the sponsor has more involvement and uses the project to achieve a specific outcome or goal.

Contracting Officer: The individual within a contracting agency who has the authority to commit that agency to legal obligations, such as to spend funds or to agree to specific contract terms.

Contractor: The individual or organization performing the work under a contract. When used in a contract between a funding agency and The Curators of the University of Missouri, The Curators is the Contractor. In the case where UMSL subcontracts for a portion of the project, the party who performs that work is sometimes called the "Contractor."

Cooperative Agreement: An award similar to a grant, but in which the sponsor anticipates having substantial involvement in research activities. Also called "Collaboration Agreement" or "Joint Development Agreement."

Copyright: Ability to exclude others for a limited period of time from using original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression which can be perceived, reproduced or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device (typically used for texts, software and visual and audio materials).

Cost Accounting Standards (CAS): Federally mandated accounting standards intended to ensure uniformity in budgeting, accounting and reporting project costs.

Cost Reimbursement Contract/Grant: A contract/grant in which the sponsor only reimburses for actual costs incurred.

Cost Sharing: A type of Project Contribution in which the University bears the costs associated with the conduct of a sponsored project that the University may otherwise charge to the extramural funds. Typically, these costs are not separately budgeted, but are part of the department's operating expenses. Cost sharing can be either mandatory (requested by the sponsor) or voluntary (the University makes the contribution on its own initiative).

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Deobligation: The withdrawal of support under an award, in whole or in part, at any time prior to the date of completion.

DFARS: Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement.

DHHS: Department of Health and Human Services. DHHS is responsible for negotiating indirect cost rates with the University. The rates thus negotiated are applicable to all funding agencies.

Direct Costs: Those costs of conducting a project that can be directly attributed to that project (e.g., salaries, benefits, supplies, equipment and travel). In order to be reimbursed under federal grants and contracts, a direct cost must be reasonable in price, allowable under federal regulations, and allocable to (i.e., clearly assignable to) that specific project.

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Effort Verification Reports: The federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-21, Cost Principles for Educational Institutions, requires University of Missouri employees who work on activities related to federal awards to complete time and Effort Verification Reports (EVRs). The University uses the "Plan-Confirmation" method for effort reporting as described by OMB Circular A-21.

EH&S: Environmental Health and Safety (web site includes information on Biological, Chemical, Occupational and Radiation safety at UM-St. Louis).

EIN: Employer Identification Number. An EIN is a federal identification number issued by the IRS to identify a business entity. It is also known as a Tax ID number. The University of Missouri's EIN is 43-600-3859.

Equipment: A standalone article of nonexpendable tangible personal property having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more per unit.

EVRs: See "Effort Verification Reports"

Extramural Funding: Awards made to the University by agencies and other third parties for research, instruction, or public service projects.

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F&A (Facilities & Administration Costs): Those costs that are incurred by a project that cannot be clearly identified and assigned to that project (local telephone charges, administrative support, library use, building costs, and utility charges). Also called Indirect Costs.

FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulation): A comprehensive set of pre-written contract terms used by the federal government to draft federal contracts for procurement including research and development contracts to educational institutions.

Fiscal Year (FY): Any 12-month period. (UMSL = July 1st through June 30th; Federal = October 1st through September 30th; calendar year)

Fixed Price Contract/Grant: A contract/grant for which one party pays the other party a predetermined price, regardless of actual costs, for services rendered or the delivery of a final product/report.

FOIA (Freedom of Information Act): The laws that allow the general public the right to review certain federal government records upon request. It does not automatically apply to proposal and award documents, or to the data generated by research funded by the federal government.

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Gift: Funds donated irrevocably for unrestricted or designated purposes by extramural organizations or individuals. As opposed to a grant, gifts typically have no contractual requirements and there are no deliverables to the donor. At UMSL, GIFTS are processed through University Development, while GRANTS are processed through the ORA.

Grant: A type of financial assistance award in which the sponsor anticipates no substantial programmatic involvement with the recipient during the performance of the activities.

Grantee: The recipient of a grant.

Grants Officer: The individual within a sponsoring agency who has the authority to commit that agency to spend funds.

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Human Subjects Committee: See "Institutional Review Board"

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I - J

IACUC (Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee): An institutional committee with federally mandated oversight responsibilities related to the proper use and care of laboratory animals.

Indirect Cost Rate: The rate at which indirect costs are charged to a project - expressed as a percentage of direct costs. There are separate indirect cost rates for research, instruction and public service, and each of those is further separated into on- and off-campus rates.

Indirect Costs: Those costs that are incurred by a project that cannot be clearly identified and assigned to that project (local telephone charges, administrative support, library use, building costs, and utility charges). Also called F&A costs.

Institutional Review Board:

Intellectual Property (IP):


Invention Disclosure: Written notification to the Office of Research Administration that an invention has been made. This form is an important step to protecting the invention.

IP: See "Intellectual property"

IRB: See "Institutional Review Board."

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Key Personnel: Personnel considered of primary importance to the successful conduct of a research project. The term usually applies to the senior members of the project staff; however, sponsors may have differing definitions of Key Personnel.

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License: Legal permission from a patent owner to practice an invention. License agreements include miscellaneous financial and diligence terms.

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Matching: A type of Project Contribution in which the sponsor requires the University, as a condition of the award, to "match" the sponsor's support in a fixed amount.

Material Transfer Agreement (MTA): A written agreement in which one organization agrees to send another organization a physical research sample (such as a chemical compound, bacterial strain, etc.) for internal, non-commercial research use.

Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC): The total direct costs against which indirect costs are applied. Certain items of direct costs, such as equipment, participant support costs, tuition remission, patient care, rental space, fellowships and the amount of a subcontract in excess of $25,000 are excluded prior to calculating the indirect cost on a given project.

MTA: See "Material Transfer Agreement"

MTDC: See "Modified Total Direct Costs"

MoCode: This term is used by the University to describe a particular account. As it relates to sponsored projects, a specific MoCode is designated to each grant/award. Technically this represents a unique combination of the following values, which are commonly used together when entering ChartFields in PeopleSoft modules: Business Unit (BU), Fund, DeptID, Program, Project, Class. See PeopleSoft Training, Chartfields, MoCode Guide, and more.

MOU (Memorandum of Understanding): An agreement that establishes the basic principles that will guide the implementation of programs. It is less formal than a contract.

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NCURA (National Council of Research Administrators): A nation-wide organization that serves its members and advances the field of research administration through professional development, the sharing of knowledge, and fostering of community.

NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement): See "Confidentiality Agreement.

No-Cost Extension: An extension of the period of performance beyond the expiration date to allow the Principal Investigator to finalize a project. No additional funds are provided.

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OMB (Office of Management and Budget) - federal: The principal staff office under the United States Office of the President for administrative and financial matters.

Option Agreement: An option agreement typically gives a company the exclusive right to evaluate a technology for a short period of time prior to executing a full license agreement. In most cases, the option agreement provides for the company to reimburse UMSL's patent expenses. Options may also include research funding and nominal fees.

ORA: Office of Research Administration.

Office of Research Integrity The ORI promotes integrity in biomedical and behavioral research supported by the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) at about 4,000 institutions worldwide. ORI monitors institutional investigations of research misconduct and facilitates the responsible conduct of research (RCR) through educational, preventive, and regulatory activities.

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Patent: A patent is the grant of a property right to inventor(s), issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). A patent right is "the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling" the invention in the United States or "importing" the invention into the United States. Download more information (PDF)

Patent Application: Document submitted to the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (or Foreign Patent Office) requesting that a patent be issued. Issuance usually takes two years or longer.

PeopleSoft Signature Page: University's signature page for grant proposals and contracts that requires signatures by PI, Chairs and Dean, along with an authorized official of the University (Vice Provost for Research). If cost-sharing is involved, signatures are also required from the relevant departments/schools. For funding agency signature page, see "Signature Page."

PI: See "Principal Investigator"

POP (Period of performance): The period of time, defined by a begin and end date, during which the project will take place. Typically, the project or performance period runs from one to five years.

Pre-Award Costs: Costs incurred prior to the start date of an award.

Pre-Proposal: A brief description 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.

Principal Investigator: The individual who is directly involved and has the primary responsibility for the scientific, administrative, and fiscal conduct of the project.

Prior Art: Public knowledge existing before the date an invention was made that is related to the invention or in the field of the invention.Can include published journal articles and abstracts, previously filed patents, and in some cases, non-written knowledge made public, such as material presented at a scientific conference. In order to obtain a patent, an applicant (inventor) must prove that their invention is both novel over the prior art and non-obvious to someone of ordinary skill in the art.

Program Announcement: Describes the existence of a research opportunity.

Program Director/Program Officer/Scientific Officer/Technical Officer: The individual within a funding agency who is concerned with the technical, programmatic aspects of the project. Usually a Ph.D., with whom the University's Principal Investigator communicates on technical matters. Program Directors do not have the authority to make contractual obligations or changes.

Program Income: A type of Project Contribution in which the money that is earned by the University during the project period, and the opportunity to earn that income is provided, in whole or part, by the funding of the project.

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

Project Contribution: Resources that are contributed to a sponsored project over and above the support provided by the extramural sponsor of that project.

Project Director: Same as the Principal Investigator (PI). The term Project Director is generally used for training and public service grants.

Project Period/Performance Period: The period of time, defined by a begin and end date, during which the project will take place. Typically, the project or performance period runs from one to five years.

Proposal: A written offer submitted to a funding agency to conduct a project for research, instruction, or public service, which typically includes a description of the project and a budget for expenses associated with the project, as well as additional documentation requested by the agency.

New Proposal:

A proposal for a new project to be funded for the first time by the agency, or for continued funding for a project when there has been a lapse between previous and proposed project periods.

Continuation Proposal:

A proposal for subsequent budget periods within an already-approved project period. Continuation proposals do not have to compete for funding. Renewal Proposal: A proposal for continued funding of the project beyond the end of the current project period. Renewal proposals compete for funding with all new and renewal proposals submitted to an agency.

Supplemental Proposal:

A request for additional funds within a previously approved funding period.

Provisional Patent Application: A U.S. provisional patent application establishes an early effective filing date over the prior art and has a pendency lasting 12 months from the date the application is filed. A corresponding non-provisional patent application must be filed during the 12-month provisional pendency period in order to benefit from the earlier filing of the provisional application. A provisional patent may be thought of as a "place-holder" at the USPTO, until a non-provisional application is filed.

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Rebudget: The act of amending the budget by moving funds from one category or line item to another.

Representations and Certifications (Reps and Certs): Written guarantees that the institution is required to provide to sponsoring agencies. A representation is an account or statement of fact concerning an offerer and its capabilities and abilities to perform. A certification is the submission of documents that serve as guarantees that an award applicant meets certain standards or will comply with certain governmental acts.

RFA (Request for Applications): Announcements that indicate the availability of funds for a topic of specific interest to a sponsor. Proposals submitted in response to RFA's generally result in the award of a grant.

RFP (Request for Proposal): Announcements that specify a topic of research, methods to be used, product to be delivered, and appropriate applicants sought. Proposals submitted in response to RFP's generally result in the award of a contract.

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

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

Signature Page: Funding agency's signature page for grant proposals and contracts that requires signature by an authorized official of the University (Vice Provost for Research). For University internal signature page, see "PeopleSoft Signature Page."

SOW: Statement of Work or Scope of Work.

Sponsor: An entity that provides funding for a project conducted by the University. May be a government sponsor or a private organization. Also referred to as "Agency."

STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer): Grant programs to fund small businesses "teamed" with research institutions.

Subagreement/subcontract: A purchase contract issued by the University to another institution, under an extramurally funded prime award, in order to implement a portion of the scope of work.

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T & C: Terms and conditions.

Task Order: A document authorizing work and appropriating funds as a supplement to a basic contract or master agreement.

TC: Total costs.

TDC: Total direct costs. The total of all allowable direct costs of a project.

Technology Transfer: A formal transfer of rights to use and commercialize new discoveries and innovations resulting from scientific research to another party. Universities typically transfer technology through protecting (using patents and copyrights), then licensing new innovations. The major steps in this process include the disclosure of innovations, patenting the innovation concurrent with publication of scientific research and licensing the rights to innovations to industry for commercial development.

TIN: Tax identification number.

Trademark: A name, word, symbol, or device that allows the trademark owner to dictate its use in identifying a product (e.g., logos and brand names).

TTO: Technology Transfer Office.

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VPR: Vice Provost for Research.

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