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Glossary of Terms

Authorized Organizational/Institutional Official: The individual, named by the applicant organization, who is authorized to act for the applicant and to assume the obligations imposed by the federal laws, regulations, requirements, and conditions that apply to grant applications or grant awards. Institutional officials are have signature authority and are authorized to act on behalf of the University. 

Budget Period: The intervals of time (usually 12 months each) into which a project period is divided for budgetary and funding purposes.

Competitive Segment: The initial project period recommended for support (up to 5 years) or each extension of a project period resulting from a competing continuation award that establishes a new competitive segment for the project.

Consortium Agreement: A collaborative arrangement in support of a research project in which some portion of the programmatic activity is carried out through a formalized agreement between the grantee and one or more other organizations that are separate legal entities administratively independent of the grantee.

Consultant: An individual that provides professional advice or services on the basis of a written agreement for a fee. These individuals are not normally employees of the organization receiving the services. Consultants also include firms that provide professional advice or services.

Cooperative Agreement: A financial assistance mechanism used when substantial federal programmatic involvement with the recipient during performance is anticipated by the NIH Institute or Center.

Cost Sharing: See "Matching or Cost Sharing."

Direct Costs: Costs that can be specifically identified with a particular project(s) or activity.

Effort Reports: Effort is the reasonable estimate of work performed by the employee on a sponsored project during the period covered by the Effort Report. Effort worked during the period must support any amount compensated. Effort Reports are generated semi-annually. Effort Reports must be certified within thirty (30) calendar days of the end of the Effort Report period.

Equipment: An article of tangible non-expendable personal property that has a useful life of more than one (1) year and an acquisition cost per unit that equals or exceeds the lesser of the capitalization threshold established by the organization or $5,000.

Expanded Authorities: The operating authorities provided to grantees under certain research grant mechanisms that waive the requirement for NIH prior approval for specified actions.

Expiration Date: The date signifying the end of the current budget period, after which the grantee is not authorized to obligate grant funds regardless of the ending date of the project period or completion date.

Facilities and Administrative Costs (Indirect Costs): Costs that are incurred by a grantee for common or joint objectives and that, therefore, cannot be identified specifically with a particular project or program.  These costs are also known as indirect costs, and, in most instances, will be referred to in this document as F&A costs.

Federal Demonstration Partnership: A cooperative initiative among some federal agencies, including NIH, select organizations that receive federal funding for research, and certain professional associations. Its efforts include a variety of demonstration projects intended to simplify and standardize Federal requirements in order to increase research productivity and reduce administrative costs. UTHealth is a member of the FDP.

Grant: A financial assistance mechanism providing money, property, or both to an eligible entity to carry out an approved project or activity.

Grantee: The organization or individual awarded a grant or cooperative agreement by an awarding agency that is responsible and accountable for the use of the funds provided and for the performance of the grant-supported project or activities. The grantee is the entire legal entity even if a particular component is designated in the award document. The grantee is legally responsible and accountable to the funding agency for the performance and financial aspects of the grant-supported project or activity.

Grants Management Officer (GMO): An NIH official responsible for the business management aspects of grants and cooperative agreements, including review, negotiation, award, and administration, and for the interpretation of grants administration policies and provisions. Only GMOs are authorized to obligate NIH to the expenditure of funds and permit changes to approved projects on behalf of NIH. Each NIH Institute and Center that awards grants has one or more GMOs with responsibility for particular programs or awards.

Guarantee Accounts: Accounts set-up prior to receiving an executed award or contract. For rules on the establishment of a guarantee account,click here .

Indirect Costs: See "Facilities and Administrative Costs."

Indirect Cost Waiver: Written authorization from the UTHealth Chief Financial Officer for a reduction in the standard indirect cost rate.

Institutional Base Salary: The annual compensation paid by an applicant/grantee organization for an employee's appointment, whether that individual's time is spent on research, teaching, patient care, or other activities. The base salary excludes any income that an individual is permitted to earn outside of duties for the applicant/grantee organization. Base salary may not be increased as a result of replacing organizational salary funds with NIH grant funds.

Institutional Prior Approval (IPA):  Authority granted to the University by federal agencies to approve various types of costs or actions within federal guidelines. 

Key Personnel: Individuals who contribute in a substantive way to the scientific development or execution of a project, whether or not they receive compensation from the grant supporting that project.  The principal investigator and collaborators are included in this category.

Matching or Cost Sharing: The value of third-party in-kind contributions and the portion of the costs of a federally assisted project or program not borne by the federal government. Matching or cost sharing may be required by law, regulation, or administrative decision of a funding agency. Costs used to satisfy matching or cost sharing requirements are subject to the same policies governing allowability as other costs under the approved budget.

Modified Total Direct Cost (MTDC): The total direct cost less items of equipment, patient care, tuition and fees, alterations, renovations, and subcontract amounts over $25,000.

Modular Application: A type of grant application in which support is requested in specified increments without the need for detailed supporting information related to separate budget categories. When modular procedures apply, they affect not only application preparation but also review, award, and administration of the application/award.

No Cost Extension: Extension of the grant termination date without additional funds.

Notice of Grant Award: The legally binding document that notifies the grantee and others that an award has been made, contains or references all terms and conditions of the award, and documents the obligation of federal funds. The award notice may be in letter format and may be issued electronically.

Principal Investigator/Program Director/Project Director: An individual designated by the grantee to direct the project or activity being supported by the grant. He or she is responsible and accountable to the grantee for the proper conduct of the project or activity.

Prior Approval: Written approval from the designated Grants Management Officer required for specified post-award changes in the approved project or budget. Such approval must be obtained prior to undertaking the proposed activity or spending NIH funds.

Program Official: The NIH official responsible for the programmatic, scientific, and/or technical aspects of a grant.

Project Period: The total time for which support of a project has been programmatically approved. The total project period is comprised of the initial competitive segment, any subsequent competitive segment(s) resulting from a competing continuation award(s), and non-competing extensions.

Recipient: The organizational entity or individual receiving a grant or cooperative agreement. See "Grantee."

Significant Rebudgeting: A threshold that is reached when expenditures in a single direct cost budget category deviate (increase or decrease) from the categorical commitment level established for the budget period by more than 25 percent of the total costs awarded. Significant rebudgeting is one indicator of change in scope.

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. A stipend is not considered compensation for the services expected of an employee.

Termination: Permanent withdrawal of a grantee's authority to obligate previously awarded grant funds before that authority would otherwise expire, including the voluntary relinquishment of that authority by the grantee.

Terms and Conditions of Award: All legal requirements imposed on a grant by the funding agency, whether based on statute, regulation, policy, or other document referenced in the grant award, or specified by the grant award document itself. The notice of award may include both standard and special conditions that are considered necessary to attain the grant's objectives, facilitate post-award administration of the grant, conserve grant funds, or otherwise protect the federal government's interests.

Total Project Costs: The total allowable costs (both direct costs and facilities and administrative costs) incurred by the grantee to carry out a grant-supported project or activity. Total project costs include costs charged to the grant and costs borne by the grantee to satisfy a matching or cost-sharing requirement.