This glossary is intended to be a guide to research administration related terms. The terms defined here are typically used industry-wide. Where applicable, terms specific to or used differently within the NU community are indicated in the definition. NU-RES SOPs and other documentation will refer to this glossary in lieu of re-defining terms.
NU-RES will add terms over time as SOPs and documentation are updated. If you see a term you think should be defined and included here, please email us at email@example.com.
Advanced Account – request initiated from the department to establish an account, funded by the department, to begin incurring allowable pre-award costs. [see also AIR Account]
Agreements – NU-RES receives various types of Agreements from other entities to establish a framework for doing business. Some mechanisms are funded and others are unfunded.
- Subaward – An agreement “provided by a pass-through entity (PTE) to a subrecipient for the subrecipient to carry out part of [an] award” received by the PTE (see 2 CFR 200.93) under a grant or cooperative agreement funded by a third party, usually the federal government. Subawards are typically made to entities that are performing a substantive, programmatic portion of the research activity. Subawards are not the appropriate mechanism for vendors/contractors or individual consultants (see Service Agreements).
- Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) – An agreement between two parties governing the transfer/exchange of physical materials from one entity to another. An MTA will address permitted uses, intellectual property, publication and ownership of all materials between the parties. MTAs typically do not include payment terms.
- Data Use Agreement or Data Transfer and Use Agreement (DUA/DTUA) – An agreement between two parties governing the transfer/exchange of data that has been developed by nonprofit, government or private industry, where the data is subject to some restrictions on its use (i.e. human subjects data). An DUA will address permitted uses and any security requirements for the data being exchanged. DUAs typically do not include payment terms.
- Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) – A nonbinding agreement between two or more parties outlining the terms and details of an understanding, including each parties’ requirements and responsibilities. MOUs are not legally binding, but are considered serious documents by the law. MOUs do not involve the exchange of money. NU may enter into an MOU related to an unfunded research collaboration or exchange program, etc.
- Foundation Funding Agreement – An agreement between NU and a non-profit entity governing research and development activities funded by the non-profit entity.
AIR Account – Administratively Initiated Request (AIR) to establish an account, funded by NU-RES up to $25,000, to begin incurring allowable preaward costs..
Amount Obligated by this Action – he total amount being granted to Northeastern during the Obligation Period.
AOS Form Type – Type of submission of the AOS form routed to Research Finance for processing.
- New – Initial submission of a specific AOS form to Research Finance.
- Revised – Subsequent submission of AOS form initiated by NU-RES based on Funding Agency action.
- Corrected – Subsequent submission of AOS form to Research Finance to correct information sent on previous version of the AOS.
Approvals are: Backup / Attached – Selected when there are approvals (e.g. IACUC, IRB, cost-share approvals) to be included in the back up related to an AOS award package.
- Back up: means the relevant approvals are in COEUS as part of a previous AOS award package.
- Attached: means the approvals are attached to the current AOS package. are included in backup documentation or are attached
- Grant – Assistance mechanism.
- New –Initial budget period and funding
- Non-Competing Continuation – Funding of subsequent budget period within a previously approved project period of an established award. Should have a corresponding IP# specific to the Continuation/ Progress Report submission.
- Renewal – Additional funding for a period subsequent to that provided by a current project (competitive application process). Should have a corresponding IP# specific to the Renewal request for funding.
- Supplement – Additional funding for current or future budget period of an existing award. Should have a corresponding IP# specific to the supplement request for funding.
- Contract – Procurement mechanism.
- New – Initial budget period and funding.
- Modification – A change to existing contract terms (e.g. period of performance, funding amount, reporting terms).
- Renewal – Additional funding for a period subsequent to that provided by a current award.
Banner Grant Number – A Banner generated identifying number assigned to all awards in Banner at the top level (format: GXXXXXXX).
Base – The amount, whether calculation is based on MTDC or TDC, to which the F&A rate is applied. [see also F&A calculation or rate type]
Carryover- Transferring of unspent funds from one budget period into the next. [also known as Carryforward]
Certificate of Confidentiality – Issued by NIH and other federal agencies to protect the privacy of research subjects. The certificates provide protection against compelled disclosure of identifiable sensitive biomedical, behavioral, clinical or other research information provided by individuals participating in a research study.
CFDA Number – Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number.
Closeout – The period after a project period has ended and/or is being terminated.
COEUS IP Number – Identification number established by the COEUS Institute Proposal (IP) Module for a proposal routed from a college and submitted to an external Funding Agency by NU-RES.
College – The academic institution within Northeastern University responsible for managing the award, including any necessary administrative or financial transactions required for good financial stewardship.
Confidentiality Disclosure Agreement or Non-Disclosure Agreement (CDA/NDA) – An agreement between two parties governing the exchange of confidential or proprietary information from one entity to another. A CDA will address permitted uses, intellectual property, publication, and ownership. CDAs do not include payment terms.
Consultants – Outside collaborators on a research project. Consultants perform this work in their own time without institutional support. As a result, Consulting agreements tend to be made to the individual and not their home institution. Consultants are typically advising on a project and therefore do not have a routine committed level of effort.
Cost Share – Please see Voluntary Committed/Uncommitted Cost Share, or Mandatory Committed Cost Share.
Credit Split – a proportional method to allocate the recovery of indirect costs to a specific investigator. Investigators participating in a research project receive a credit split proportionate to their contributions to the project, as defined by the college at the time of proposal. For instance, if there are two investigators on a project and one is contributing 1-month effort and is named as the PI and the other is contributing .5 months effort and has a more limited role, the credit split may be something like 75% and 25%.
Cumulative Amount to Date – The total amount of funds currently obligated to Northeastern under a project.
Data Safety Monitoring Plan (DSMP) – A data and safety monitoring plan (DSMP) is a specific plan, developed by the PI that outlines how study progress will be monitored throughout the course of the research to ensure the safety of subjects, as well as the integrity and confidentiality of data.
Data Use Agreement (DUA) – See “Agreements”
Department – Academic unit within the College responsible for managing the award, including any necessary administrative or financial transactions required for good financial stewardship.
Department Administrator – Primary administrative contact for department/college/PI.
Direct Cost –Per federal regulations at 2 CFR200.413 “Direct costs are those costs that can be identified specifically with a particular final cost objective, such as a Federal award, or other internally or externally funded activity, or that can be directly assigned to such activities relatively easily with a high degree of accuracy.”
DURC – Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC) is “ is life sciences research that, based on current understanding, can be reasonably anticipated to provide knowledge, information, products, or technologies that could be directly misapplied to pose a significant threat with broad potential consequences to public health and safety, agricultural crops and other plants, animals, the environment, materiel, or national security.” – NIH OIR
Effective Date for Pre-Award Charges – Start date of the requested Advance or AIR Account.
Export Control Review – May be performed when awards include activity outside the U.S. (including collaborations or exchanges with foreign entities including collaborators, subrecipients and Funding Agencies) that may involve the development or use of products, goods, hardware, software, materials or technology subject to U.S export control laws.
F&A Calculation – those 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 activities.
- F&A on MTDC – F&A calculated on “Modified Total Direct Costs.” See NOA and/or proposal.
- F&A on TDC – F&A on “Total Direct Costs.” See NOA and/or proposal.
- F&A on % TDC – a percentage of the Total Direct Costs. The percentage is determined by the Funding Agency.
FAIN Number – Federal Award Identification Number (FAIN)
fCOI – Financial Conflict of Interest (fCOI)
Fringe Benefits – Allowances and services provided by employers to their employees as compensation in addition to regular salaries and wages.
Fund Number – a 5-Ledger account established for a funded project. [see also Banner Grant number]
Funding Agency – Entity directly providing funding for the project. [also known as Sponsor or see also PTE]
Funding Agency Allowability – Whether or not a Funding Agency requires NU to seek prior approval to process specific pre and/or post-award transactions.
Funding Agency Award Number – The identification number for the project assigned by the Funding Agency.
Future Recommended – The anticipated amount of the project beyond the current Obligation Period.
IACUC – Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) provides assurance and approval for projects involving vertebrate animals as backup for certain projects and UPAF actions.
IBC – Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) provides assurance and approval for projects involving specific, IBC regulated materials required as a backup for certain projects and UPAF actions. (Refer to IBC Charter)
Indirect Cost – (also known as overhead, facilities and administrative or F&A) Per federal regulations at 2 CFR 200.56, “Indirect (F&A) costs means those costs incurred for a common or joint purpose benefitting more than one cost objective, and not readily assignable to the cost objectives specifically benefitted, without effort disproportionate to the results achieved.” Northeastern’s indirect cost agreement is located here.
Indirect Cost Recovery –The process of recovering overhead on grants and contracts.
IRB/HSDF – Institutional Review Board (IRB) provides assurance and approval for projects involving human subjects required as a backup for certain projects and UPAF actions.
Just-in-Time (JIT) – Post-proposal submission of additional and/or revised information/documentation prior to issuance of an award. [see also Post-submission review]
Mandatory Committed Cost share – Cost share outlined in NU’s proposal because the funding agency solicitation required all proposals to include a cost share commitment.
Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) – See “Agreements”
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) – See “Agreements”
No-Cost Extension (NCE) – A change in the end date of the project period to a future date without additional funds.
Not to Exceed Amount – Budgetary cap imposed by the department on Advance Accounts.
NU Grant Number – Unique identifier assigned by Banner for a funded project in the format G00001234.
NU-RES Tracking Log Number – Unique identifier assigned by NU-RES to track/monitor projects and actions that are processed through NU-RES.
Obligation Period – Start and End date for the period of performance being funded by a current award. [see also Budget Period]
On-Campus: the extramurally funded research or sponsored activity is primarily conducted in facilities owned or paid for by Northeastern; i.e., the space costs associated with the specific award are not directly charged to the funding agency. Rather, the University covers the overhead costs (utilities, maintenance, etc.) associated with space (lab, offices, etc.) and is able to recover a portion of these costs via the application of the on-campus F&A rate.
Off‐campus: the externally sponsored activities are conducted using space/facilities/ at locations that are not owned or leased by the University. These facility costs are directly charged to the funding agency. Accordingly, only the “administrative” portion of the negotiated indirect cost applies to an off-campus, externally sponsored proposal.
OMB Function Program Type:
- Organized Research – Basic – Systematic study directed toward increasing knowledge or understanding of fundamental aspects of phenomena and of observable facts without specific applications towards processes or productions in mind. Examples: NIH R01, R03, R21; SBIR and STTR Phase I, K99/R00.
- Organized Research – Applied – Systematic study to gain knowledge or understanding to meet a specific recognized need. Examples: NIH R01, R21, SBIR, STTR, Phase II.
- Organized Research – Developmental – Systematic use of knowledge or understanding gained from research directed toward the production of useful materials, devices, systems, or methods, including design and development of prototypes and processes. Examples: SBIR, STTR, Phase III (can include Phase II if FOA specifies for development stage).
- Instruction – Teaching and training activities, including activities involving the training of individuals in research techniques where training is in the same facility as other research and development. Examples: HRSA, NIH Research Training Grants (T series).
- Other Sponsored Activity – Other than organized research and instruction, e.g. community service programs and conferences.
Org. Code – Northeastern assigns a 6-digit number assigned to each Department or Organization within the University.
[see also Cost-Share Account Number]
Pass-Through Entity (PTE) – A PTE is an entity that receives funds from a [Prime] Funding Agency and then passes a portion of those funds to a collaborator or subrecipient to accomplish a portion of the SOW under the Funded Award.
Payment Mechanisms – The methods by which NU-RES receives funds from a Funding Agency:
- Cost Reimbursement – Agreements that are paid after costs are incurred and invoiced. Typically monthly or quarterly.
- Fixed Price – Agreements that have fixed payments based on completion of contractual requirements (i.e., milestones, deliverables).
- Letter of Credit – Used with some federal Funding Agencies to draw down funds directly from federal payment systems. NU performs a “draw” on a routine basis as costs are incurred on various grants and cooperative agreements awarded directly to NU by the Funding Agency.
Performance Sites: places where the research or sponsored activity will be performed as documented in the proposal.
Prime Funding Agency – The entity from which the funds for the project originate when receiving a subaward or subcontract from a Pass-Through Entity (PTE).
(e.g. NIH awards a grant to UMass and UMass awards a subaward to NU. NIH is the Prime Funding Agency and UMass is the Funding Agency.)
Prime Funding Agency Award Number – The award number assigned by the Prime Funding Agency.
Principal Investigator (PI) – Per the NIH: “The individual(s) designated by the applicant organization to have the appropriate level of authority and responsibility to direct the project or program to be supported by the award.”
Project Period – Start and End date for the total period of performance for an entire project lifecycle.
NU-RES Administration contact – The Grants Officer who is in charge of processing the project or action.
Rate – See F&A calculation.
Rebudget – Reallocation of funds between cost categories on a project to accommodate new expenditures not originally proposed or as required by the Funding Agency requirements (typically when there is a change to the SOW).
Reliance Agreement –Also called an Institutional Authorization Agreement or IAA; is reviewed and signed by the NU HSRP. A Reliance Agreement is used when two or more institutions are engaged in human subject research activities. A Reliance Agreement permits one or more institutions to cede human subject research activities review to another IRB
Reports – Typically reports are due to a sponsor on an annual basis. Some awards may require more or less frequent reporting. PIs and Colleges should maintain a schedule of required programmatic or scientific reports. NU-RES suggests that the final report submission include a cc: to NU-RES.
- Annual/ Interim – Reports submitted yearly/ on a specific schedule each year.
- Final – Final progress and or financial report of the project.
- Other – A report due that isn’t the interim or final, such as an invention disclosure, certificate of completion, or other required reporting document.
- *See Notes – When there is more than one reporting requirement.
Salary Cap – A limit imposed on the total amount of money a Funding Agency will allocate towards an individual’s salary on a project (a good example is the NIH).
Scope of Work, Statement of Work, SOW – The Scope of Work (SOW) submitted to the Funding Agency. The approved SOW outlines the expectations for the work to be performed under the grant or contract.
SCRO – Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee (SCRO) provides assurance and approval that human stem cell research on a project is conducted in an ethical manner.
Sponsored Research Agreement (SRA) – An agreement between NU and a for-profit entity governing research and development activities funded by the for-profit entity.
Stipulated Cost-Share – Cost-sharing that is outlined in the proposal and is mandatory as part of the obligation. This may come in two forms:
- Mandatory Cost Share
- Voluntary Committed Cost Share
sUAS – A committee that provides guidelines for the authorized use of Small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) in conjunction with Northeastern University policies.
Subcontract – An agreement provided by a Contractor to a Subcontractor for the provision of goods or services (including research activities) under a federal contract, subject to Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR).
Time and Effort: the level of commitment dedicated to the project by the Principal Investigators, faculty, and other project personnel. Level of commitment is typically measured in person-months and converted to percent effort and documented in the proposal/award materials.
Total Anticipated Award – The total anticipated amount of the project over the course of the entire project period.
Total Award Cap/Limited – If NOA and/or funding opportunity notice indicates that the maximum amount of project is limited to a certain amount.
Transfer/Relinquish Award – An award originally made to Northeastern is being transferred to or from another institution.
Voluntary Committed Cost Share – cost share outlined in NU’s proposal that was not required by the funding agency solicitation
Voluntary uncommitted cost share – cost share that your college did not have to include in the proposal. This type of cost share is not formally tracked or reported by NU-RES.
Last Updated on August 9, 2022