Academic Fraud
A deliberate effort to deceive the University and its constituents, including plagiarism, fabrication of data, misrepresentation of historical sources, tampering with evidence, selective suppression of unwanted or unacceptable results, and theft of ideas.
Allocable Costs
Allowable costs that advance, benefit, or are necessary to the overall operation of a research project. Such costs can be categorized according to cost principles aligned with federal regulations.
Allowable Costs
Costs allowable as a charge on a grant or contract as determined by the terms and conditions of the award and/or appropriate federal cost principles provided in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-21, Principles for Determining Costs Applicable to Grants, Contracts, and Other Agreements with Educational Institutions.
Any change to a contractual agreement, which usually requires an official signature.
Applied Research
Research that advances the “state of the art” by expanding previous knowledge through study of improvements in technology, materials, scientific processes, methods, and/or devices.
A formal examination of accounts or financial status, which may also include examination of compliance with applicable award terms, laws, regulations and policies.
Authorized Signature
The signature of a University official who is designated to give assurances, make commitments and execute legal documents on behalf of the University. The signature of an authorized official certifies that commitments made on grant proposals or contract agreements can be honored, and ensures that all sponsored agreements conform to federal regulations, agency guidelines, and University policies.
Funds or support officially awarded to the University by a sponsor or granting agency for research purposes.
Award Close-Out
The act of completing all internal procedures and sponsor requirements to terminate or complete a research project.
Award Notification
The official notification from any sponsor that funding has been awarded for research. For federal agencies, this is known as a NoGA, or Notice of Grant Award.
Award Terms and Conditions
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, and likewise, the University.


Basic Research
A systemic, intensive study with the aim of attaining a fuller knowledge or understanding of a particular subject.
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.
Broad Agency Announcement (BAA)
A broadly disbursed invitation from a federal sponsoring agency for the submission of proposals specific to the agency’s area of research.
Budget (Award Stage)
The total amount of funding and/or support awarded by an outside funding source which the University has a legal claim to collect in application to a specified sponsored project.
Budget (Proposal Stage)
A list of anticipated project costs that represents the best estimate of the funds needed to support the work described in a grant or contract proposal.
Budget Justification (also known as a Budget Description or Narrative)
A detailed, written explanation or description of each individual cost or item within a budget. This often includes a written description of the cost estimation methods used in preparing the budget as well.
Budget Period
A subdivision (usually 12 months) of the overall duration of a project used to monitor budgetary and funding activities.
Budget Revision
The act of amending the budget by moving funds from one category or line item to another. Also called “rebudgeting.”


Call for Proposals
A request from a sponsoring agency for proposals to conduct a particular type of research. Additional interchangeable terms include, RFPs (Request for Proposal), FOAs (Funding Opportunity Announcements), RFAs (Request for Funding Announcements), PAs (Program Announcement), etc.
CAS (Cost Accounting Standards)
Federally mandated accounting standards intended to ensure uniformity in budgeting, accounting and reporting project costs.
Capitalized or Controlled Equipment
Often referred to simply as “equipment,” capitalized or controlled equipment is defined as a single unit necessary to conduct a research project, costing in excess of $5,000, with a useful life of one year or more.
Carolina Centers & Institutes
Specialized research entities under the governance of the University that have developed into large and/or independent units requiring individual centralized support systems to operate.
Change Order
A written order signed by an awards officer outlining specific changes to a contract. The change order directs the contractor to make changes as requested. The changes clause of the contract authorizes the awards officer to issue change orders without the consent of the contractor.
Clinical Trial
A biomedical or health-related research study using human beings that adheres to a specific protocol. The University is provided funds for research assessing safety, efficacy and/or other outcomes in human subjects.
Clinical Trial Agreement (CTA)
The legally binding document between a sponsor and the University that defines the scope of work required by the protocol for conducting a clinical trial.
Often confused with the term “consultant,” a collaborator is a University employee who volunteers his/her knowledge and time to a research project without monetary compensation. Collaborating is an unpaid service, whereas consulting is a paid service by non-UNC Chapel Hill employees.
Competing Renewal Proposal
Proposals for ongoing projects that continuously compete for support as the original award expires and new funds are generated for the next award term.
The fulfilling of official requirements in support of the highest standards of academic integrity.
Confidentiality Disclosure Agreement (CDA)
A written, signed agreement between a sponsor and the University that allows the two to work on a project while protecting sensitive information. A CDA may have other names such as a non-disclosure agreement, a secrecy agreement, etc.
Conflict of Interest (COI)
Situations in which employees use their positions for purposes that are or appear to be motivated by a desire for private gain for themselves or others.
Consortium Agreement
A formalized arrangement with specified terms and conditions between a group of collaborative investigators and institutions.
Also known as an “independent contractor”, a consultant is a non-UNC Chapel Hill employee who performs specific services on a research project for monetary compensation, with no direct control from the University regarding how the services are performed. Sometimes incorrectly referred to as “collaborators” who are not recognized as consultants, but do offer knowledge and time to the project as volunteers.
Continuing or Continuation support
On-going support provided by an agency which has been awarded for more than one funding period. A continuation proposal is normally submitted at the end of each budget period to receive the next increment of funding. Continuation proposals may be “competing” or “non-competing” (and are commonly referred to as “renewals”).
A written, legal agreement between the University and an awarding agency involving the expectation of a tangible product, service, or specific obligation (commonly referred to as a “deliverable”) in return for sponsored support.
Contracting Officer
A sponsor’s designee who is officially responsible for the business management and financial aspects (as opposed to technical or scientific aspects) of a particular contract, including review, negotiation, award, and administration of a contract. Contracting officers also interpret the associated administration policies, regulations, and provisions associated with contracts and grants.
Cooperative Agreement
A sponsored agreement in which the sponsor acts as a partner to the University regarding a particular sponsored research project. The sponsoring agency is substantially involved in the programmatic or technical aspects of the sponsored activity. Deliverables are stated as part of the terms and conditions of the agreement, but are not necessarily monetary.
Cost-Reimbursement Contract/Grant (CRC/CRG)
A contract or grant for which the sponsor pays the full costs incurred in the conduct of the work, to a limited amount.
Any type of arrangement where more than one party financially supports a given sponsored project. The two types of cost-sharing include mandatory cost-sharing (required by the sponsor in the award terms and conditions) or voluntary cost-sharing, which is strongly discouraged because it is a financial liability to the University and future projects.


Defense Acquisition Regulations (DAR)
The source regulations for research projects sponsored by the Department of Defense.
Expenditures that exceed the awarded funds as a result of overspending.
A tangible product (reports, results, materials, etc.) defined in the terms and conditions of a contract, grant or cooperative agreement, produced by the award recipient and delivered to the sponsor of a research project.
Departmental Research
Research funded solely by internal University sources as opposed to external sponsors like the federal government, foundations, or non-profits. This also includes bridge funding for projects between research grants and start up research funding.
Developmental Research
The systemic use of scientific knowledge directed toward the production of useful materials, devices, systems or methods, including design and development of prototypes and processes.
Direct Costs
Clearly identifiable costs directly related to a particular research project. General categories of direct costs include but are not limited to salaries and wages, subconsultants, contractual services, travel and equipment. Such costs are defined in OMB Circular A-21, Principles for Determining Costs Applicable to Grants, Contracts, and Other Agreements with Educational Institutions and the University is required to abide by these principles.
DLAM (Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine)
Responsible for the care of all vertebrate animals on the UNC Chapel Hill campus, including the veterinary and laboratory management for all species used in research endeavors.
Transfer of equipment, money, goods, services, or 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.
An individual who presents the University with a gift, donation or bequest, with no expectation of a deliverable.
DS-2 (Cost Disclosure Statement)
The University’s regulatory document describing how the institution applies the standards of OMB A-21 to its treatment of sponsored research costs. Required and determined in conjunction with the federal government.


Effort Certification Reporting Technology (ecrt)
UNC Chapel Hill’s personnel reporting system that reflects an after-the-fact reporting of the percentage of activity (effort) of each employee. Each report must account for 100% of the activity for which the employee is compensated and is required in fulfillment of the employee’s obligations to the institution. The report must reasonably reflect the percentage of effort applicable to each sponsored agreement and other activities defined on the ecrt. In addition, each report must be signed by the employee or by a responsible official having firsthand knowledge of the work performed.
The total amount of activity or work done by an individual for a particular project. Effort is expressed as a percentage of the full time equivalence (FTE) of a project.
EHS (Department of Environment, Health, and Safety)
Provides comprehensive environmental, health and safety services to the University community to ensure regulatory compliance by recognizing and controlling health and safety hazards.
eIPF (electronic Internal Processing Form)
A required electronic processing form that must be completed in RAMSeS when preparing a proposal and is thereafter maintained during the life of an award. eIPFs are paperless electronic records maintained for the University’s internal proposal and award management system.
Funds that have been set aside or “claimed” for projected expenses pending actual expenditure of the funds. Encumbrances reduce the available balance of an account.
A fund usually in the form of an income-generating investment, established to provide long-term support for faculty/research positions (e.g., endowed chair).
eRA Commons (electronic Research Administration Commons)
An electronic database provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for administration of NIH proposals and awards, such as compliance requirements, applications, reports, forms, etc.
Expanded Authority
The ability given by sponsors to the University to approve certain actions for a research project without requiring agency approval, such as pre-award cost approval and/or no-cost extensions of the project period. Often done through IPAS.
Expiration Date
The date signifying the end of the performance period, as indicated on the Notice of Grant Award.
Export Control
Compliance with United States export control laws and other shipping regulations for transporting controlled materials used for research.
An additional period of time authorized by the sponsor (or awardee institution, as appropriate) 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.
Extramural Funding
Research support from entities other than the University, administrated by those external sponsors.


Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs (also known as “Indirect Costs” or “Overhead”)
Allowable costs that are incurred for common or joint objectives that are associated with a project but cannot be solely attributable to that project alone. Such costs include shared expenses such as general administration operations (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. All F&A cost rates are negotiated with the federal government in conjunction with the agency providing the award.
F&A Cost Rate
The rate, expressed as a percentage 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. At UNC-CH, indirect costs are applied to a modified total direct cost (MTDC) base.
FDP (Federal Demonstration Partnership)
A cooperative effort between a number of universities and federal agencies to increase research productivity by eliminating unnecessary administrative procedures and by streamlining and standardizing needed controls.
A Funding Opportunity Announcement disclosing the requirements of a proposal for federal support. FOA is the term used by Grants.gov, the federal repository that houses all federal funding opportunities. The same as an RFP and other similarly named announcements.
Federal Agency
Any subsidiary of the federal government that sponsors research using federal funds.
Final Report
The final technical or financial report required by the sponsor to complete a research project.
Fiscal Year (FY)
Any twelve-month period for which annual accounts are kept. The federal government’s fiscal year is October 1 through September 30. UNC-Chapel Hill’s is July 1 through June 30.
Fixed-Price (FPC or FPG) 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. Quite often this is a fee-for-service agreement.
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
A mandate of Congress that applies to all federal agencies that allows the public to request information pertaining to any governmental agency’s functions, practices, and future plans.
For-Profit Company
A business with the goal of making monetary profit, run for the financial benefit of its owners and/or shareholders. Unlike a non-profit organization that reinvest any profits made into the operation of itself, a for-profit company has discretion to use its profits for any purpose it deems fitting. For-profits are likely to enter into sponsored research contracts for monetary gain.
A non-profit entity usually funded from a small group, often a family. Foundations often provide funding for sponsored research that is highly specific and focused on a particular cause for the greater good.
Fringe Benefits
Employee benefits paid by the employer.
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).
Funding Information Portal
A resource for UNC Chapel Hill faculty, staff, postdocs, and graduate students seeking information on funding sources for independent research, collaborative projects, fellowships, travel and other scholarly activities.


General Purpose Equipment
Equipment that can be utilized for activities other than the specific, technical, specialized activities supported by a grant or contract. Examples include office equipment and furniture, reproduction equipment, motor vehicles and data processing equipment.
Funds are classified as gifts if the following characteristics exist: (1) funds are given voluntarily without expectation of any tangible compensation. Under ordinary circumstances, the funds are awarded irrevocably; (2) funds are given for unrestricted use or for general support restricted to a specific area or purpose. Beyond a possible designation of use, the donor does not impose contractual requirements on the award; (3) any subsequent reporting on the use of the funds to the donor is not a condition of the receipt of the funds.
A legal instrument for transferring money, property, or services to the recipient to accomplish a public purpose where the granting agency has limited involvement during the performance of the grant.
Grant/Contract Officer
A sponsor’s designated individual who is officially responsible for the business management aspects of a particular grant or cooperative agreement. The grants officer is responsible for all business management matters associated with the review, negotiation, award, and financial administration of a grant or contract and interprets the associated administration policies regulations, and provisions.


HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)
The federal regulation requiring the protection of a person’s privacy when human subject information becomes part of research data.


IACUC (Institute for Animal Care and Use Committee)
A University committee charged with reviewing and approving the use of animal subjects in all research projects. The IACUC serves as an institutional compliance committee and is responsible for reviewing reported instances of regulatory noncompliance related to the use of animal subjects in research.
IBC (Institutional Biosafety Committee)
A faculty committee charged with reviewing and approving the use of biologically hazardous substances in all research projects. The IBC serves as an institutional compliance committee and is responsible for reviewing reported instances of regulatory noncompliance related to biosafety issues in research.
Incremental Funding
A method of funding grants and contracts that provides specific spending limits below the total estimated costs. Each increment is, in essence, a funding action.
An undertaking to reimburse someone for specified liabilities incurred as a result of specified actions or inactions (such as hurt, loss or damage).
Indirect Costs
See F&A Costs.
Informed Consent
The process of providing clearly stated information regarding a research study to any person invited to participate in that study.
In-Kind Donations
Contributions or assistance in a form other than money. This can include equipment, materials, or services of recognized value that are offered in lieu of cash. These are donated without the expectation of deliverables.
In-Kind Cost Shared Contributions
Contribution of services outside the University, such as time donated to a project by student tutors, private M.D.s, etc. Although the University does not pay for such services, these must be documented, including the dates and hours donated by each individual. Failure to document in-kind contributions of time can result in disallowance of pro-rated portion of University-incurred costs.
Intellectual property
“Intangible property” that is the product of research. Examples include copyrights, trademarks, patents, and trade secrets. Although each is a separate area of law, governed by different federal and state laws concerning ownership, all are designed to provide some protection against others from misappropriating the products and ownership of intellectual creativity.
Any process, machine, manufacture, composition of matter, or design, or any new or useful improvement thereof, and any variety of plant which is or may be patentable under the patent laws of the United States.
IPAS (Institutional Prior Approval System)
Special authorities assigned by particular federal agencies to grant recipients that have established institutional review and approval systems meeting specified criteria.
IRB (Institutional Review Board)
A University committee charged with reviewing and approving the use of human subjects in all research projects. The IRB serves as an institutional compliance committee and is responsible for reviewing reported instances of regulatory noncompliance related to the use of human subjects in research.


Just-in-Time (JIT) Requirements
Funding agencies may require additional information after a proposal is submitted and before an award is made. Such information may include verification of human subjects and/or animal subjects protocol approval, documentation of required human subjects training, revised budget information, and an up-to-date listing of additional sponsored research support for the same project.


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.
Any money, fee, commission, credit, gift, gratuity, thing of value, or compensation of any kind which is provided, directly or indirectly, to a contractor, contractor’s employee, subcontractor or subcontractor’s employee for the purpose of improperly obtaining or rewarding favorable treatment in connection with a contract.


Laboratory Safety Plan
A requirement of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), this is a written plan that sets forth procedures, equipment, personal protective equipment and work practices capable of protecting employees from health hazards presented by the chemical used in a laboratory.
Letter of Intent
A written statement from the Department Chair, Dean or Director that states the department will be responsible for covering pre-award spending costs in the event the impending award is not granted.
Limitation of Cost (LOC)
A mandatory clause for 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.
Limited Submissions
A restriction placed on the number of proposal submissions allowed from any given institution. At UNC Chapel Hill, an internal selection process is used to identify and fairly judge among numerous investigators interested in submitting applications for such submissions. The Office of Research Development (ORD) is responsible for the identification, alerts to the research community, and the selection process regarding limited submissions.
Line Item Budget
A budget that lists the cost of personnel participating in a project as well as itemizes the costs for all other budgeted categories such as travel, supplies, equipment, etc. Itemization may be required in varying degrees of detail.


Mandatory Cost Sharing
Cost sharing that is required by Federal statute or by established sponsor policy.
Master Agreements
Large, encompassing umbrella-type sponsor agreements with general terms and conditions applicable to subsequent agreements under them, known as “task orders.”
Matching Cost Sharing
Cost sharing that usually involves a University contribution of hard dollars or funds specifically appropriated for and allocated to the project. Unless otherwise dictated, matching is processed through a single combined account for total project costs.
Matching Funds
Funds obtained from other sources to increase the level of support provided by the granting agency. The granting agency will provide additional funds equal to the private matching funds raised for the project. Normally, this is done on a dollar-for-dollar basis. Federal funds may not be used for matching on another federal project. Unlike cost sharing, neither personnel effort against the project nor reduction in indirect costs can be used for the matching component. Some Federal agencies require matching in order to receive an award.
Matching Grant
A grant that requires a specified portion of the cost of a supported item be obtained from other sources. 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. Many matching grants are paid in installments, the payments coinciding with the attainment of pre-specified levels of additional funding. Matching grants are very common in the sciences, especially for equipment. They are standard practice in some government agencies.
Material Transfer Agreement (MTA)
A legal agreement entered into by a provider and a recipient of research material. The sharing of research products (including, for example, software, cell lines, transgenic animals, monoclonal antibodies) is critical to continuing progress in science, and it is the University’s intention to facilitate the exchange of material among academic research institutions. Such material may have commercial value the oftentimes must be protected. In the interests of all parties involved, these transfers are managed by a Material Transfer Agreement that protects the rights of the different parties with regard to publication, freedom of research, confidentiality, and intellectual property.
Memorandum of Agreement (MoA)
A contractual arrangement between the University and a corporate sponsor that stipulates the terms and conditions under which specific work is performed; these terms and conditions include scope of work, period of performance, payments, patents, publications, advertising, use of experimental compounds or drugs, human subjects, indemnifications, and reports.
Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC)
F&A costs on federally sponsored projects are generated against MTDCs, which are Total Direct Costs (TDCs) less equipment, internal patient care charges, scholarships, fellowships, and other student aid, and subgrants and subcontracts over $25,000.


Narrative Report
A report submitted by a principal investigator on the progress and/or status of a project supported by sponsored funds. Narrative reports are part of the conditions of many sponsored agreements and are also known as “technical” or “progress” reports. They may be requested for submission as an interim report, with continuation proposals, requests for supplemental funding, or at the termination of a sponsored project.
New Award
An award not previously awarded or a renewal or continuation award treated as a new award by the sponsor and given a new agency number.
New Proposal
Proposals that are submitted to a particular sponsor for the first time.
No-Cost Extension
An extension of the period of performance beyond the expiration date to allow the principal investigator additional time to finish a project. Usually, no additional funding is provided by the sponsor.
NoGA (Notice of Grant Award)
An official legal document from a given federal agency that notifies the University a grant or cooperative agreement has been awarded. It contains all terms of the award and documents the obligation of funds.
Non-Competing Continuation Proposal
A continuation proposal reports on progress made during a portion of the project period and requests continuation funding for the next portion of the project period. Continuation proposals are not in competition with new project proposals and are not subjected to peer review beyond the initial project approval.
Failure to follow and meet regulatory requirements, often resulting in massive fees to the University and the individual researchers. Non-compliance is detrimental to the entire University research community and is highly undesirable.
Non-Federal Sponsors
Any provider of funder not belonging to a branch of the federal government, including foundations, for-profit, industry, and non-profit organizations.
Non-Profit Organization
An entity whose primary goals are to benefit the greater good rather than make profits (which is the primary goal of a for-profit company). Non-profits can make profits, but are required to use those profits for maintaining their operations.
NoTR (Notice of Termination Reply)
Notification sent to the administrating department of an award to indicate the budget has ended for that award account. It includes a request for the PI to provide financial data for outstanding obligations and pending adjustments within 30 days.


Office of Animal Care and Use (OACU)
The division at UNC Chapel Hill responsible for overseeing the use and care of animals used for research.
Office of Human Research Ethics
The division at UNC Chapel Hill responsible for ethical and regulatory oversight of research involving human subjects.
Office of Sponsored Research (OSR)
The University office responsible for oversight, administration and financial management of contracts and grants.
OMB Circulars
Regulatory circulars issued by the Office of Management & Budget (OMB). Definitions included in OMB Circulars A-21, 110 and 133.
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 with educational institutions (also known as sponsored projects).
Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Non-Profit Organizations, a circular published by the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations, a circular published by the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
An individual account in which the expenditures and encumbrances have exceeded the budget. An account is considered to be overdrawn if there is a negative balance available, regardless of the cause.
Oversight committee
A University committee charged with the responsibility of reviewing the protocol of every research project as it relates to specific health and safety concerns. It is not the responsibility of an oversight committee to judge the scientific merit of the proposed research, only to verify that the research being conducted poses minimal health and safety risks. Projects which use animals or humans as subjects, use University students as research subjects, involve a biohazardous agent or radioactive material, or use a radioactive isotope on a human subject must have the approval of one of the University’s oversight committees.
Organized Research
Research activities that the University budgets and accounts for separately. This includes all extramurally funded programs in the Sponsored Research and Development Trust Fund.


Describes the role of a sponsor in a cooperative agreement, which is a partnership between the sponsor and the University in conducting sponsored research.
Describes the role of a donor of support to the University who gives without expectations of deliverables.
Post-Differential Allowance
Expenses authorized for employees based abroad to provide additional compensation for services as a recruitment and retention tool. When the allowance is authorized, the employee’s base salary is increased accordingly.
Pre-Audit costs
Approved budget items that must be reviewed by OSR Award Management prior to the item’s purchase to make certain they are aligned with the terms and conditions of the award agreement.
Pre-Award costs
Costs associated with a research project which are incurred before the beginning dates of an award or budget period but can be.
Pre-Award Spending
Authorization to expend funds on a project to a specified limit before the award document has been received from the sponsor.
Pre-award spending account
An account that is established in the University’s accounting system prior to the award documents being received from the funding agency. Such accounts are limited for a set period and are not assigned a budget.
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. Also termed Preliminary Proposal.
Principal Investigator (PI)
The individual responsible for leading the research effort described in a proposal for an award. The Principal Investigator is responsible for the programmatic and administrative aspects of a project or program, ensuring all terms and conditions of a sponsored agreement are met.
PI Eligibility
The criteria that must be met before an individual may serve as a Principal Investigator.
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.
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 Income
Revenues resulting from a particular research project.
Program/Project Officer
The sponsoring agency’s representative who is responsible for the technical, scientific, or programmatic aspects of a particular grant, cooperative agreement, or contract. The program/project officer works with the PI and research team to assure programmatic progress. He/she does not officiate over financial matters, however, which is the role of a Grants/Contracts Officer.
Progress Report
Periodic, scheduled reports required by the sponsor summarizing research progress to date. Technical, fiscal, and invention reports may be required.
Project Financial Guarantee (PFG)
Used to allow spending prior to receipt of an award notice, a PFG is a written assurance of funding from a Department head, Director, or Dean to guarantee funding for a project from departmental resources, should an award be rescinded for any reason.
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.
A formal application for funding that contains all information necessary to describe project plans, staff capabilities, and funds requested. Formal proposals are prepared by the Principal Investigator and officially approved and submitted by OSR on behalf of the University. Proposals at UNC Chapel Hill are maintained electronically through RAMSeS (Research Administration Management System and electronic Submissions).
Describes the role a sponsor assumes when making a contractual agreement requiring deliverables with the University.


RAMSeS (Research Administration Management System and electronic Submission)
The internal data collection and monitoring system for research administration proposal, award and reporting management at UNC Chapel Hill.
The act of changing or amending the budget by moving funds from one category or line item to another.
The contractual rules and procedures governing sponsored research projects. Often called “regs.”
Regulatory Compliance
Adherence to general and specific regulations related to the conduct of research, including approved laboratory procedures, treatment of research subjects, etc.
Regulatory Noncompliance
Failure to adhere to regulations, policies, procedures or special conditions related to the conduct of research. Examples of such noncompliance include, but are not limited to, failure to obtain/maintain approval for research; coercion of human subjects; performing unapproved procedures; and conducting research at unapproved sites. Heavy penalties are often applied to universities that are non-compliant, greatly injuring sponsored research efforts.
Restricted funds
Funds awarded to the University from outside sources for restricted purposes.
Renewal/Competing Continuation
A competitive proposal requesting additional funds extending the scope of work beyond the current project period. Applicable to grants and cooperative agreements only.
Providing periodical reports of both programmatic and financial activity as required by the sponsored award terms and conditions. Interim reports may be required throughout the life of a project and final reports are always required at a project’s end.
Request for Application (RFA)

An announcement of research priorities by a sponsor. The sponsor has set aside a certain amount of money to fund grants on a particular topic. The applicant describes the research to be undertaken and how he/she will accomplish the work within the framework outlined by the sponsor.

Request for Proposal (RFP)
Announcements that specify a topic of research, methods to be used, product to be delivered, and appropriate applicants sought.
The systematic inquiry or investigations into a subject to discover or revise facts, theories, or applications.
Responsible Conduct of Research
The steps taken to ensure proper scientific and/or scholarly conduct of a research project and ensuring compliance with the financial and administrative aspects of an award.
Revised Proposal
A modified and resubmitted request for funding for a project that was previously not funded either because it was denied by the sponsor or withdrawn by the principal investigator.


Scope of Work
The description of the work to be performed and completed on a research project.
Signatory Authority
The authorization delegated to a University official to enter into legal commitments on behalf of the University regarding sponsored research agreements for grants, contracts and cooperative agreements.
Special Purpose Equipment
Equipment that is generally usable only for research, medical, scientific, or technical activities.
SPO (Sponsored Programs Office)
The University office responsible for oversight, administration and financial management of contracts and grants emanating from the School of Medicine (SOM).
The organization or entity that funds a research project.
Sponsored Agreement
A contract, grant or cooperative agreement detailing the programmatic and financial expectations of the parties entering the agreement.
Sponsored Research/Sponsored Project
Research activity supported by resources outside the University, including both federal and non-federal sources.
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.
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.
An increase in the amount of funding by the sponsor to an existing award. Supplemental funding increases the award and extends the award period.
Supplemental Proposal
A request to the sponsor for the additional funds for an ongoing project during the previously approved performance period. A supplemental proposal may result from increased costs due to modifications in design or a desire to add a closely related component to the ongoing project.


Task Order
A legally binding document authorizing work and appropriating funds as a supplement to a master agreement.
Technical Data
Recorded information, regardless of form or characteristic, of a scientific or technical nature. Often referred to as the “science” of a research project.
Total Direct Costs (TDC)
The total of all allowable direct costs of a project.
Total Project Costs
The total allowable direct and indirect costs incurred by the institution to carry out an approved project or activity.


Unallowable Costs
Unallowable costs are specific categories of costs that cannot be charged, directly or indirectly, to federally sponsored agreements in accordance with federal regulations.
UNC-CH Compliance Line
A mechanism for making a confidential report to identify and address compliance concerns in an anonymous positive, constructive environment.
UNC-General Administration (UNC-GA)
The governing body of the University of North Carolina System consisting of the 16 constituent state-owned universities, of which UNC Chapel Hill is one.
Unilateral Award
An award made by a sponsor to an organization without considering competitive proposals. Unilateral awards are most often made when unsolicited proposals receive favorable treatment.
Unrestricted Funds
Moneys 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.
Voluntary Cost Sharing
Cost sharing that is not required by Federal statute or by established sponsor policy, which is in excess of stated requirements.
Intentionally relinquishing or abandoning a known right, claim or privilege, such as waiving certain costs or F&A rates. For sponsored research purposes, waivers are strongly discouraged because they place the University in jeopardy of giving research dollars away unnecessarily, which can cause a shortage of funding for future projects.