OSPFR Terms & Definitions

Academic Year: The period of a faculty member’s appointment, often used for effort reporting purposes. Fisher faculty are generally appointed for either 9 or 12 months.

Allowable: A cost is allowable if it is necessary for the project, follows policies and guidelines of the sponsoring agency, the Uniform Guidance and Fisher, is adequately documented, and meets these general criteria:

  • Reasonable: The nature and the amount of the cost reflects what would be incurred by a “prudent person” under similar circumstances.
  • Allocable: The expense can be associated to the project with a high degree of accuracy.
  • Consistently treated: Like expenses are treated the same in like circumstances.

Authorization to Release Salary Information: A form that allows the business office, OSPFR and the PI/PD to access salary information for key personnel on a grant in order to accurately calculate salary and fringe benefits.

Authorized organizational representative: An individual authorized to submit grant applications to the federal government on behalf of St. John Fisher University.

Budget: Expenses charged to a grant. All expenses charged to a grant must be necessary to achieve the objectives of the approved grant, allocable to that particular project, and allowable under the terms of the grant.

Commitment: The entire value of a grant award, whether or not funds have been released.

Conflict of Interest (COI): When an individual (or their immediate family) has a financial interest that affects or has the potential to affect the individual’s conduct of their University-related activities including sponsored projects. See Significant Financial Interest.

Contractor: A non-Federal entity that provides goods or services in a competitive environment as its normal course of business; they provide specified services in support of the sponsored project but have little or no independent decision-making in the design and conduct of the project. A contractor cannot be the spouse or family member of a PI or have any employment relationship with the University.

Cost Sharing/Matching Funds: Any project costs—cash or in-kind—that are not borne by the sponsor. Some sponsors require that the applicant contribute a certain portion of funds to the cost of the project as a way to express institutional commitment and leverage resources. Cost-sharing should only be included in a budget if it is required or recommended by a private funder. All matching funds must be approved by the Business Office.

Debarment: An exclusion of an individual or entity from receiving Federal financial and non-financial assistance and benefits under Federal programs and activities, as per 2 CFR 200.213.

Direct Costs: Salary for personnel, materials, supplies and equipment purchased directly for use on a specific grant or contract. Examples of direct costs are labor, materials, commissions, piece rate wages, and manufacturing supplies.

Effort: A metric used to represent the percentage of time that PIs/PDs, faculty and other key personnel devote to a grant project. By definition, the percentage of all activities for which a person received compensation, including work other than for sponsored projects, must add up to 100%. Sponsor approval is needed for any significant changes in effort.

Effort Reporting: The mechanism used to provide assurance to federal or other external sponsors that salaries charged or cost shared to sponsored awards are reasonable in relation to the work performed. Effort must be certified by someone with firsthand knowledge of the employee's activities, usually a supervisor or PI/PD.

Equipment: A tangible piece of property having a useful life of more than one year and a per-unit acquisition cost of $3,000 or more. (Please note: $3,000 is the threshold as defined by Fisher. Some sponsors have different definitions for equipment.)

Family: The Investigator’s immediate family spouse or partner and/or any dependent children.

Fellowships: Support study, research, or teaching in the U.S. or abroad. In many cases, the funds are directly awarded to the faculty member or student (e.g. Fulbright Fellowships). Fellowships are awarded across the spectrum of faculty ranks (Assistant, Associate, and Full Professor). They tend to be highly competitive.

FOAP: The code(s) used for recording and reporting budget information in Banner. FOAP stands for Fund, Organization, Account, and Program. Each grant is assigned a specific fund.

Fringe Benefits: Costs charged to grants and may include the following: health insurance, retirement benefits, life insurance, worker’s compensation, tuition credits, and FICA expenses. When requesting salary through a grant, it is important to find out whether the funder will allow fringe benefits to be charged to the grant. If the funder does not allow fringe benefits to be included in the grant, the PI/PD must work with the OSPFR and Business Office to determine how the fringe benefits will be paid.

Grant close-out: The process by which an awarding agency determines that all applicable administrative actions and all required work of the award have been completed by the recipient.

HHS: The Department of Health and Human Services

HRSA: The Health Resources and Services Administration; funded by the Public Health Service.

Indirect Costs: A mechanism used to reimburse colleges for the indirect costs or overhead incurred to support sponsored research and programming, such as the cost for general administration, student services, library, operations and maintenance, etc. Some sponsors cap the amount of indirect costs that may be charged to a grant. The terms indirect costs, facilities and administration (F&A) costs, and overhead costs can be used interchangeably.

Institutional Responsibilities: The Investigator’s responsibilities on behalf of St. John Fisher University, which are defined by the University as research, research consultation, teaching, professional practice, institutional committee memberships, and service on panels such as institutional review boards (e.g., IACUC, IRB, etc.).

Investigator: Any individual who is responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of a project or project proposal, including the principal investigator, co-principal investigator, key personnel and any other person who may be independently responsible for or significantly influences the design, conduct or reporting of the project. For the purposes of the Financial Conflict of Interest disclosure form and Conflict of Interest policy, “Investigator” includes the Investigator’s spouse or domestic partner and/or any dependent children. See Principal Investigator (PI) or Project/Program Director (PD).

Key Personnel: Individuals who contribute to the scientific development or execution of a project in a substantive, measurable way. The term usually applies to the Principal Investigator(s), but may extend to other senior members of the project team. NSF and NIH are primary users of this term.

Micro-purchases: Purchase of supplies and services above the micro-purchase threshold require competitive bidding. The micro-purchase threshold is set by the Federal Acquisition Regulation at 48 CFR Subpart 2.1.

NEH: The National Endowment for the Humanities

NIH: The National Institutes of Health; one of the agencies that makes up the Public Health Service.

NSF: The National Science Foundation

Notice of Intent to Submit a Proposal: A form that must be submitted to OSPFR by a PI/PD before beginning work on a grant. The form is used to inform OSPFR and the Dean that a proposal will be prepared.

Obligation: The portion of a grant award that has been set aside for the awardee. 

Other Direct Costs: Any expenses not applicable to the previous headings are otherwise referred to as “other direct costs” or “miscellaneous.” Examples of budget items under this category include, but are not limited to:

  • publication costs
  • equipment service and maintenance
  • space and facilities rentals
  • stipends
  • human subject fees
  • postage
  • reproductions
  • telephone and internet services
  • subaward

Other support (current and pending): All grant applicants to the NIH and NSF ­must report all active and pending research endeavors regardless of whether salary is received in exchange for the effort expended; this includes effort on external research projects, not simply institutional awards. No individual with a key role in the proposed project may have commitments exceeding 100% of their total effort. By reporting all other support in the grant application, the funder is able to determine whether the project team has adequate time to commit to the project and that there is no scientific overlap. Note that the reporting of other support does not include the following: compensation associated with instruction, professional development, or other non-research endeavors.

Pass-through Entity (PTE): A non-federal entity, such as a college or university, which provides a subaward to a subrecipient to carry out part of a Federal program. Also referred to as a Prime Awardee. The pass-through entity assumes the responsibility to monitor a subrecipient’s progress and compliance with the Federal program.

Person Months: A metric for expressing the effort PIs/PDs, faculty and other key personnel devote to a specific project. See Effort.

Philanthropic grant: Donations from charitable foundations and trusts which assist the University to reach a particular institutional goal or purpose. The PI/PD defines the project scope. The funder retains the right to revoke the award and request any unused funds to be returned. Publications are not restricted. The grant may qualify as a charitable contribution.

PHS: The United States Public Health Service. PHS-funded agencies are: The National Institutes of Health (NIH); the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA); the Agency for Healthcare Resources and Quality (AHRQ); the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR); the Centers for Disease Control (CDC); the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA); and the Indian Health Service (IHS).

Pre-award: The phase of the grants process up to and including the submission of a proposal. It includes activities such as grant project concept development, identifying extramural funding sources, proposal preparation, and internal approvals.

Prime Awardee: See Pass-through Entity.

Principal Investigator (PI) or Project/Program Director (PD): The individual responsible for the management and integrity of the design, conduct and reporting of a sponsored project and for managing, monitoring, and ensuring the integrity of any collaborative relationships. Additionally, the Principal Investigator is responsible for the direction and oversight of compliance, financial, personnel, and other related aspects of the project.

Program Income: Gross income generated or earned by a federally or non-federally supported grant project.

Post-award: The phase of the grants process once an award has been made by an extramural funder. It includes monitoring the progress and completion of the grant project for compliance with the grant contract, as well as all financial aspects of the grant.

No-Cost Extension: If you are unable to complete all of the requirements of your grant project within the grant period, some sponsoring agencies allow the grant termination date to be extended by 12 months if the PI/PD needs additional time to achieve the original goals and objectives of the project.

Research: A systematic investigation, study, or experiment designed to contribute to generalizable knowledge relating broadly to public health, including behavioral and social-sciences research. The term encompasses basic and applied research (e.g., a published article, book or book chapter) and product development (e.g., a diagnostic test or drug).

Research Contract: A funding agreement with a government or industry sponsor. The scope of work or research plan is well defined and answers questions that are of interest to the sponsor. The research is more applied in nature. For industry sponsors, the research contract typically contains provisions for confidentiality of information, such as a non-disclosure agreement. The publishing rights may be restricted.

Research Grant: A funding agreement focusing on basic research. The grants typically come from government agencies and proposals are submitted in response to a program announcement. The grants are awarded on a competitive basis.

Responsible Conduct of Research: The practice of applying established professional norms and ethical principles to scientific investigation.

Salary: The annual compensation paid by the University for an employee’s appointment (9 or 12 months), whether that individual’s time is spent on research, teaching, or other activities. This does not include bonuses, one-time payments, or incentive pay; must be used as the institutional base salary (IBS) on all grant proposals unless there is a statutory limit on compensation (e.g. NIH cap).

SAMHSA: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; funded by the Public Health Service.

Significant Financial Interest: Anything of monetary value, including, but not limited to, a salary or other payments for services from an outside entity (e.g., consulting fees or honoraria); equity interest (e.g., stocks, stock options or other ownership interests); and intellectual property rights (e.g., patents, copyrights and royalties from such rights). Also includes non-monetary benefits such as management positions (e.g. board member, director, officer, partner, or trustee Please note that at Fisher, any financial interest with a value of $100 or more is defined as being significant.

The following are excluded from the definition of Significant Financial Interest:

  • Salary, royalties or other remuneration from the University;
  • Income from seminars, lectures or teaching engagements sponsored by public or non-profit entities; and
  • Income from service on advisory committees or review panels for public or nonprofit entities.

See Conflict of Interest.

Subaward: An agreement with a third-party organization performing a portion of a St. John Fisher University grant project or program. The terms of the relationship are influenced by the prime agreement; all subawards must be monitored to ensure that the sub-recipient complies with these terms.

Subrecipient: A non-federal partnering entity who works with the prime awardee to carry out a federal program. The government funding they receive to carry out their responsibilities is called the subaward. It is the responsibility of the PI/PD to monitor all sub-recipients. The general characteristics of subrecipients and contractors are provided in 2 CFR §200.330.

Supplemental/Summer Salary: Compensation from the University outside of regular base salary.

Supplies: Supplies are defined as any consumable materials essential to the project. Examples of supplies include computer software, paper, glassware, and reagents. At Fisher, any consumable material with a purchase price under $3,000 is defined as a supply. Please note that a computing device may be considered a supply if its acquisition cost is under the threshold. The University abides by the Federal guidelines governing supplies.

Suspension: A disqualification from government contracting and subcontracting for a temporary period of time because an individual or entity is suspected of engaging in criminal, fraudulent, or seriously improper conduct. Suspension is to be used on an interim basis pending debarment proceedings.

Travel Expenses: A travel expense is defined as any cost which requires travel to a domestic or foreign destination that directly relates to the grant project, such as attendance at conferences or meetings and conducting field work. Allowable expenses include airfare, car rental, and mileage reimbursement. Costs incurred by employees and officers for travel, including costs of lodging, other subsistence, and incidental expenses, must be considered reasonable.

Uniform Guidance (UG): A set of regulations that governs the administration of all federal grants, including changes to grant-funded projects; also referred to as 2 CFR 200. Read he full text of Uniform Guidance.

Approved April 2017
Revised Fall 2022