Definitions

Research Definitions

Funding grant terminology is extensive and can be reviewed at Grants.Gov. Additionally, many funding agencies have information for researchers (e.g. NIH, NSF) and even provide lists of acronym with definitions (e.g. NIH Acronym List). PIs should utilize these resources to learn more about the funding agencies they are applying to. PIs are expected to familiarize themselves with common definitions that are relevant to both the research process and the PI Handbook.

Principal Investigator (PI) / Program Director (PD)

A PI/PD is the individual(s) designated by UNT to have the appropriate level of authority and responsibility to direct a research project or program supported by funding. This lead researcher for a defined research and scholarly project takes direct and primary responsibility for the completion of the project, direction of the research, and reporting to the sponsored agency. A Collaborating Principal Investigator (Co-PI) or Co-Investigator (Co-I) is a researcher that takes a secondary role in the project direction, completion, and reporting to the sponsored agency.

Sponsor Agency 

Sponsor agencies are institutions that are either part of the federal, state, or local government, or a non-profit, corporation, or other institutes that provides funding for a research project.

Research and Development

All research activities, both basic and applied, and all development activities that are performed by non-Federal entities. Research also includes activities involving the training of individuals in research techniques where such activities utilize the same facilities as other research and development activities and where such activities are not included in the instruction function. Research is defined as a systematic study directed toward fuller scientific knowledge or understanding of the subject studied. Development is defined as the systematic use of knowledge and understanding gained from research directed toward the production of useful materials, devices, systems, or methods, including design and development of prototypes and processes.

Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs

F&A costs (also known as indirect costs) are defined as necessary costs incurred by a recipient for a common or joint purpose benefiting more than one cost objective, and not readily assignable to the cost objectives specifically benefited, without effort disproportionate to the results achieved. To facilitate equitable distribution of indirect expenses to the cost objectives served, it may be necessary to establish a number of pools of F&A (indirect) costs. F&A (indirect) cost pools must be distributed to benefited cost objectives on bases that will produce an equitable result in consideration of relative benefits derived.

Indirect Cost Recovery Distribution Guidance

Background

Indirect Costs(i.e.: F&A, Overhead) are funds the University receives for the reimbursement of services rendered in support of grants and contracts. F&A funds are paid to the University by the granting agencies as reimbursement for indirect support provided to the grants and contracts (such as maintenance, utilities, library, administration, and support, etc.) Since colleges and units incur costs in supporting sponsored research, a portion of these charges are distributed back to them in order toto support their continued involvement in sponsored activities.

Indirect Cost Recovery

The University of North Texas (UNT) will recover indirect costs (i.e.: F&A, Overhead) for all sponsored projects unless specifically prohibited or limited by the funding agency. If a funding agency has published guidance that limits or prohibits the recovery of Indirect Costs, UNT will recover the allowable amount.

Principal Investigators (PI) may request approval of a waiver or reduction of the indirect cost rate when the potential benefits are compelling and well-justified. Waivers are only considered under exceptional circumstances and must be approved by UNT’s VPRI office well in advance of the proposal submission.

Standard Distribution of Recovered Indirect Costs

The Standard Distribution is as follows:

Standard IDC Distribution

PI/Dept/College/Institute

VPRI

VP Finance

Total Distribution

32.5%

37.5%

30%

100%

The distribution of the funds within each college will be based on the College’s policy for distribution. Below are the College’s current Distributions. In the case of proposal/awards with more than one PI/Co-PI, the indirect cost distribution will be based on the PI Recognition Credit listed in the electronic Funding Proposal.

Standard College/Dept/PI Distributions(32.5%)

College

College Distribution

Department Distribution

PI Distribution

CENG

12.5%

10%

10%

CLASS

10%

12.5%

10%

CMHT

10%

12.5%

10%

COB

10%

12.5%

10%

COE

10%

12.5%

10%

COI

10%

12.5%

10%

COS

10%

12.5%

10%

CVAD

10%

12.5%

10%

CHPS

11.25%

11.25%

10%

Music

10%

12.5%

10%

UNT Libraries

22.5%

0%

10%

*In the case of joint appointments, the IDC distribution will be spilt proportionally between the two appointments as appropriate.

Distribution of Recovered Indirect Costs

1. When ProjID Accounts are established the Indirect Cost Distribution is setup for that project and is based on the PI Recognition Credit that was established in the internal GRAMS Funding Proposal record.

2. Indirect cost return funds will be allocated to separate accounts based on indirect cost revenue recovered in the previous month from sponsored program accounts.

3. These funds may be used at the discretion of the principal investigator, chair or dean for research or scholarly activities. Expenditures will be governed by current University policies and procedures. Indirect cost return funds may not be used for faculty salaries or for recurring obligations exceeding the funds available at the time the commitment is made.

4. The balance remaining in indirect cost return accounts can be carried forward from one year to the next.

5. In the event the principal investigator leaves the University, his or her indirect cost return funds will be transferred to the department indirect cost return account.

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA)

A funding opportunity announcement is a publicly available document by which a Sponsored Agency makes known its intentions to award discretionary grants or cooperative agreements, usually as a result of competition for funds. Funding opportunity announcements may be known as program announcements, requests for applications, notices of funding availability, solicitations, or other names depending on the Agency and type of program. Federal funding opportunity announcements can be found at Grants.gov/FIND.

Request for Proposal (RFP) 

A Request for Proposal is an announcement from funding agencies on the intent to make awards to meet a specific need of the funding agencies. RFPs typically have specific content that guides the applicant on the requirements within the proposal, and while the majority have due dates, many have open or continuous deadlines.

Statement of Work (SOW)

In a contract proposal, a statement of work is the detailed description of the work that will be performed under the contract.

Subaward 

A subaward is an award provided by a pass-through entity to a subrecipient for the subrecipient to carry out part of a Federal award received by the pass-through entity. It does not include payments to a contractor or payments to an individual that is a beneficiary of a Federal program. A subaward may be provided through any form of legal agreement, including an agreement that the pass-through entity considers a contract. The term includes consortium agreements.