NIH Grants Policy Statement
Revised October 2017. This document applies to all NIH grants and cooperative agreements for budget periods beginning on or after October 1, 2017.

1.2 Definition of Terms

Exhibit 2: Definitions of terms used in the Grants Policy Statement

Term Definition
Acquisition cost

The cost of the asset including the cost to ready the asset for its intended use. Acquisition cost for equipment, for example, means the net invoice price of the equipment, including the cost of any modifications, attachments, accessories, or auxiliary apparatus necessary to make it usable for the purpose for which it is acquired. Acquisition costs for software includes those development costs capitalized in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Ancillary charges, such as taxes, duty, protective in transit insurance, freight, and installation may be included in or excluded from the acquisition cost in accordance with the non-Federal entity's regular accounting practices.

Activity code A 3-character code used to identify a specific category of extramural research activity, applied to financial assistance mechanisms. NIH uses three funding mechanisms for extramural research awards: grants, cooperative agreements and contracts. Within each funding mechanism, NIH uses 3-character activity codes (e.g., F32, K08, P01, R01, T32, etc.) to differentiate the wide variety of research-related programs NIH supports. A comprehensive list of activity codes is on the NIH Web site at
Additive alternative A use of program income earned during or after the project period that permits income that is generated under a grant to be added to funds committed to the project by the Federal awarding agency and recipient and used to further eligible project or program objectives. (See definitions for deductive alternative and cost sharing or matching alternative and Administrative Requirements-Management Systems and Procedures-Program Income).
Administrative supplement A request for (or the award of) additional funds during a current project period to provide for an increase in costs due to unforeseen circumstances. All additional costs must be within the scope of the peer reviewed and approved project.
Advance payment A payment that a Federal awarding agency or pass through entity makes by any appropriate payment mechanism, including a predetermined payment schedule, before the non-Federal entity disburses the funds for program purposes.
Allocation The process of assigning a cost, or a group of costs, to one or more cost objective(s), in reasonable proportion to the benefit provided or other equitable relationship. The process may entail assigning a cost(s) directly to a final cost objective or through one or more intermediate cost objectives. For additional information, see Cost Considerations-The Cost Principles.
Allowable cost

A cost incurred by a recipient that is: (1) reasonable for the performance of the award; (2) allocable; (3) in conformance with any limitations or exclusions set forth in the Federal cost principles applicable to the organization incurring the cost or in the NoA as to the type or amount of cost; (4) consistent with regulations, policies, and procedures of the recipient that are applied uniformly to both federally supported and other activities of the organization; (5) accorded consistent treatment as a direct or indirect cost; (6) determined in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles; and (7) not included as a cost in any other federally supported award (unless specifically authorized by statute).

For additional information on each, see Cost Considerations-The Cost Principles.

Alteration and renovation Work that changes the interior arrangements or other physical characteristics of an existing facility or of installed equipment so that it can be used more effectively for its currently designated purpose or adapted to an alternative use to meet a programmatic requirement. See also definitions for Major A&R and Minor A&R.
Applicable clinical trial Applicable clinical trial is the term used in Title VIII of the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act (FDAAA) of 2007 (P.L. 110-85) to designate the scope of clinical trials that may be subject to the registration and results reporting requirements in FDAAA.
Applicable credit Those receipts that offset or reduce direct or indirect costs. Typical examples of such transactions include purchase discounts, rebates, or allowances; recoveries or indemnities on losses, insurance refunds; and adjustments of overpayments or erroneous charges.
Application A request for financial support of a project or activity submitted to NIH on specified forms and in accordance with NIH instructions. (See Application Information and Processes for detailed information about the application process, including an explanation of the types of applications).
Application type code A single-digit code identifying the type of application received and processed. Application type codes include the following: 1=New; 2=Renewal; 3=Revision; 4=Extension; 5=Non-Competing Continuation; 6=Change of Organization Status (Successor-In-Interest); 7=Change of Recipient or Training Institution; 8=Change of Institute or Division (Type 5 transfer to another NIH IC); 9=Change of Institute or Division (Type 2 transfer to another NIH IC).
Appropriation Act The statute that provides the authority for Federal agencies to incur obligations to and make payments out of the U.S. treasury for specified purposes.
Assurance A certification by an applicant, normally included with the application or State plan, indicating that the entity is in compliance with, or that it will abide by, a particular requirement if awarded a Federal grant.
Audit finding Deficiencies which an auditor is required by 45 CFR § 75.516(a) to report in the schedule of findings and questioned costs.
Audit resolution The process of resolving audit findings, including those related to management and systems deficiencies and monetary findings (that is, questioned costs).
Authorized organization representative 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. This individual is equivalent to the signing official in the eRA Commons, i.e., holds the SO Role.
Award The provision of funds by NIH, based on an approved application and budget or progress report, to an organizational entity or an individual to carry out a project or activity.
Awarding IC The NIH IC responsible for the award, administration, and monitoring of grant supported activities.
Budget The financial plan for the project or program that the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity approves during the Federal award process or in subsequent amendments to the Federal award. It may include the Federal and non-Federal share or only the Federal share, as determined by the Federal awarding agency or pass through entity. The approved budget specified in the NoA may be shown in detailed budget categories or as total costs without a categorical breakout. Expenditures charged to an approved budget that consists of both Federal and non-Federal shares are deemed to be borne by the recipient in the same proportion as the percentage of Federal/non-Federal participation in the overall budget.
Budget period The intervals of time (usually 12 months each) into which a project period is divided for budgetary and funding purposes.
Capital assets Tangible or intangible assets used in operations having a useful life of more than one year which are capitalized in accordance with GAAP. Capital assets include: (1) Land, buildings (facilities), equipment, and intellectual property (including software) whether acquired by purchase, construction, manufacture, lease-purchase, exchange, or through capital leases; and (2) Additions, improvements, modifications, replacements, rearrangements, reinstallations, renovations or alterations to capital assets that materially increase their value or useful life (not ordinary repairs and maintenance).
Capital expenditures Expenditures to acquire capital assets or expenditures to make additions, improvements, modifications, replacements, rearrangements, reinstallations, renovations, or alterations to capital assets that materially increase their value or useful life. (See Administrative Requirements-Changes in Project and Budget-Prior Approval Requirements-Capital Expenditures).
Carryover Unobligated Federal funds remaining at the end of any budget period that, with the approval of the GMO or under an automatic authority, may be carried forward to another budget period to cover allowable costs of that budget period (whether as an offset or additional authorization). Obligated, but unliquidated, funds are not considered carryover.
Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number The number assigned to a Federal program in the CFDA.
CFDA program title The title of the program under which the Federal award was funded in the CFDA.
Change in scope An activity whereby the objectives or specific aims identified in the approved grant application are significantly changed by the recipient after award. GMO prior approval is required for a change in scope to be allowable under an award. See Administrative Requirements-Changes in Project and Budget-Prior Approval Requirements-Change of Scope for additional information.
Change of PD/PI A process, usually initiated by the recipient, whereby the federally approved PD/PI is replaced by another individual, with the approval of the GMO.
Change of recipient organization Transfer of the legal and administrative responsibility for a grant-supported project or activity from one legal entity to another before the completion date of the approved project period (competitive segment).
Chief Grants Management Officer The Grants Management Officer within an awarding agency who is the principal Grants Officer in the agency. The Chief Grants Management Officer provides leadership to an organizational component that is responsible for the business and fiscal management of an IC's grant portfolio. Generally, the CGMO will have the authority to appoint and exercise line authority over one or more GMOs. At NIH each awarding component has a CGMO.
Claim Depending on the context, either: (1) A written demand or written assertion by one of the parties to a Federal award seeking as a matter of right: (i) The payment of money in a sum certain; (ii) The adjustment or interpretation of the terms and conditions of the Federal award; or (iii) Other relief arising under or relating to a Federal award. (2) A request for payment that is not in dispute when submitted.
Clinical research

Research with human subjects that is:

1) Patient-oriented research. Research conducted with human subjects (or on material of human origin such as tissues, specimens, and cognitive phenomena) for which an investigator (or colleague) directly interacts with human subjects. Excluded from this definition are in vitro studies that utilize human tissues that cannot be linked to a living individual. It includes: (a) mechanisms of human disease, (b), therapeutic interventions, (c) clinical trials, or (d) development of new technologies.

2) Epidemiological and behavioral studies.

3) Outcomes research and health services research

Studies falling under 45 CFR 46.101(b) (4) (Exemption 4) are not considered clinical research by this definition.

Clinical trial

A research study in which one or more human subjects are prospectively assigned to one or more interventions (which may include placebo or other control) to evaluate the effects of those interventions on health-related biomedical or behavioral outcomes.

See Common Rule definition of research at 45 CFR 46.102(d)

See Common Rule definition of human subject at 45 CFR 46.102(f)

The term "prospectively assigned" refers to a pre-defined process (e.g., randomization) specified in an approved protocol that stipulates the assignment of research subjects (individually or in clusters) to one or more arms (e.g., intervention, placebo or other control) of the clinical trial.

An intervention is defined as a manipulation of the subject or subject's environment for the purpose of modifying one or more health-related processes and/or endpoints. Examples include, but are not limited, to: drugs/small molecules/compounds, biologics, devices; procedures (e.g., surgical techniques); delivery systems (e.g., telemedicine, face-to-face); strategies to change health-related behavior (e.g., diet, cognitive therapy, exercise, development of new habits); and, treatment, prevention, and diagnostic strategies.

A health-related biomedical or behavioral outcome is defined as the pre-specified effect of an intervention on the study subjects. Examples include positive or negative changes to physiological or biological parameters (e.g., improvement of lung capacity, gene expression); psychological or neurodevelopmental parameters (e.g., mood management intervention for smokers; reading comprehension and/or information retention); disease processes; health-related behavior; and, well-being or quality of life

Biomedical clinical trials of an experimental drug, treatment, device, or behavioral intervention may proceed through four phases:

Phase I. Tests a new biomedical intervention in a small group of people (e.g. 20-80) for the first time to determine efficacy and evaluate safety (e.g., determine a safe dosage range and identify side effects).

Phase II. Study the biomedical or behavioral intervention in a larger group of people (several hundred) to determine efficacy and further evaluate safety.

Phase III. Study to determine efficacy of the biomedical or behavioral intervention in large groups of people (from several hundred to several thousand) by comparing the intervention to other standard or experimental interventions as well as to monitor adverse effects, and to collect information that will allow the interventions to be used safely.

Phase IV. Studies conducted after the intervention has been marketed. These studies are designed to monitor the effectiveness of the approved intervention in the general population and to collect information about any adverse effects associated with widespread use.


The process by which the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity determines that all applicable administrative actions and all required work of the Federal award have been completed and takes actions as described in 45 CFR § 75.381.

Cluster of programs A grouping of closely related programs that share common compliance requirements. The types of clusters of programs are research and development (R&D), student financial aid (SFA), and other clusters. "Other clusters" are as defined by OMB in the compliance supplement or as designated by a state for Federal awards the state provides to its subrecipients that meet the definition of a cluster of programs. When designating an "other cluster," a state must identify the Federal awards included in the cluster and advise the subrecipients of compliance requirements applicable to the cluster, consistent with 45 CFR § 75.352(a). A cluster of programs must be considered as one program for determining major programs, as described in 45 CFR § 75.518, and, with the exception of R&D as described in 45 CFR § 75.501(c), whether a program-specific audit may be elected.
Code of Federal Regulations The codified regulations of the Federal government based on the final agency regulations published in the Federal Register.
Cognizant agency for audit The Federal agency designated to carry out the responsibilities described in 45 CFR § 75.513(a). The cognizant agency for audit is not necessarily the same as the cognizant agency for indirect costs. A list of cognizant agencies for audit may be found at the FAC Web site.
Cognizant agency for indirect costs The Federal agency responsible for reviewing, negotiating, and approving cost allocation plans or indirect cost proposals developed under this part on behalf of all Federal agencies. The cognizant agency for indirect cost is not necessarily the same as the cognizant agency for audit. For assignments of cognizant agencies see the following: (1) For IHEs: 45 CFR Pt 75, Appendix III, C.11. (2) For nonprofit organizations: 45 CFR Pt 75, Appendix IV, C.2. (3) For state and local governments: 45 CFR Pt 75, Appendix V, F.1. (4) For Indian tribes: 45 CFR Pt 75, Appendix VII, D.1.
Co-Investigator An individual involved with the PD/PI in the scientific development or execution of a project. The Co-Investigator (collaborator) may be employed by, or be affiliated with, the applicant/recipient organization or another organization participating in the project under a consortium agreement. A Co-Investigator typically devotes a specified percentage of time to the project and is considered senior/key personnel. The designation of a Co-Investigator, if applicable, does not affect the PD/PI's roles and responsibilities as specified in the NIHGPS, nor is it a role implying multiple PD/PI.
Commercial organization An organization, institution, corporation, or other legal entity, including, but not limited to, partnerships, sole proprietorships, and limited liability companies, that is organized or operated for the profit or benefit of its shareholders or other owners. The term includes small and large businesses and is used interchangeably with "for-profit organization."
Competitive revision A request for (or the award of) additional funds during a current project period to support new or additional activities which are not identified in the current award that reflect an expansion of the scope of the grant-approved activities. Competitive revisions require peer review.
Competitive segment The initial project period recommended for support (up to 5 years) or each extension of a project period resulting from a renewal award.
Compliance Supplement Appendix XI to 45 CFR 75 (previously known as the Circular A-133 Compliance Supplement).
Component For the purposes of applications and progress reports, a component is a distinct, reviewable part of a multi-project application or progress report for which there is a business need to gather detailed information identified in the funding opportunity announcement (FOA). Components typically include general information (component organization, project period, project title, etc.), performance sites, personnel, and budget. The FOA defines the construction and naming convention for the application; the funded application defines the construction and naming convention for the progress report. Components may also be referred to as "cores" or "projects." Note, for RPPR Question G.9, the term "foreign component" is distinct from "component" as defined here. However, a "foreign component" may also be a "component" in the RPPR. (See definition of foreign component for more information).
Computing devices Machines used to acquire, store, analyze, process, and publish data and other information electronically, including accessories (or ''peripherals'') for printing, transmitting and receiving, or storing electronic information. See also "supplies" and "information technology systems."
Conference (domestic or international) A symposium, seminar, workshop, or any other organized and formal meeting, whether conducted face-to-face or via the Internet, where individuals assemble (or meet virtually) to exchange information and views or explore or clarify a defined subject, problem, or area of knowledge, whether or not a published report results from such meeting.
Conference grant A grant whose purpose is to support activities related to the conduct of a conference(s) or defined set of conference-related activities.
Conflict of interest Conflict of Interest is a cross-cutting issue that affects many policy areas such as peer review, financial conflict of interest, and responsible conduct of research. There are different uses of this term throughout this document. It generally means that a competing personal interest could affect, or could appear to affect, an individual's judgment or could cause the individual's impartiality to be questioned. Conflicts of Interest (actual or potential) may arise in the objective review process or in other activities or phases of the financial assistance process. See also Financial Conflict of Interest for a specific definition covering that policy area.
Consortium agreement A formalized agreement whereby a research project is carried out by the recipient and one or more other organizations that are separate legal entities. Under the agreement, the recipient must perform a substantive role in the conduct of the planned research and not merely serve as a conduit of funds to another party or parties. These agreements typically involve a specific level of effort from the consortium organization's PD/PI and a categorical breakdown of costs, such as personnel, supplies, and other allowable expenses, including F&A costs. The relationship between the recipient and the collaborating organizations is considered a subaward relationship. (See Consortium Agreements chapter in IIB).
Construction Construction of new buildings or completion of shell space in existing buildings (including the installation of fixed equipment, but excluding the cost of land acquisition and off-site improvements). The construction of shell space is not allowable as a construction activity since shell space does not provide usable space for research activities. New construction, or activities that would change the "footprint" of an existing facility (e.g., relocation of existing exterior walls, roofs, or floors, attachment of fire escapes) is considered construction. See Construction chapter in IIB.
Consultant An individual who provides professional advice or services for a fee, but normally not as an employee of the engaging party. In unusual situations, an individual may be both a consultant and an employee of the same party, receiving compensation for some services as a consultant and for other work as a salaried employee. To prevent apparent or actual conflicts of interest, recipients and consultants must establish written guidelines indicating the conditions of payment of consulting fees. Consultants also include firms that provide professional advice or services. (See Cost Considerations-Allowability of Costs/Activities-Selected Items of Cost-Consultant Services).
Contact PD/PI When multiple PD/PIs are designated, NIH requires that the applicant organization identify one of the PD/PIs as the Contact PD/PI to serve as a primary point of contact. Serving as Contact PD/PI confers no special authorities or responsibilities within the project team. The Contact PD/PI must meet all eligibility requirements for PD/PI status. However, as with the single PD/PI model, if the Contact PD/PI is not an employee, the applicant organization must have a formal written agreement with the Contact PD/PI that specifies an official relationship between the parties. See Multiple PI chapter in IIB for additional information.
Contract A legal instrument by which a non-Federal entity purchases property or services needed to carry out the project or program under a Federal award. The term as used in 45 CFR 75 does not include a legal instrument, even if the non-Federal entity considers it a contract, when the substance of the transaction meets the definition of a Federal award or subaward. See Subaward.
Contractor An entity that receives a contract. See contract.
Cooperative agreement A legal instrument of financial assistance between a Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity and a non-Federal entity that, consistent with 31 U.S.C. 6302–6305: (1) Is used to enter into a relationship the principal purpose of which is to transfer anything of value from the Federal awarding agency or pass through entity to the non-Federal entity to carry out a public purpose authorized by a law of the United States (see 31 U.S.C. 6101(3)); and not to acquire property or services for the Federal government or pass-through entity's direct benefit or use; (2) Is distinguished from a grant in that it provides for substantial involvement between the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity and the non-Federal entity in carrying out the activity contemplated by the Federal award. (3) The term does not include: (i) development agreement as defined in 15 U.S.C. 3710a; or (ii) An agreement that provides only: (A) Direct United States Government cash assistance to an individual; (B) A subsidy; (C) A loan; (D) A loan guarantee; or (E) Insurance.
Cost allocation plan Central service cost allocation plan or public assistance cost allocation plan.
Cost objective A program, function, activity, award, organizational subdivision, contract, or work unit for which cost data are desired and for which provision is made to accumulate and measure the cost of processes, products, jobs, capital projects, etc. A cost objective may be a major function of the non-Federal entity, a particular service or project, a Federal award, or an indirect (Facilities & Administrative (F&A)) cost activity, as described in 45 CFR 75, Subpart E-Cost Principles.
Cost overrun Any amount charged in excess of the Federal share of costs for the project period (competitive segment).
Cost principles The government-wide principles, issued by OMB (or, in the case of commercial organizations, the Federal Acquisition Regulation [48 CFR 21], or, in the case of hospitals, 45 CFR 75, Appendix IX, "Principles For Determining Costs Applicable to Research and Development Under Grants and Contracts with Hospitals"), on allowability and unallowability of costs under federally sponsored agreements. See Cost Considerations-The Cost Principles for additional details.
Cost sharing See matching or cost sharing definition.
Cost sharing or matching alternative An alternative use of program income whereby income accrued during the period of grant support may be used to satisfy a cost sharing or matching requirement. (See also definitions for additive alternative and deductive alternative and Administrative Requirements-Management Systems and Procedures-Program Income).
Cost-type contract A contract or subcontract under a grant in which the contractor or subcontractor is paid on the basis of the allowable costs it incurs, with or without a fee.
Data and safety monitoring plan For each NIH-supported clinical trial, NIH requires a data and safety monitoring plan that will provide oversight and monitoring to ensure the safety of participants and the validity and integrity of the data. The level of monitoring should be commensurate with the risks and the size and complexity of the clinical trial. A detailed data and safety monitoring plan must be submitted to the applicant's IRB and subsequently to the awarding IC for approval prior to the accrual of human subjects.
Debarment and suspension The actions taken by a debarring official in accordance with OMB guidance at 2 CFR 180, "Non-procurement Debarment and Suspension," as implemented by HHS in 2 CFR 376, to exclude a person or organization from participating in grants and other non-procurement awards government-wide. If debarred or suspended, the person or organization may not receive financial assistance (under a grant, cooperative agreement, or subaward, or contract under a grant) for a specified period of time. Debarments and suspensions carried out pursuant to 2 CFR 376 are distinct from post-award suspension action by an awarding agency. (See also Public Policy Requirements and Objectives-Debarment and Suspension).
Debt collection The process of collecting funds owed by recipients to the Federal government, which, under grants, generally are owed as a result of formal cost disallowances.
Debt instrument A document used to record a legal obligation of one party to pay a financial obligation to another in accordance with predetermined terms and conditions.
Deductive alternative An alternative for the use of program income earned during the period of grant support under which allowable costs of the project or program to be paid by the Federal government are offset by the amount of the program income. (See also definitions for additive alternative and cost sharing or matching alternative and Administrative Requirements-Management Systems and Procedures-Program Income).
Departmental Grants Appeals Board The independent office established in the Office of the Secretary with delegated authority from the Secretary to review and decide certain disputes between recipients of HHS funds and HHS awarding agencies under 45 CFR Part 16 and to perform other review, adjudication and mediation services as assigned.
Deviation A departure on a single-case or class basis from a regulatory or policy requirement. A single-case deviation represents a request for waiver or exception sought for one grant only that arises on a case-by-case basis. A class deviation involves more than one grant for which the same type of deviation action is being requested.
Direct costs Costs that can be identified specifically with a particular sponsored project, an instructional activity, or any other institutional activity, or that can be directly assigned to such activities relatively easily with a high degree of accuracy.
Disallowed costs Those charges to a Federal award that the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity determines to be unallowable, in accordance with the applicable Federal statutes, regulations, or the terms and conditions of the Federal award.
Domestic organization A public (including a State or other governmental agency) or private non-profit or for-profit organization that is located in the United States or its territories, is subject to U.S. laws, and assumes legal and financial accountability for awarded funds and for the performance of the grant-supported activities.
Early Stage Investigator An individual who is classified as a New Investigator and is within 10 years of completing his/her terminal research degree or is within 10 years of completing medical residency (or the equivalent) is considered an Early Stage Investigator (ESI). See definition of New Investigator.
Entity Identification Number A three-part coding scheme of 12 characters used in PMS to identify organizations and individuals. The first character identifies the recipient as an organization or an individual. The next nine characters are the Employer Identification Number. The last two characters are a suffix to provide distinction between organizational entities that are assigned a single EIN and those that have more than one.
Equipment Tangible personal property (including information technology systems) having a useful life of more than one year and a per-unit acquisition cost which equals or exceeds the lesser of the capitalization level established by the non-Federal entity for financial statement purposes, or $5,000. (See also capital assets, computing devices, general purpose equipment, information technology systems, special purpose equipment, and supplies).
eRA Commons The Electronic Research Administration (eRA) Commons is a virtual meeting place where NIH extramural recipient organizations, recipients, and the public can receive and transmit information about the administration of biomedical and behavioral research. The eRA Commons is divided into both unrestricted and restricted portions that provide for public and confidential information, respectively.
Excluded Parties List System A public database maintained by the General Services Administration which is the official government-wide system of record for debarments, suspensions, and other exclusionary actions. (See also Public Policy Requirements and Objectives-Debarment and Suspension).
Expanded authorities Operating authorities provided in Federal Administrative Regulations (e.g., A-110) to recipients that waive the requirement for prior approval for specified actions. NIH extended expanded authorities to all NIH awards except for the provision to automatically carry over unobligated balances thus these authorities have become the NIH Standard Terms of Award. Therefore, the term Expanded Authorities is no longer used at NIH (see Administrative Requirements-Changes in Project and Budget-NIH Standard Terms of Award).
Expenditure report Means: (1) For non-construction grants, the SF-425 Federal Financial Report (FFR) (or other OMB-approved equivalent report); (2) for construction grants, the SF-271 "Outlay Report and Request for Reimbursement" (or other OMB-approved equivalent report)

Charges made by a non-Federal entity to a project or program for which a Federal award was received.

(1) The charges may be reported on a cash or accrual basis, as long as the methodology is disclosed and is consistently applied.

(2) For reports prepared on a cash basis, expenditures are the sum of:

(i) Cash disbursements for direct charges for property and services;

(ii) The amount of indirect expense charged;

(iii) The value of third-party in-kind contributions applied; and

(iv) The amount of cash advance payments and payments made to subrecipients.

(3) For reports prepared on an accrual basis, expenditures are the sum of:

(i) Cash disbursements for direct charges for property and services;

(ii) The amount of indirect expense incurred;

(iii) The value of third-party in-kind contributions applied; and

(iv) The net increase or decrease in the amounts owed by the non-Federal entity for:

(A) Goods and other property received;

(B) Services performed by employees, contractors, subrecipients, and other payees; and

(C) Programs for which no current services or performance are required such as annuities, insurance claims, or other benefit payments.

Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs (or indirect costs) Necessary costs incurred by a recipient 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. 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 benefitted cost objectives on bases that will produce an equitable result in consideration of relative benefits derived.
Federal agency An ''agency'' as defined at 5 U.S.C. 551(1) and further clarified by 5 U.S.C. 552(f).
Federal Audit Clearinghouse (FAC) The clearinghouse designated by OMB as the repository of record where non-Federal entities are required to transmit the reporting packages required by Subpart F-Audit Requirements of 45 CFR 75 Subpart F – Audit Requirements. The mailing address of the FAC is Federal Audit Clearinghouse, Bureau of the Census, 1201 E. 10th Street, Jeffersonville, IN 47132 and the web address is: Any future updates to the location of the FAC may be found at the OMB Web site.
Federal award

Depending on the context, in either paragraph (1) or (2) of this section:

(1)(i) The Federal financial assistance that a non-Federal entity receives directly from a Federal awarding agency or indirectly from a pass-through entity, as described in 45 CFR 75.101; or

(ii) The cost-reimbursement contract under the Federal Acquisition Regulations that a non-Federal entity receives directly from a Federal awarding agency or indirectly from a pass-through entity, as described in 45 CFR 75.101.

(2) The instrument setting forth the terms and conditions. The instrument is the grant agreement, cooperative agreement, other agreement for assistance covered in paragraph (2) of Federal financial assistance, or the cost-reimbursement contract awarded under the Federal Acquisition Regulations.

(3) Federal award does not include other contracts that a Federal agency uses to buy goods or services from a contractor or a contract to operate Federal government owned, contractor operated facilities (GOCOs).

(4) See also definitions of Federal financial assistance, grant agreement, and cooperative agreement.

Federal award date The date when the Federal award is signed by the authorized official of the Federal awarding agency.
Federal Award Identification Number A unique number assigned to a financial assistance award to assist recipients in correctly reporting subawards. The public can use the FAIN and the CFDA number together to find one accurate result when searching on line in such databases as and FSRS. The FAIN can be found on the notice of award. NIH implements the FAIN by deriving it from the core elements of the grant number. For example, the FAIN for 1R0lGM654321-01 would be R01GM654321.
Federal awarding agency The Federal agency that provides a Federal award directly to another entity. See also Awarding IC.
Federal Demonstration Partnership A cooperative initiative among some Federal agencies, including NIH, selected organizations receiving Federal funding for research, and certain professional associations. Its efforts include demonstration projects intended to simplify and standardize Federal requirements in order to increase research productivity and reduce administrative costs.
Federal financial assistance

(1) For grants and cooperative agreements, Federal financial assistance means assistance that non-Federal entities receive or administer in the form of:

(i) Grants;

(ii) Cooperative agreements;

(iii) Non-cash contributions or donations of property (including donated surplus property);

(iv) Direct appropriations;

(v) Food commodities; and

(vi) Other financial assistance (except assistance listed in paragraph (b) of this section).

(2) For Subpart F of 45 CFR 75, Federal financial assistance also includes assistance that non-Federal entities receive or administer in the form of:

(i) Loans;

(ii) Loan Guarantees;

(iii) Interest subsidies; and

(iv) Insurance.

(3) Federal financial assistance does not include amounts received as reimbursement for services rendered to individuals as described in 45 CFR 75.502(h) and (i).

Federal institution A Cabinet-level department or independent agency of the executive branch of the Federal government or any component organization of such a department or agency. For the purposes of this document, this term is used in the context of a Federal institution as a recipient. See also Awarding IC.
Federal interest For purposes 45 CFR 75.343 or when used in connection with the acquisition or improvement of real property, equipment, or supplies under a Federal award, the dollar amount that is the product of the: (1) Federal share of total project costs; and (2) Current fair market value of the property, improvements, or both, to the extent the costs of acquiring or improving the property were included as project costs.
Federal program

(1) All Federal awards which are assigned a single number in the CFDA.

(2) When no CFDA number is assigned, all Federal awards to non- Federal entities from the same agency made for the same purpose should be combined and considered one program.

(3) Notwithstanding paragraphs (1) and (2) of this definition, a cluster of programs.

The types of clusters of programs are:

(i) Research and development (R&D);

(ii) Student financial aid (SFA); and

(iii) ''Other clusters,'' as described in the definition of Cluster of Programs.

Federal share The portion of the total project costs that are paid by Federal funds.
Federalwide Assurance The Federalwide Assurance is the only type of new assurance of compliance accepted and approved by OHRP for institutions engaged in non-exempt human subjects research conducted or supported by HHS. Under a FWA, an institution commits to HHS that it will comply with the requirements set forth in 45 CFR 46, as well as the terms of assurance.
Fee An amount, in addition to actual, allowable costs, paid to an organization providing goods or services consistent with normal commercial practice. This payment also is referred to as profit. (See Grants to For-Profit Organizations-Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs-Allowable Costs and Fee-Profit or Fee).
Financial assistance Transfer by NIH of money or property to an eligible entity to support or stimulate a public purpose authorized by statute.
Financial conflict of interest A financial conflict of interest exists when the recipient's designated official(s) reasonably determines that an investigator's significant financial interest could directly and significantly affect the design, conduct, or reporting of the PHS-funded research. See 42 CFR 50, Subpart F, Responsibility of Applicants for Promoting Objectivity in Research for which PHS funding is sought and Public Policy Requirements and Objectives-Financial Conflict of Interest.
Foreign component The performance of any significant scientific element or segment of a project outside of the United States, either by the recipient or by a researcher employed by a foreign organization, whether or not grant funds are expended. Activities that would meet this definition include, but are not limited to, (1) the involvement of human subjects or animals, (2) extensive foreign travel by recipient project staff for the purpose of data collection, surveying, sampling, and similar activities, or (3) any activity of the recipient that may have an impact on U.S. foreign policy through involvement in the affairs or environment of a foreign country. Examples of other grant-related activities that may be significant are:
  • collaborations with investigators at a foreign site anticipated to result in co-authorship;

  • use of facilities or instrumentation at a foreign site; or

  • receipt of financial support or resources from a foreign entity.

Foreign travel for consultation is not considered a foreign component. (See Grants to Foreign Organizations, International Organizations, and Domestic Grants with Foreign Components chapter in IIB).

Foreign organization

An entity that is:

(1) A public or private organization located in a country other than the United States and its territories that is subject to the laws of the country in which it is located, irrespective of the citizenship of project staff or place of performance;

(2) A private nongovernmental organization located in a country other than the United States that solicits and receives cash contributions from the general public;

(3) A charitable organization located in a country other than the United States that is nonprofit and tax exempt under the laws of its country of domicile and operation, and is not a university, college, accredited degree granting institution of education, private foundation, hospital, organization engaged exclusively in research or scientific activities, church, synagogue, mosque or other similar entities organized primarily for religious purposes; or

(4) An organization located in a country other than the United States not recognized as a Foreign Public Entity.

Foreign public entity (1) A foreign government or foreign governmental entity; (2) A public international organization, which is an organization entitled to enjoy privileges, exemptions, and immunities as an international organization under the International Organizations Immunities Act (22 U.S.C. 288–288f); (3) An entity owned (in whole or in part) or controlled by a foreign government; or (4) Any other entity consisting wholly or partially of one or more foreign governments or foreign governmental entities.
For-profit organization An organization, institution, corporation, or other legal entity that is organized or operated for the profit or financial benefit of its shareholders or other owners. A for-profit organization is considered to be a small business if it is independently owned and operated, if it is not dominant in the field in which research is proposed, and if it employs no more than 500 persons. (Also see definition for small business concern).
Full-time appointment The number of days per week and/or months per year representing full-time effort at the applicant/recipient organization, as specified in organizational policy. The organization's policy must be applied consistently regardless of the source of support.
Funding opportunity announcement A publicly available document by which a Federal 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. Funding opportunity announcements can be found at and in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts.
General purpose equipment Equipment which is not limited to research, medical, scientific or other technical activities. Examples include office equipment and furnishings, modular offices, telephone networks, information technology equipment and systems, air conditioning equipment, reproduction and printing equipment, and motor vehicles. See also "Equipment" and "Special Purpose Equipment."
Generally Acceptable Accounting Principles (GAAP) The meaning specified in accounting standards issued by the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) and the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB).
Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS) Also known as the Yellow Book, generally accepted government auditing standards issued by the Comptroller General of the United States, which are applicable to financial audits.
Grant number

A grant number is a unique identifier for a grant composed of the application type code, activity code, Institute code, 6-digit serial number, support year and /or suffix code for the support year of the grant, or other information, such as a supplement (S1), resubmission (A1), or a fellowship's institutional allowance. In Federalwide systems (e.g.,, FFATA/FSRS) the Federal Award Identifier Number (FAIN) is used to identify grants for Federalwide implications. Similar to the NIH Grant Number, the FAIN consists of the activity code, Institute code, and 6-digit serial number.

Sample Grant Number: 1 R01 AI 123456-01 A1 S1


Sample FAIN: R01 AI 654321

Grant or grant agreement

A legal instrument of financial assistance between a Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity and a non-Federal entity that, consistent with 31 U.S.C. 6302, 6304:

(1) Is used to enter into a relationship the principal purpose of which is to transfer anything of value from the Federal awarding agency or passthrough entity to the non-Federal entity to carry out a public purpose authorized by a law of the United States (see 31 U.S.C. 6101(3)); and not to acquire property or services for the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity's direct benefit or use;

(2) Is distinguished from a cooperative agreement in that it does not provide for substantial involvement between the Federal awarding agency or passthrough entity and the non-Federal entity in carrying out the activity contemplated by the Federal award.

(3) Does not include an agreement that provides only:

(i) Direct United States Government cash assistance to an individual;

(ii) A subsidy;

(iii) A loan;

(iv) A loan guarantee; or

(v) Insurance.

See also Cooperative Agreement.

Grantee See Recipient.
Grants Management Officer 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. GMOs are delegated the authority from the CGMO to obligate NIH to the expenditure of funds and permit changes to approved projects on behalf of NIH. Each NIH IC that awards grants has one or more GMOs with responsibility for particular programs or awards. See also Chief Grants Management Officer definition.
Grants Management Specialist An NIH staff member who oversees the business and other non-programmatic aspects of one or more grants and/or cooperative agreements. These activities include, but are not limited to, evaluating grant applications for administrative content and compliance with statutes, regulations, and guidelines; negotiating grants; providing consultation and technical assistance to recipients; and administering grants after award. ( has been designated by the Office of Management and Budget as the single access point for all grant programs offered by 26 Federal grant-making agencies. It provides a single interface for agencies to announce their grant opportunities and for all applicants to find and apply for those opportunities.
Grant-supported project or activity Those activities specified or described in a grant application or in a subsequent submission that are approved by an NIH IC for funding, regardless of whether Federal funding constitutes all or only a portion of the financial support necessary to carry them out.
Hospital A facility licensed as a hospital under the law of any state or a facility operated as a hospital by the United States, a state, or a subdivision of a state. Also includes a non-profit or for-profit hospital or a medical care provider component of a non-profit organization (for example, a foundation).
Human subject A living individual about whom an investigator (whether professional or student) conducting research obtains data through intervention or interaction with the individual or obtains identifiable private information. Regulations governing the use of human subjects in research extend to use of human organs, tissues, and body fluids from identifiable individuals as human subjects and to graphic, written, or recorded information derived from such individuals. (See Public Policy Requirements and Objectives-Human Subjects Protections).
Impact score The impact score is the rating which is assigned to an individual application by an SRG, and designates the reviewers' assessment of the likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the research field(s) involved, in consideration of established review criteria. The impact score is one mechanism by which the SRG makes a recommendation to the funding component concerning the application's scientific and technical merit. Impact scores may be numeric (10 – 90) or alphabetical (ND, for example).
Improper payment

(1) Any payment that should not have been made or that was made in an incorrect amount (including overpayments and underpayments) under statutory, contractual, administrative, or other legally applicable requirements; and

(2) Includes any payment to an ineligible party, any payment for an ineligible good or service, any duplicate payment, any payment for a good or service not received (except for such payments where authorized by law), any payment that does not account for credit for applicable discounts, and any payment where insufficient or lack of documentation prevents a reviewer from discerning whether a payment was proper.

Indian tribe (or "federally recognized Indian tribe") Any Indian tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community, including any Alaska Native village or regional or village corporation as defined in or established pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. Chapter 33), which is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians (25 U.S.C. 450b(e)). See annually published Bureau of Indian Affairs list of Indian Entities Recognized and Eligible to Receive Services.
Indirect costs See facilities and administrative costs definition.
Information technology systems Computing devices, ancillary equipment, software, firmware, and similar procedures, services (including support services), and related resources. See also computing devices and equipment.
Innovation Something new or improved, including research for (1) development of new technologies, (2) refinement of existing technologies, or (3) development of new applications for existing technologies. For the purposes of PHS programs, an example of innovation would be new medical or biological products for improved value, efficiency, or costs.
Institute or Center The NIH organizational component responsible for a particular grant program or set of activities. The terms "NIH IC," or "awarding IC" are used throughout this document to designate a point of contact for advice and interpretation of grant requirements and to establish the focal point for requesting necessary prior approvals or changes in the terms and conditions of award.
Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee The PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals incorporates the U.S. Government Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals used in Testing, Research, and Training, and requires the recipient to maintain an animal care and use program based on the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. An Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) appointed by the Chief Executive Officer or designee, is federally mandated to oversee the institution's animal program, facilities, and procedures (Public Law 99-158, Sec. 495). IACUC review and approval is required for all PHS supported activities involving live vertebrate animals prior to funding.
Institutional base salary The annual compensation paid by an organization for an employee's appointment, whether that individual's time is spent on research, teaching, patient care, or other activities. Base salary excludes any income that an individual may be permitted to earn outside of duties for the applicant/recipient organization. Base salary may not be increased as a result of replacing organizational salary funds with NIH grant funds. (See Cost Considerations-Allowability of Costs/Activities-Selected Items of Cost-Salaries and Wages).
Institutional Review Board (IRB) An administrative body established to protect the rights and welfare of human research subjects recruited to participate in research activities conducted under the auspices of the organization with which it is affiliated. The Institutional Review Board has the authority to approve, require modifications in, or disapprove all research activities that fall within its jurisdiction.
Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) IHE is defined at 20 U.S.C. 1001.
Intangible property Property having no physical existence, such as trademarks, copyrights, patents and patent applications and property, such as loans, notes and other debt instruments, lease agreements, stock and other instruments of property ownership (whether the property is tangible or intangible).
Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) The Intergovernmental Personnel Act Mobility Program provides for the temporary assignment of personnel between the Federal Government and state and local governments, colleges and universities, Indian tribe (or "federally recognized Indian tribe" governments, federally funded research and development centers, and other eligible organizations. The goal of the Intergovernmental Personnel Act mobility program is to facilitate the movement of employees, for short periods of time, when this movement serves a sound public purpose.
Internal control over compliance requirements for Federal awards

A process implemented by a non-Federal entity designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the achievement of the following objectives for Federal award:

(1) Transactions are properly recorded and accounted for, in order to:

(i) Permit the preparation of reliable financial statements and Federal reports;

(ii) Maintain accountability over assets; and

(iii) Demonstrate compliance with Federal statutes, regulations, and the terms and conditions of the Federal award;

(2) Transactions are executed in compliance with:

(i) Federal statutes, regulations, and the terms and conditions of the Federal award that could have a direct and material effect on a Federal program; and

(ii) Any other Federal statutes and regulations that are identified in the Compliance Supplement; and

(3) Funds, property, and other assets are safeguarded against loss from unauthorized use or disposition.

Internal controls A process, implemented by a non-Federal entity, designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the achievement of objectives in the following categories: (1) Effectiveness and efficiency of operations; (2) Reliability of reporting for internal and external use; and (3) Compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
International organization An organization that identifies itself as international or intergovernmental and has membership from, and represents the interests of, more than one country, without regard to whether the headquarters of the organization and location of the activity are inside or outside of the United States.
Invention reporting The requirement pursuant to 37 CFR 401 that recipients of contracts, grants or cooperative agreements fully disclose any subject inventions made during the performance of work under a funding agreement in order to protect the Federal government's rights.
Investigational new drug A new drug or biological drug that is used in a clinical investigation.
Investigator-initiated research Research funded as a result of an investigator, on his or her own, submitting a research application. Also known as unsolicited research. Unsolicited applications are reviewed by chartered CSR review committees.
IPF number Institutional Profile File (IPF) number is a unique number used by NIH for tracking/reporting awards to recipient institutions.
Just-in-Time NIH policy allows the submission of certain elements of a competing application to be deferred until later in the application process, after review when the application is under consideration for funding. Within the Status module of the eRA Commons, users will find a feature to submit Just-In-Time information when requested by the NIH. Through this module, institutions can electronically submit the information that is requested after the review, but before award. See Completing the Pre-Award Process-Just-In-Time Procedures for additional information.
Liquidated damages An amount defined in a contract and chargeable against funds due to the contractor for each day the contractor fails to complete the project beyond the contract completion date.
Local government Any unit of government within a state, including a: (1) County; (2) Borough; (3) Municipality; (4) City; (5) Town; (6) Township; (7) Parish; (8) Local public authority, including any public housing agency under the United States Housing Act of 1937; (9) Special district; (10) School district; (11) Intrastate district; (12) Council of governments, whether or not incorporated as a nonprofit corporation under state law; and (13) Any other agency or instrumentality of a multi-, regional, or intra-state or local government.
Major A&R An A&R project under a grant whose primary purpose is other than construction or modernization, including a project involving modernization, improvement or remodeling, exceeding $500,000 in direct costs awarded for the project. Major A&R may include improvement, conversion, rearrangement, rehabilitation or remodeling. Major A&R does not apply to minor alterations, renovations or repairs funded under a research project grant or alterations or renovations funded under an NIH center grant. Major A&R is an unallowable activity or cost under foreign grants and foreign components in domestic grants.
Matching or cost sharing The portion of project costs not paid by Federal funds (unless otherwise authorized by Federal statute). This may include the value of allowable third party in-kind contributions, as well as expenditures by the recipient.
Mechanism Extramural awards are divided into three types of financial assistance: grants, cooperative agreements and contracts. A mechanism is the type of funded application or transaction used at the NIH. Within each mechanism NIH includes programs. Programs can be further refined by specific activity codes.
Merger A legal action resulting in the unification of two or more legal entities. When such an action involves the transfer of NIH grants, the procedures for the recognizing a successor-in-interest will apply. When the action does not involve the transfer of NIH grants, the procedures for recognizing a name change will apply.
Micro-purchase A purchase of supplies or services using simplified acquisition procedures, the aggregate amount of which does not exceed the micro-purchase threshold. Micro-purchase procedures comprise a subset of a non-Federal entity's small purchase procedures. The non-Federal entity uses such procedures in order to expedite the completion of its lowest-dollar small purchase transactions and minimize the associated administrative burden and cost. The micro-purchase threshold is set by the Federal Acquisition Regulation at 48 CFR Subpart 2.1 (Definitions). It is $3,000 except as otherwise discussed in Subpart 2.1 of that regulation, but this threshold is periodically adjusted for inflation.
Minor A&R An A&R project under a grant whose primary purpose is other than construction or modernization, including a project involving improvement or remodeling, which does not exceed $500,000 in direct costs. Minor A&R is not an allowable activity or cost under grants to individuals or grants for limited purposes, such as grants in support of scientific meetings (conference grants). Routine maintenance and repair of the organization's physical plant or its equipment is not considered A&R; these types of costs are typically treated as F&A costs.
Modernization Alteration, renovation, remodeling, improvement, and/or repair of an existing building and the provision of equipment necessary to make the building suitable for use for the purposes of a particular program. The entire purpose of the modernization grant is to modernize biomedical research facilities. A modernization grant cannot support the conduct of any research.
Modified Total Direct Cost (MTDC) All direct salaries and wages, applicable fringe benefits, materials and supplies, services, travel, and subawards up to the first $25,000 of each subaward (regardless of the period of performance of the subawards under the award). MTDC excludes equipment, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, rental costs, tuition remission, scholarships and fellowships, participant support costs and the portion of each subaward in excess of $25,000. Other items may only be excluded when necessary to avoid a serious inequity in the distribution of indirect costs, and with the approval of the cognizant agency for indirect costs.
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 of the application, award, and post-award administration.
Monitoring A process whereby the programmatic and business management performance aspects of a grant are assessed by reviewing information gathered from various required reports, audits, site visits, and other sources.
Name change An action whereby the name of an organization is changed without otherwise affecting the rights and obligations of that organization as a recipient.
New Investigator

A PD/PI who has not previously competed successfully as a PD/PI for a substantial independent research award is considered a New Investigator. For example, a PD/PI who has previously received a competing NIH R01 research grant is no longer considered a New Investigator. However, a PD/PI who has received a Small Grant (R03) or an Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Award (R21) retains his or her status as a New Investigator. A complete list of NIH grants that do not disqualify a PD/PI from being considered a New Investigator can be found at

See also the definition of Early Stage Investigator.

No-cost extension An extension of time to a project period and/or budget period to complete the work of the grant under that period, without additional Federal funds or competition. See NIH Standard Terms of Award and Prior Approval Requirements.
Non-competing continuation application/award A financial assistance request (in the form of an application or progress report) or resulting award for a subsequent budget period within a previously approved project period for which a recipient does not have to compete with other applicants.
Non-Federal entity A state, local government, Indian tribe, institution of higher education (IHE), or nonprofit organization that carries out a Federal award as a recipient or subrecipient.
Non-Federal share When cost sharing or matching is required as a condition of an award, the portion of allowable project/program costs not borne by the Federal government.
Non-profit organization Any corporation, trust, association, cooperative, or other organization, not including IHEs, that: (1) Is operated primarily for scientific, educational, service, charitable, or similar purposes in the public interest; (2) Is not organized primarily for profit; and (3) Uses net proceeds to maintain, improve, or expand the operations of the organization.
Notice of Award The official, legally binding document, signed (or the electronic equivalent of signature) by a Grants Management Officer that:

(1) notifies the recipient of the award of a grant;

(2) contains or references all the terms and conditions of the grant and Federal funding limits and obligations; and,

(3) provides the documentary basis for recording the obligation of Federal funds in the NIH accounting system.

Obligations When used in connection with a non- Federal entity's utilization of funds under a Federal award, obligations means orders placed for property and services, contracts and subawards made, and similar transactions during a given period that require payment by the non- Federal entity during the same or a future period.
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) The Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget.
OMB Circulars

Government-wide guidance issued to Heads of Federal agencies by the Director of OMB. OMB Circulars directly pertinent to grants include the following:

  • cost principles (OMB Circular A-21, OMB Circular A-87, and OMB Circular A-122). See Cost Considerations-The Cost Principles for additional information;

  • uniform administrative requirements (OMB Circular A-102 and OMB Circular A-110);

  • audit requirements for non-profit organizations (OMB Circular A-133). See Monitoring-Audit for additional information.

These Circulars were superseded by OMB's Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards ("Uniform Guidance") and were implemented in HHS regulation at 45 CFR Part 75.

Organization A generic term used to refer to an Institution of Higher Education or other entity, including an individual, which applies for or receives an NIH grant or cooperative agreement.
Other Significant Contributors Individuals who have committed to contribute to the scientific development or execution of the project, but are not committing any specified measurable effort (i.e., person months) to the project. These individuals are typically presented at "effort of zero person months" or "as needed." Individuals with measurable effort may not be listed as Other Significant Contributors (OSCs). Consultants should be included if they meet this definition.
Other support Includes all financial resources, whether Federal, non-Federal, commercial or organizational, available in direct support of an individual's research endeavors, including, but not limited to, research grants, cooperative agreements, contracts, or organizational awards. Other support does not include training awards, prizes, or gifts.
Oversight agency for audit The Federal awarding agency that provides the predominant amount of funding directly to a non-Federal entity not assigned a cognizant agency for audit. When there is no direct funding, the Federal awarding agency which is the predominant source of pass-through funding must assume the oversight responsibilities. The duties of the oversight agency for audit and the process for any reassignments are described in 45 CFR 75.513(b).
Parent announcement NIH-wide FOA enabling applicants to electronically submit an investigator-initiated grant application for a specific activity code, e.g., Research Project Grant (Parent R01).
Participant support costs Direct costs for items such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not employees) in connection with conferences, or training projects. For the purposes of Kirschstein-NRSA programs, this term does not apply. NIH will continue to use the terms trainees, trainee-related expenses, and trainee travel in accordance with NRSA Regulations.
Pass-through entity A non- Federal entity that provides a subaward to a subrecipient to carry out part of a Federal program.
Payback Requirement that the recipient of a NRSA postdoctoral fellowship engage in qualified research or teaching activities for a length of time equal to the period of NRSA support received. Only the first year of training incurs a payback obligation. In general, payback activity must involve at least 20 hours per week and be conducted over 12 consecutive months; special exceptions may be considered on a case-by-case basis. See Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards-Payback for additional information.
Payment Management System The HHS centralized grants payment system operated by the Payment Management Service, Program Support Center. Most HHS (and some other Federal government agencies') recipients receive grant payments through this system.
Peer review The process that involves the consistent application of standards and procedures that produce fair, equitable, and objective examinations of applications based on an evaluation of scientific or technical merit or other relevant aspects of the application. The review is performed by experts (Peer Reviewers) in the field of endeavor for which support is requested. Peer review is intended to provide guidance and recommendations to the NIH individuals responsible for making award decisions.
Period of performance The time during which the non-Federal entity may incur new obligations to carry out the work authorized under the Federal award. The Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity must include start and end dates of the period of performance in the Federal award.
Person months The metric for expressing the effort (amount of time) PD/PI(s), faculty and other senior/key personnel devote to a specific project. The effort is based on the type of appointment of the individual with the organization; e.g., calendar year, academic year, and/or summer term; and the organization's definition of such. For instance, some institutions define the academic year as a 9-month appointment while others define it as a 10-month appointment.
Personal property Property of any kind except real property. It may be tangible, having physical existence, or intangible, such as copyrights, patents, or securities.
Personally Identifiable Information (PII) Information that can be used to distinguish or trace an individual's identity, either alone or when combined with other personal or identifying information that is linked or linkable to a specific individual. Some information that is considered to be PII is available in public sources such as telephone books, public Web sites, and university listings. This type of information is considered to be Public PII and includes, for example, first and last name, address, work telephone number, email address, home telephone number, and general educational credentials. The definition of PII is not anchored to any single category of information or technology. Rather, it requires a case-by-case assessment of the specific risk that an individual can be identified. Non-PII can become PII whenever additional information is made publicly available, in any medium and from any source, that, when combined with other available information, could be used to identify an individual.
Phase III clinical trial As defined by NIH, a broadly based prospective Phase III clinical investigation (usually involving several hundred or more human subjects) to evaluate an experimental intervention in comparison with a standard or control intervention or to compare two or more existing treatments. The definition includes pharmacologic, non-pharmacologic, and behavioral interventions given for disease prevention, prophylaxis, diagnosis, or therapy. Community trials and other population-based intervention trials also are included. (See also clinical trial definition).
Pre-award costs Any cost incurred prior to the beginning date of the project period or the initial budget period of a competitive segment (under a multi-year award), in anticipation of the award and at the applicant's own risk, for otherwise allowable costs.
Prior approval Written approval by an authorized HHS official, e.g., a designated IC GMO, evidencing prior consent before a recipient undertakes certain activities or incurs specific costs (see Administrative Requirements-Changes in Project and Budget-Prior Approval Requirements).
Profit See definition for fee.
Program A coherent assembly of plans, project activities, and supporting resources contained within an administrative framework, the purpose of which is to implement an organization's mission or some specific program-related aspect of that mission. For the NIHGPS, "program" refers to those NIH programs that carry out their missions through the award of grants or cooperative agreements to other organizations.
Program Director/Principal Investigator The individual(s) designated by the applicant organization/recipient to have the appropriate level of authority and responsibility to direct the project or program to be supported by the award. The applicant organization may designate multiple individuals as program directors/principal investigators (PD/PIs) who share the authority and responsibility for leading and directing the project, intellectually and logistically. When multiple PD/PIs are named, each is responsible and accountable to the official(s) at the applicant organization/recipient, or as appropriate, to a collaborating organization for the proper conduct of the project, program, or activity including the submission of all required reports. The presence of more than one PD/PI on an application or award diminishes neither the responsibility nor the accountability of any individual PD/PI.
Program income Gross income earned by the non-Federal entity that is directly generated by a supported activity or earned as a result of the Federal award during the period of performance except as provided in 45 CFR 75.307(f). (See Period of performance.) Program income includes but is not limited to income from fees for services performed, the use or rental or real or personal property acquired under Federal awards, the sale of commodities or items fabricated under a Federal award, license fees and royalties on patents and copyrights, and principal and interest on loans made with Federal award funds. Interest earned on advances of Federal funds is not program income. Except as otherwise provided in Federal statutes, regulations, or the terms and conditions of the Federal award, program income does not include rebates, credits, discounts, and interest earned on any of them. See also 45 CFR 75.307, 45 CFR 75.407 and 35 USC §§ 200-212 (applies to inventions made under Federal awards). (See Administrative Requirements-Management Systems and Procedures-Program Income).
Program Official/Program Officer/Project Officer The NIH official responsible for the programmatic, scientific, and/or technical aspects of a grant.
Progress report Periodic, usually annual, report submitted by the recipient and used by NIH to assess progress and, except for the final progress report of a project period, to determine whether to provide funding for the budget period subsequent to that covered by the report. This report may also be called the non-competing continuation progress report.
Project period The total time for which Federal support of a project has been programmatically approved as shown in the NoA; however, it does not constitute a commitment by the Federal government to fund the entire period. The total project period comprises the initial competitive segment, any subsequent competitive segments resulting from a renewal award(s), and extensions.
Project/performance site Location(s) of where the work described in the research plan will be conducted.
Property Real property or personal property.
Protected Personally Identifiable Information (Protected PII) An individual's first name or first initial and last name in combination with any one or more of types of information, including, but not limited to, social security number, passport number, credit card numbers, clearances, bank numbers, biometrics, date and place of birth, mother's maiden name, criminal, medical and financial records, educational transcripts. This does not include PII that is required by law to be disclosed. (See also Personally Identifiable Information (PII)).
Questioned cost

A cost that is questioned by the auditor because of an audit finding:

(1) Which resulted from a violation or possible violation of a statute, regulation, or the terms and conditions of a Federal award, including for funds used to match Federal funds;

(2) Where the costs, at the time of the audit, are not supported by adequate documentation; or

(3) Where the costs incurred appear unreasonable and do not reflect the actions a prudent person would take in the circumstances.

Real property Land, including land improvements, structures and appurtenances thereto, but excludes moveable machinery and equipment.
Recipient An entity, usually but not limited to non-Federal entities, that receives a Federal award directly from a Federal awarding agency to carry out an activity under a Federal program. The term may also include an Individual. The term recipient does not include subrecipients, except as indicated below. See also Non-Federal entity.
Renewal application An application requesting additional funding for a period subsequent to that provided by a current award. Renewal applications compete for funds with all other peer reviewed applications, and must be developed as fully as though the applicant is applying for the first time. The previous NIH term was "competing continuation."
Research & Development (R&D) All research activities, both basic and applied, and all development activities that are performed by HHS award recipients. The term 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 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.
Research Administrator The Research Administrator acts as a local agent of the AOR and/or PD/PIs providing day-to-day grant-related support. See also Roles and Responsibilities-Recipient Staff.
Research misconduct

Fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results.

  1. Fabrication is making up data or results and recording or reporting them.

  2. Falsification is manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that research is not accurately represented in the research record.

  3. Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.

  4. Research misconduct does not include honest error or honest differences of opinion.

Research patient care costs Costs of routine and ancillary services provided by hospitals to participants in research protocols.
Responsible party Responsible party is the term used in Title VIII of the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act (FDAAA) of 2007 (P.L. 110-85) to refer to the entity or individual who is responsible under FDAAA for registering a clinical trial and submitting clinical trial information to
Resubmission application An application that has been previously submitted, but was not funded, and is being resubmitted for new consideration. Applicants must make significant changes to the application and can only resubmit once the summary statement is available. Applicants must apply and undergo peer review. Additional policies on resubmissions can be found in the applicable Application Instruction Guide. The previous NIH term was "revision." A resubmission has a suffix in its application identification number, e.g., A1.
Revision application As defined in the Federalwide SF424 (R&R): An application that proposes a change in 1) the Federal Government's financial obligations or contingent liability from an existing obligation, or 2) any other change in the terms and conditions of the existing award. Note in general for NIH applicants, #2 would not require the submission of another application. NIH recipients use revision applications to request an increase in support in a current budget period for expansion of the project's approved scope or research protocol. Applicants must apply and undergo peer review. The previous NIH term was "competing supplemental." NOTE: The former NIH term "revision," is now "resubmission". A revision has a suffix in its application identification number; e.g., S1.
Scientific Review Group (SRG) A peer review committee group of primarily non-government experts (peer reviewers), qualified by training or experience in particular scientific or technical fields, or as authorities knowledgeable in the various disciplines and fields related to the applications under review, to evaluate and give expert advice on the scientific and technical merit of the applications. No more than one-fourth of the members of any SRG may be Federal employees, as noted in 42 CFR 52(h).
Scientific Review Officer (SRO) The NIH official who serves as the designated Federal official having legal responsibility for managing the peer review meeting, the procedures for evaluating the applications assigned to the SRG and the determinations and management of conflicts of interest, as noted in 42 CFR 52(h).
Scope of work The aims, objectives, and purposes of a grant; as well as the methodology, approach, analyses or other activities; and the tools, technologies, and timeframes needed to meet the grant's objectives. This includes the research or training plan included with the original grant application, along with any approved modifications.
Senior/Key Personnel The PD/PI and other individuals who contribute to the scientific development or execution of a project in a substantive, measurable way, whether or not they receive salaries or compensation under the grant. Typically these individuals have doctoral or other professional degrees, although individuals at the masters or baccalaureate level may be considered senior/key personnel if their involvement meets this definition. Consultants and those with a postdoctoral role also may be considered senior/key personnel if they meet this definition. Senior/key personnel must devote measurable effort to the project whether or not salaries or compensation are requested. "Zero percent" effort or "as needed" are not acceptable levels of involvement for those designated as Senior/Key Personnel.
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.
Simplified acquisition threshold The dollar amount below which a non-Federal entity may purchase property or services using small purchase methods. Non-Federal entities adopt small purchase procedures in order to expedite the purchase of items costing less than the simplified acquisition threshold. The simplified acquisition threshold is set by the Federal Acquisition Regulation at 48 CFR Subpart 2.1 and in accordance with 41 USC § 1908. (See also Micro-purchase.)
Small business concern A business that is independently owned and operated and not dominant in its field of operation; has its principal place of business in the United States and is organized for profit; is at least 51 percent owned, or in the case of a publicly owned business, at least 51 percent of its voting stock is owned by U.S. citizens or lawfully admitted permanent resident aliens; has, including its affiliates, not more than 500 employees; and meets other regulatory requirements established by the SBA at 13 CFR 121.
Special purpose equipment Equipment which is used only for research, medical, scientific, or other technical activities. Examples of special purpose equipment include microscopes, x-ray machines, surgical instruments, and spectrometers. See also Equipment and General purpose equipment.
State Any state of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and any agency or instrumentality thereof exclusive of local governments.
State government The government of any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, any U.S. territory or possession, or any agency or instrumentality of a State exclusive of local governments. For purposes of NIH grants, federally recognized Indian tribal governments generally are considered State governments. State institutions of higher education and State hospitals are not considered State governments for HHS's general administrative requirements for grants and the NIHGPS.
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.
Subaward 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.
Subrecipient A non-Federal entity that receives a subaward from a pass-through entity to carry out part of a Federal program; but does not include an individual that is a beneficiary of such program. A subrecipient may also be a recipient of other Federal awards directly from a Federal awarding agency. The term includes consortium participants.
Successor-in-interest Process whereby the rights to and obligations under an NIH grant(s) are acquired incidental to the transfer of all of the assets of the recipient or the transfer of that part of the assets involved in the performance of the grant(s). A SII may result from legislative or other legal action, such as a merger or other corporate change.
Supplies All tangible personal property other than those described in Equipment. A computing device is a supply if the acquisition cost is less than the lesser of the capitalization level established by the non-Federal entity for financial statement purposes or $5,000, regardless of the length of its useful life. See Computing devices and Equipment.
Suspension of award activities An action by the NIH awarding IC requiring the recipient to cease all activities on the award pending corrective action by the recipient. It is a separate action from suspension under HHS regulations (2 CFR 376) implementing Executive Orders 12549 and 12689. (See Public Policy Requirements and Objectives-Debarment and Suspension and Administrative Requirements-Enforcement Actions).
Termination The ending of a Federal award, in whole or in part at any time prior to the planned end of period of performance.
Terms and conditions of award All legal requirements imposed on a grant by NIH, whether based on statute, regulation, policy, or other document referenced in the grant award, or specified by the grant award document itself. The NoA 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.
Third-party in-kind contributions The value of non-cash contributions (i.e., property or services) that: (1) Benefit a federally assisted project or program; and (2) Are contributed by non-Federal third parties, without charge, to a non- Federal entity under a Federal award.
Total costs The total allowable costs (both direct costs and F&A costs) incurred by the recipient to carry out a grant-supported project or activity. Total project costs include costs charged to the NIH grant and costs borne by the recipient to satisfy a matching or cost-sharing requirement.
United States The 50 States, territories, and possessions of the United States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, and the District of Columbia.
Unliquidated obligations

For financial reports prepared on a cash basis, obligations incurred by the non- Federal entity that have not been paid (liquidated). For reports prepared on an accrual expenditure basis, these are obligations incurred by the non-Federal entity for which an expenditure has not been recorded.

Unobligated balance The amount of funds authorized under a Federal award that the non-Federal entity has not obligated. The amount is computed by subtracting the cumulative amount of the non-Federal entity's unliquidated obligations and expenditures of funds under the Federal award from the cumulative amount of the funds that the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity authorized the non-Federal entity to obligate.
Withholding of support A decision by NIH not to make a non-competing continuation award within the current competitive segment.