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Glossary of Terms



Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR)

Person(s) authorized to submit a grant application to on behalf of a company, organization, institution, or government. AORs have the authority to sign grant applications and the required certifications and/or assurances that are necessary to fulfill the requirements of the application process. An AOR is the equivalent of a Signing Official in Commons. The AOR may be the same person as the E-Business POC.

Capital Assets

Capital assets means tangible or intangible assets used in operations having a useful life of more than one year which are capitalized in accordance with GAAP (2 CFR §200.12).

Capital Expenditures

Capital expenditures means 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 (2 CFR §200.13).

Computing Devices

Computing devices means 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 (2 CFR §200.20).


A person or entity that provides advice or services and may participate significantly in the work. a Consultant is usually a self-employed independent person who has a special field of expertise or skill. The consultant provides professional or expert opinion, advice or services regarding information or materials in his or her field of knowledge or training to assist others in making decisions or in performing tasks. Consultants do not receive a salary from your grant but may receive a fee. Consultants fall under the category of professional services.


A person or entity that receives a contract for purchase of services needed to carry out the project or program under an awarded sponsored project. This does not include subrecipients, even if it is considered a contract by the entity. a contractor is an independent person or entity that agrees (contracts) to do work for OHIO usually for a fixed price. It is usually an 'arm’s length' transaction. OHIO defines the desired results and the schedule. The contractor may supply labor only or labor and supplies. The contractor generally retains control over the work to be done including the means and methods used to do the job, the scheduling of the underlying work, who performs the work and determines how the work will get done within the standards and time requirements set. A contractor will generally use his own tools and work equipment and may employ others to do the work for them. A contractor can be a professional services or supplier, depending on the relationship.

Co-Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator (Co-PI/Co-I)

 Key personnel who have responsibilities like that of a PI on research projects.  While the PI has ultimate responsibility for the conduct of a research project, the Co-PI/Co-I is also obligated to ensure the project is conducted in compliance with applicable laws and regulations and institutional policy governing the conduct of sponsored research.

Deemed Export

The "transfer" or "release" of export-controlled "technology" or source code (except encryption source code) to foreign national within the United States, including when the technology/source code is:

  • Available to foreign nationals for visual inspection
  • Exchanged orally or in writing
  • Made available by practice or application under the guidance of persons with knowledge of that technology
Departmental Research

Departmental research means research, development and scholarly activities that are not organized research and, consequently, are not separately budgeted and accounted for. Departmental research, for purposes of this document, is not considered as a major function, but as a part of the instruction function of the institution. Departmental research is not considered sponsored projects and are managed by the planning unit.

Depreciated Value

Depreciation is the loss in value that naturally occurs as an object is used or ages. The total depreciated value of an item is the value of that item once you take depreciation into consideration. When determining this value, you will use a mathematical formula that will take into consideration the original value of the item, the scrap value of the item and the expected age of the item.


Equipment means 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 (2 CFR §200.33). OHIO defines equipment as having a threshold of $5,000 or greater and having a useful life of one year or more.

Expanded Authority

Operating authorities provided to recipients that waive the requirement for awarding office prior approval for specified actions. This delegation gives the university the flexibility to modify the project for certain actions (e.g., budget revisions, one-time no-cost extension, 90-day preaward costs).  Refer to the terms and conditions of the award to determine what approvals are delegated to the institution under expanded authority.  Each sponsoring agency has its own set of guidelines.

Expense Object Code (EOC)

Expense Object codes, referred to as “object” in the FMS,  are six-digit numbers that are used in the FMS to categorize actual expenses, budgeted amounts for expenses, and encumbrances, into categories that describe the nature of the goods or services purchased.


The transfer of sensitive equipment, commodities, technology, information, technical data, software or services to:

  • Anyone outside the U.S. including a U.S. citizen
  • A "foreign national" whether in the U.S. or abroad
    • Temporary Resident "foreign national" include:
      • Persons in the U.S. in non-immigrant status (for example, H-1B, H-3, L-1, J-1, F-1 Practical Training, L-1)
  • A foreign embassy or affiliate
Fabricated Equipment

Individual components that when put together create a single unit that meets the threshold of $5,000 or greater and having a useful life of one year or more.

Fair Market Value

An estimate of the market value of a property, based on what a knowledgeable, willing, and unpressured buyer would probably pay to a knowledgeable, willing, and unpressured seller in the market. An estimate of fair market value may be founded either on precedent or extrapolation. Fair market value differs from the intrinsic value that an individual may place on the same asset based on their own preferences and circumstances.

The Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP)

A cooperative initiative among 10 federal agencies and 154 institutional recipients of federal funds for Phase VI. The FDP is a program convened by the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable of the National Academies. Its purpose is to reduce the administrative burdens associated with research grants and contracts. The interaction between FDP’s 450 or so university and federal representatives takes place in FDP’s 3 annual meetings and, more extensively, in the many collaborative working groups and task forces that meet often by conference calls in order to develop specific work products.

Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA)

The legislation requires that information on federal awards be made available to the public in a single, searchable website.

Financial Management System (FMS)

Oracle software includes the tools and processes that manage and govern income, expenses, and assets. An overarching goal for any financial management solution is to not only maintain an organization’s daily business, but to continuously protect financial data from fraud and theft.

Final Financial Status Report (SF425)

Report of Federal expenditures. Final reports shall be submitted no later than 90 days after the project or grant period end date for Federal awards.

Fixed Price Agreement An agreement that requires the contractor to pay a set amount for the agreed-upon work, regardless of the ultimate cost to complete the work.
Foreign National

Any person who in NOT a:

  • U.S. Citizen or National
  • U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident (green card status)
  • Person granted asylum/refugee status
General Purpose Equipment

General purpose equipment means equipment which is not limited to research, medical, scientific or other technical activities. Examples include office equipment and furnishing, modular offices, telephone networks, information technology equipment and systems, air conditioning equipment, reproduction and printing equipment, and motor vehicles (2 CFR §200.48).


Gifts are contributions made to the University for which the donor receives no direct benefit and requires nothing in exchange beyond a general assurance that the intent of the contribution will be honored. Gifts are not considered sponsored projects and are managed by the Ohio University Foundation.

Indemnification A clause that shifts the liability or loss from one party to another, usually without regard to fault (including undertaking any legal defense) for some legal action or claim for damages taken against the indemnified party. Ohio University is an instrumentality of the State of Ohio. As such, Ohio University does not have the authority to indemnify or hold harmles any third party. 
Indirect Costs (IDC)

Indirect Costs (IDC) means those costs incurred for a common or joint purpose benefitting more than one cost objective, and not readily assignable to the cost objectives specifically benefited, without effort disproportionate to the results achieved. To facilitate equitable distribution of indirect expenses to the cost objectives served, these costs are pooled and distributed through a federally negotiated indirect cost rate.

Key Personnel

Key personnel are those people who are essential to carrying out the work of a project, typically those responsible for the design, conduct and reporting of the research. Key personnel include PIs, Co-PIs, and a third category known as “Key Persons”.  PI and any Co-PIs for a project, as well as fellows on any Fellowship proposal, are considered Key personnel. PIs are discouraged from listing other people as Key Persons at proposal stage due to the increased administrative burdens imposed by the sponsor and the additional audit risk to OHIO. Sponsor requirements for tracking key people vary widely. Most federal sponsors require that we track effort for key personnel and notify sponsors when there is a significant reduction in effort (25% or more) or when one of the key people leave the project. Several federal and foundation sponsors require that key personnel keep current on conflict of interest disclosures of financial interest and conflict of interest training. PIs are responsible for tracking effort for key personnel and notifying the sponsor of significant changes. Such requests should be sent in writing to ORSP for review and approval before they are submitted to the sponsor.

Organized Research

All research and development activities of an institution that are separately budgeted and accounted for in the financial management system (FMS).

Other Institutional Activities

Other Institutional Activities means all activities of an institution except for instruction, departmental research, organized research, and other sponsored activities. Other institutional activities are not considered sponsored projects and are managed through the planning units.

Pass-through entity

Pass-through entity means a non-Federal entity that provides a subaward to a subrecipient to carry out part of a Federal program

Pre-award Costs Those incurred prior to the effective date of the Federal award or subaward directly pursuant to the negotiation and in anticipation of the Federal award where such costs are necessary for efficient and timely performace of the scope of work.
Principal Investigator/Project Director (PI/PD)

A Principal Investigator is the primary individual responsible for the preparation, conduct, and administration of a research grant, cooperative agreement, training or public service project, contract, or other sponsored project in compliance with applicable laws and regulations and institutional policy governing the conduct of sponsored research.

Prior Approval Written documentation from the sponsor memorializing agreement to use project funds for purposes not in the approved budget or to change aspects of the project from those originally planned and approved. 
Professional Service

Professional services refers to occupations requiring special training in the arts or sciences. Professional services are often intellectual in nature, and they may or may not require the person to have a license in their specialty. Some professional services may require holding professional licenses such as architects, accountants, engineers, doctors and lawyers. Professional services are generally unique in nature, highly technical, or infrequently needed, provided by an individual or commercial entity with specific qualifications, which could include education, years of experience, and technical capability. Services of this nature are usually project-based, rather than continuous. The work performed is fee based on an hourly or daily rate, provided and explained in a rate proposal or quote, which includes all expenses (travel, supplies, etc.). The individual or entity is not subject to flow-down of compliance requirements from a federal prime contract, including cost sharing. The services provided are on a “work for hire” basis and provider assigns all intellectual property or copyrightable rights to the recipient. An individual pays their own taxes on earnings from the project and is not an employee of OHIO. Here are some examples of professional services: project or program evaluation, technical training, translation services, laboratory analysis, auditing, statistical or data analysis, marketing analysis, software development services, web design or development services, writing or editing services.


Deals with the sourcing activities, negotiation and strategic selection of goods and services that are usually of importance to a project. Purchasing is the process of how goods and services are ordered.


An entity that provides services, materials, supplies, and fabricated parts either through a contract or purchase order.

Purchase Order

A purchase order (PO) is a document that states the types and quantities of products being purchased from a supplier. It also includes the prices of each item, payment terms, the delivery date of the order, and other terms and conditions.


Relinquishment is to renounce or surrender the unobligated award to the sponsoring agency. This is part of the PI/PD transfer process.

Research and Development (R&D)

Research and Development (R&D) means all research activities both basic and applied, and all development activities that are performed by non-Federal entities. 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.

Restricted Funds

Restricted Funds category includes amounts that can be spent only for the specific purposes stipulated by constitution, external resource providers, or through enabling legislation. Revenue from external sponsors through grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts that specify the use of funds, period of performance, and scope of work are considered restricted funds. Revenue from external sources that do not specify the use of funds, period of performance, and scope of work are not restricted and therefore not considered sponsored activity.

Scientific Data The recorded faculty material commonly accepted in the scientific community as of sufficient quality to validate and replicate research findings, regardless of whether the data are used to support scholarly publications. Scientific data does NOT include laboratory notebooks, preliminary analyses, completed case report forms, plans for future research, peer reviews, communications from colleagues, or physical objects like laboratory specimens. 
Special Purpose Equipment

Special purpose equipment means 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 (2 CFR §200.89).

Sponsored Projects

Sponsored Projects are externally funded activities in which a formal written agreement, i.e., a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement, is entered into by OHIO and by the sponsor.


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.


A non-Federal entity that receives pass-through funds from the prime recipient. A subaward is for the purpose of carrying out a portion of the award and creates an assistance relationship between the pass-through entity and the subrecipient. Subaward is a category of costs in the OHIO FMS that include subrecipients.


An entity that provides services, materials, supplies, and fabricated parts either through a contract or purchase order.

Technology Specific information necessary for the 'development', 'production', or 'use' of a product subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). Technology can take the form of technical data (such as blueprints, plans, diagrams, models, engineering designs and specifications, manuals, etc.) For "use" to occur under the EAR, it must meet all six of the following elements: operation, installation (including on-site installation), maintenance (checking), repair, overhaul, and refurbishing. The only exception to this rule is for technology classified in the '600 Series' which includes items and information that were previously controlled under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). For "use" to occur with this technology, only one of the six elements of use must occur. More information on "Use" Technology. 
Technology Control Plan A written document that identifies controlled materials or data and describes how these items will be secured while at the university. It includes plans for storing and housing the items as well as procedures that prevent unauthorized access to restricted items or information.
University research

University research means all research and development activities that are separately budgeted and accounted for by the institution under an internal application of institutional funds. University research shall be combined with sponsored research under the function of organized research.


An entity that provides services, materials, supplies, and fabricated parts either through a contract or purchase order.