Common Research Lingo

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Common Research Lingo

501(c) (3)

The section of the tax code that defines nonprofit, charitable, tax–exempt organizations; 501 (c) (3) organizations are further defined as public charities, private operating foundations, and private non–operating foundations

Activity Code

A 3–character code used to identify a specific category of extramural research activity, applied to various funding mechanisms.

Allowable Cost

A cost incurred by a recipient that is reasonable for the performance of the award.

Animal Welfare Assurance

Document an institution and all performance sites involving animals in research must have on file with the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare before a PHS Agency may award a grant or contract.

Annual Report

A voluntary report issued by a foundation or corporation that provides financial data and descriptions of its grant–making activities. Annual reports vary in format from simple typewritten documents listing the year’s grants to detailed publications that provide substantial information about the grant–making programs. Approximately 1,100 foundations issue them.

Application Package

A group of specific forms and documents for a specific funding opportunity which are used to apply for a grant.

Authorized Organization Representative (AOR)

An AOR submits a grant on behalf of a company, organization, institution, or government. Only an AOR has the authority to sign and submit grant applications.


Financial assistance that provides support or stimulation to accomplish a public purpose. Awards include grants and other agreements in the form of money or property in lieu of money, by the federal government to an eligible recipient. The term does not include: technical assistance, which provides services instead of money; other assistance in the form of loans, loan guarantees, interest subsidies, or insurance; direct payments of any kind to individuals; and contracts which are required to be entered into and administered under federal procurement laws and regulations.

Broad Agency Announcement

An announcement that is general in nature and that identifies areas of research interest, including criteria for selecting proposals, and soliciting the participation of all offerers capable of satisfying the government’s needs.

Budget Justification

A written narrative explaining all budget items.

Budget Period

The intervals of time (usually 12 months each) into which a project period is divided for budgetary and funding purposes.

Cage Code

A five–character code which identifies companies doing or planning to do business with a federal government and is assigned through the System for Award Management.


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.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA)

An online database of all federal programs available to state and local governments, federally–recognized Indian tribal governments, territories and possessions of the United States, domestic public, quasi–public, and private profit and nonprofit organizations and institutions, specialized groups, and individuals.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number

The identifying number that a federal program is assigned in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA).


Process by which the awarding agency determines that all applicable administrative actions and all requirements of the award have been completed by the recipient and the awarding policy.


An individual involved with the PD/PI in the scientific development or execution of a project. The co–investigator may be employed by, or be affiliated with, the applicant/grantee 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.

Competition ID

A grantor selected ID that allows further distinction of the funding opportunity number which allows applications with the same funding opportunity number to be assigned unique identities.


A procurement contract under an award or subaward, and a procurement subcontract under a recipient’s or a subrecipient’s contract.

Congressional District

One of a fixed number of districts into which a state is divided, each district electing one member to the national House of Representatives.

Cooperative Agreement

An award of financial assistance that is used to enter into the same kind of relationship as a grant; and is distinguished from a grant in that it provides for substantial involvement between the federal agency and the recipient in carrying out the activity contemplated by the award.

Cost Sharing or Matching

The portion of project or program costs not borne by the federal government.

Current Accounting Period

The period of time that recipient chooses for purposes of financial statements and audits.

Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS)

A unique nine–character identification number provided by the commercial company Dun & Bradstreet (D&B).

Disallowed Costs

Charges to an award that the awarding agency determines to be unallowable, in accordance with the applicable federal cost principles or other terms and conditions contained in the award.

Discretionary Grant

A grant (or cooperative agreement) for which the federal awarding agency generally may select the recipient from among all eligible recipients, may decide to make or not to make an award based on the programmatic technical, or scientific, content of an application, and can decide the amount of funding to be awarded.

Earmark Grants

Earmark grants are grants that are appropriated by Congress prior to a peer review. The term “earmark” is a reference to the Congressional Record where the awards are written into the legislation specifically with the grant applicant’s name, activity and dollar amounts.


Funds that have been set aside or “claimed” for projected expenses pending actual expenditure of the funds.


Tangible nonexpendable personal property, including exempt property, charged directly to the award and having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more per unit. However, consistent with recipient policy, lower limits may be established.

Federal Financial Report

The Federal Financial Report is a single form consolidating the collection of financial information previously collected on the Cash Transaction Report.

Fiscal Year (FY)

The annual period established for Government accounting purposes. A fiscal year begins on October 1 and ends September 30 of the following year. CUNY Hunter’s fiscal year begins on July 1 and ends on June 30 of the following year.

Form 990–PF

The public record information return that all private foundations are required by law to submit annually to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).


An organization established to disburse funds for philanthropic purposes; usually privately owned.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

A federal statute that requires full or partial public disclosure of information and documents controlled by the United States government. The FOIA applies to federal agencies and does not create a right of access to records held by Congress, the courts, or by state or local government agencies. Each state has its own public access laws that should be consulted for access to state and local records.

Fringe Benefits

Employee benefits paid by the employer.

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 completion for funds. Funding opportunity announcements may be known as program announcements, notices of funding availability, solicitations, or other names depending on the agency and type of program.

Funding Period

The period of time when federal funding is available for obligation by the recipient.


An award of financial assistance the principal purpose of which is to transfer a thing of value from a federal agency to a recipient to carry out a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by a law of the United States

A storefront web portal for use in electronic collection of data (forms and reports) for federal grant–making agencies through the site. Tracking Number

A number set used by which is used to identify each application it receives.


Procedures set forth by a funder that grant–seekers should follow when approaching a grant–maker.

In–kind Contribution

A contribution of equipment, supplies, or other tangible resources, as distinguished from a monetary grant. Some corporate contributors may also donate the use of space or staff time as an in–kind contribution.

Just–In–Time (JIT)

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. This process is known as “Just–in–time”.

Letter of Intent

Some ICs request prospective applicants to submit letters of intent prior to the submission of a grant application. The letter usually includes the name, address and phone number of the PI, identifies other key personnel and participating institutions, and the RFA or PA identification. Although a letter of intent is not required, not binding, and does not enter into the review of a subsequent application, the information that it contains allow institute staff to estimate the potential review workload and plan for the application.

Mandatory Forms

Mandatory forms are forms that are required for the application. Please note that a mandatory form must be completed before system will allow the applicant to submit the application package.

Matching Grant

A grant that is made to match funds provided by another donor.

Modular Budget

An NIH budget format used in R01, R03, R15, and R21 grant applications, when $250,000 or less in annual direct costs is requested, the modular budget eliminates the need for budget details.

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 researrch 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.

Notice of Award (NoA)

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 obligation; and,
  3. Provides the documentary basis for recording the obligation of Federal funds in the NIH accounting system

On–time Submission

For an application to be considered on–time, all registrations must be completed and an error free application must be submitted to and accepted by with a timestamp on or before 5:00 p.m. local time of submitting organization on submission deadline date.


A grant applicant who is submitting a grant on behalf of a company , state, local, or tribal government, academic or research institution, not–for–profit, or any other type of institution.

Overlap of Support

Other support duplicating research or budgetary items already funded by an NIH grant. Overlap also occurs when any project – supported personnel has time commitments exceeding 12 person months.

Parent Announcement

NIH–wide funding opportunity announcement enabling applicants to submit an electronic investigator–initiated grant application for a specific activity code, e.g., Research Project Grant (Parent R01).

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.


Written approval by an authorized awarding agency official evidencing prior consent

Prior Approval

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.


Applicant information stored in the system for the purpose of identifying a user.

Project Period

The period established in the award document during which awarding agency sponsorship begins and ends.


A Grant Researcher writes, prepares, and/or searches for grant applications on their behalf, or on behalf of a company, organization, institution, or government, but do not plan to sign the grant application or its associated certifications and assurances.

Research Misconduct

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

  • Fabrication is making up data or results and recording or reporting them
  • 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.
  • Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.
  • Research misconduct does not include honest error or honest differences of opinion.


An acronym for Request for Proposal. When the government issues a new contract or grant program, it sends out RFP’s to agencies that might be qualified to participate. The RFP lists projects specifications and application procedures. While an increasing number of foundations use RFPs in specific fields, most still prefer to consider proposals that are initiated by applicants.

Salary Cap/Limitation

A legislatively–mandated provision limiting the direct salary for individuals working on NIH grants, cooperative agreement awards, and extramural research and development contracts.

Seed Money

A grant or contribution used to start a new project or organization. Seed grants may cover salaries and other operating expenses of a new project.

Select Agent

Biological agent or toxin listed in 42 CFR Part 73, 7 CFR Part 331 and 9 CFR Part 121, or the HHS and USDA Select Agents and Toxins List. Investigators who possess or use a select agent must register with and get approval from either the CDC Select Agent Program or USADA APHIS Agricultural Select Agent Program, depending on the agent.


An award of financial assistance in the form of money, or property in lieu of money, made under an award by a recipient to an eligible subrecipient or by a subrecipient to a lower tier subrecipient. The term includes financial assistance when provided by any legal agreement, even if the agreement is called a contract, but does not include procurement of goods and services nor does it include any form of assistance which is excluded from the definition of award.


The legal entity to which a subaward is made and which is accountable to the recipient for the use of the funds provided.


The cancellation of awarding agency sponsorship, in whole or in part, under an agreement at any time prior to the date of completion.

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 grant award, or specified by the grant award, or specified by the grant award document itself. The Notice of Award 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.

Unobligated Balance

The portion of the funds authorized by an awarding agency that has not been obligated by the recipient and is determined by deducting the cumulative obligations from the cumulative funds authorized.


Transferring data (usually a file) from the computer you are using to another computer.


The ID (plus password) which allows access into the system and application package submission.


ACFAdministration for Children and Families
ACS American Cancer Society or American Chemical Society
ACS/NYC Administration for Children’s Services, City of New York
AFOSR Air Force Office of Scientific Research
ARENA Applied Research Ethics National Association
ASSN Association
CARSI Center for Analysis and Research of Spatial Information (at Hunter)
CCNY City College of New York (CUNY)
CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
CHEST Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies & Training (at Hunter)
CIES Council for the International Exchange of Scholars
CORP Corporation
CSR NIH Center for Scientific Review
CTR Center
CUNY City University of New York
DASNY Dormitory Authority of the State of New York
DHHS NIH Department of Health and Human Services
DH&MH Dept. of Health & Mental Health (NYC)
DOD U.S. Department of Defense
DOE U.S. Department of Energy
DOJ U.S. Department of Justice
DOL Department of Labor
DSMB Data Safety Monitoring Board
DUNS Data Universal Numbering System
EIN Entity Identification Number
EPA Environmental Protection Agency
eSNAP Electronic Streamlined Non–competing Award Process
F&A Facilities and Administrative Costs (AKA indirect costs)
FAR Federal Acquisition Regulations
FDP Federal Demonstration Partnership
FDTN Foundation
FED Federal
FIPSE Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education
FOA Funding Opportunity Announcement
FSR Financial Status Report (SF–269 or 269A)
FTE Full–Time Equivalent
FWA Federal–wide Assurance
FY Fiscal Year
GMO Grants Management Officer
GMS Grants Management Specialist
GRTI Graduate Research & Technology Initiative (NYS/DASNY)
GSUC Graduate School & University Center (CUNY)
HCF Hunter College Foundation
HHS U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
HIPAA Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
HRA Human Resources Administration
HRPP Human Research Protections Program
HRS Health Resources and Services Administration
HUD U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development
IACUC Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee
IBC Institutional Biosafety Committee
IDeA Institutional Development Awards
IPA Intergovernmental Personnel Act Mobility Program
IRB Institutional Review Board (Committee for Protection of Human Subjects)
JIT Just–In–Time
JPL Jet Propulsion Laboratory
MARC Minority Access to Research Careers
MBRS Minority Biomedical Research Support
MTA Material Transfer Agreement
NACLA North American Congress on Latin America
NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NCI National Cancer Institute
NEA National Endowment for the Arts
NEH National Endowment for the Humanities
NEI National Eye Institute
NHBLI National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute
NIA National Institute on Aging
NIAID National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
NICHD National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
NIDDKD National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive & Kidney Diseases
NIEHS National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
NIGMS National Institute of General Medical Sciences
NIH National Institutes of Health
NIMH National Institute of Mental Health
NIOSH National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
NPO Non–profit Organization
NoA Notice of Award
NSA National Security Agency
NSF National Science Foundation
NYC New York City
NYS New York State
OCFS Office of Children and Family Services
OHDS Office of Human Development Services
OHRP Office of Human Research Protections
OMB Office of Management and Budget
OST White House Office of Science and Technology
PA Program Announcement
PD Project Director
PECASE Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers
PHS Public Health Service
PI Principal Investigator
PO Program Official
PSC Professional Staff Congress
RCMI Research Centers in Minority Institutions
REU Research Experiences for Undergraduates
RFA Request for Applications
RF–CUNY Research Foundation of the City University of New York
RFP Request for Proposals
RISE Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement
RPPR Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR)
SAMHSA Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, HHS
SBIR Small Business Innovation Research
SCORE Support for Competitive Research
SF424 Standard Form 424 (Research & Related) (SF424 (R&R))
SNAP Streamlined Noncompeting Award Process
SO Signing Official
SOW Statement of Work
SRO Scientific Review Officer
SSRC Social Science Research Council
SUNY State University of New York
TDC Total direct costs
UNICEF United Nations Children’s Fund
USDA U.S. Department of Agriculture
USED U.S. Education Department
USGS U.S. Geological Survey
USIA U.S. Information Agency