Glossary of Research Administration Terms

Term Definition
ACCOUNTABLE GOVERNMENT PROPERTY Non-expendable personal property with an acquisition cost of $1,000 or more and "sensitive items" (defined as items of personal property (supplies and equipment that are highly desirable and easily converted to person use), regardless of acquisition value.
ACQUISITION The acquiring by contract with appropriated funds of supplies or services by and for the use of the Federal Government through purchases or lease, whether the supplies or services are already in existence or must be created, developed, demonstrated, and evaluated. Acquisition includes solicitation and selection of sources, award of contracts, contract financing, contract performance, and contract administration. Acquisition is also synonymous with the word procurement.
ASSURANCES A listing of a variety of requirements, found in different federal laws, regulations, and executive orders that applicants agree in writing to observe as a condition of receiving federal assistance.
BAFO Best and Final Offer
CCO Clinical and Corporate Contracts Officer
CERTIFICATION A statement, signed by an applicant or recipient as a prerequisite for receiving federal funds, that it meets or will adhere to certain conditions and/or will undertake or not undertake certain actions.
COA Contracting Officer’s Authorization
CONTRACT An award of money to carry out a specific task for a government agency, as described in a request for proposal (RFP). Contracts are awarded to bidders submitting proposals that best meet the requirements of the announced work, within a competitive budget range. A mutually binding legal relationship obligating the “seller” (contractor) to furnish the supplies or services and the “buyer” (Government) to pay for them. It includes all types of commitments that obligate the Government to an expenditure of appropriated funds, and except as otherwise authorized, are in writing (e.g., awards and notices of awards, letter contracts, purchase orders, bilateral contact modifications).
CONTRACT MODIFICATION Any written alteration in the specification, delivery point, rate of delivery, contract period, price, quantity, or other contract provision of an existing contract, whether accomplished by unilateral action in accordance with a contract provision or by mutual action of the parties to the contract. It includes: (a) bilateral actions such as supplemental agreements and (b) unilateral actions such as change orders, notices of termination, and notices of the exercise of an option.
CONTRACT SPECIALIST (CONTRACT NEGOTIATOR) (CS) A person who is subject to the general supervision of the contracting officer and who actually carries out most of the procedural steps, as contrasted with the approvals required to be taken by the contracting officer under applicable regulations.
CONTRACTING OFFICER (CO) The individual who is the government’s authorized agent in dealing with the contractor. This individual has authority to negotiate, award and amend contracts on behalf of the government.
CONTRACTING OFFICER'S REPRESENTATIVE (COR)/CONTRACTING OFFICER’S TECHNICAL REPRESENTATIVE (COTR)/PROJECT OFFICER (PO) The person representing the government for the purpose of technical monitoring of the contract. However, the COR has no authority to obligate the government or change the terms of the contract (only the contracting officer has that authority).
CONTRACTOR An organization or person who has entered into a contract with the federal government to perform a specific task. The contractor is legally and financially responsible and accountable to the awarding agency for performance of the contract supported activity.
COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT A mechanism of support that involves greater involvement by the federal government in the scientific/programmatic outcome of the award than in the provision of funds.
COST-REIMBURSEMENT A cost reimbursement contract is appropriate for use when uncertainties involved in contract performance do not permit costs to be estimated with sufficient accuracy to use any type of fixed price contract. This type of contract places less risk of performance on the contractor and minimum incentive to control costs, and requires Government surveillance during performance to ensure that efficient methods and effective cost controls are used.
CSA Contracted Services Agreement.  See Services Agreement.
DA Departmental Administrator
DIRECT COSTS Costs that can be identified specifically with a particular project or program.
EMPLOYER IDENTIFICATION NUMBER (EIN) The number the Internal Revenue Service assigns to every employer.
EXTERNAL PARTICIPANT Non-University of Pittsburgh employees, including individuals, collaborators, Subcontractors/Subawardees, and consultants (paid and unpaid), who perform work on a research project.
FACILITIES AND ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS (also known as Indirect Costs, Overhead, F&A, IDC) Costs of an organization incurred for common or joint objectives which cannot be readily and specifically identified with a particular grant project or other institutional activity.
FCO Federal Contracts Officer
FEDERAL ACQUISITION REGULATION (FAR) The regulation which applies to the NIH and all other civilian executive agencies. These regulations apply to procurements made within and outside of the United States.
FISMA Federal Information Security Management Act
FPR Final Proposal Revision
GCO Grants and Contracts Officer
GENERAL PURPOSE EQUIPMENT Any items of personal property which are usable for purposes other than research, such as office equipment and furnishings
GRANT An award of financial assistance by the federal government whereby money and/or direct assistance is provided to carry out approved activities. A grant is to be used whenever the agency anticipates no substantial programmatic involvement with the recipient during performance of the financially assisted activities. Research grants are awarded to institutions on behalf of a principal investigator to facilitate pursuit of a scientific focus or objective in the area of the investigator's interest and competence. Grants can be classified on the basis of type of activity(ies) supported (research, training, service, etc.); degree of discretion allowed the awarding office (mandatory or discretionary); and/or method of determining amounts of award (negotiated basis or formula.
GRANTEE The institution (public or private, nonprofit or for-profit, educational institution, hospital, corporation, organization, agency, or other legally accountable entity) that receives a grant or cooperative agreement and assumes legal, financial, and scientific responsibility and accountability both for the awarded funds and for the performance of the grant-supported activity. In certain cases, a grantee may be an individual in the United States or an institution in a foreign country.
INVESTIGATOR Individuals, including Principal Investigator, Project Director, and any other person, regardless of title or position, who direct or can materially influence, and/or who are responsible for or participate in the design, conduct, or reporting of research, including collaborators and consultants. 
IP Intellectual Property
KEY PERSONNEL Employees of the awardee who are engaged in the awarded project, listed in the award application, progress report, or any other report submitted to the sponsor AND who are considered by the sponsor as essential resources in the work performance. Key Personnel typically includes the principal investigators and co-investigators, but is dependent upon the individual award.  (The sponsor may review the qualifications of any substitution of these individuals.)

Preaward discussions conducted by the Grants Division to establish the conditions and amount of a discretionary grant or cooperative agreement; based on recommendations from the cognizant principal office, a cost analysis of the applicant's budget, and a review of proposed activities.
OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET (OMB) CIRCULARS Administrative policy documents that give instruction to federal agencies on a variety of topics, including the administration of federal grants and cooperative agreements.
OPTION An option is a unilateral right by which, for a specified time, the Government may elect to purchase additional supplies or services called for by the contract, or may elect to extend the term of the contract.
OR Office of Research
PI Principal Investigator
POC Primary Point of Contact
PRIME FUNDING SOURCE The type of original funding mechanism issued from the organization from where the research funds originate (i.e., Federal grants, Federal cooperative agreements, Federal contracts, corporate contracts, non-profit foundation grants, etc.)
PRIME SPONSOR Organization from where the research funds originate (for Federal grants, cooperative agreements, and Federal contracts, this is the Federal agency providing the research funds; for corporate contracts, this is the commercial entity providing the research funds)
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (PI)/PROJECT DIRECTOR (PD) A qualified individual designated by the contractor’s organization to direct the project or program being supported by the contract. This individual has primary responsibility for guiding and/or performing the work as described in the contract work statement.
PROGRAM OFFICER An agency program office staff person responsible for 1) developing program regulations, application notices, and application packages, 2) overseeing the review and ranking of applications submitted under their programs, 3) providing detailed funding recommendations to the Grants Division for applications, 4) participating in negotiations, as necessary, 5) providing technical assistance to applicants and recipients, 6) monitoring funded projects, and 7) making recommendations about recipients' requests for revisions to project activities and budgets.
PROJECT OFFICER (PO)/CONTRACTING OFFICER’S TECHNICAL REPRESENTATIVE (COTR) The person representing the government for the purpose of technical monitoring of the contract. However, the project officer has no authority to obligate the government or change the terms of the contract (only the contracting officer has that authority).
PROJECT PERIOD The total amount of time (sometimes several years) during which an agency authorizes a recipient to complete the approved work of the project described in the application; project periods of more than one year are divided into budget periods.
PSA Purchased Services Agreement
REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL (RFP) The government’s invitation to prospective offerors to submit a proposal based on the terms and conditions set forth in the RFP. The RFP is also called the solicitation.
RFQ Request for Quote
SBSP Small Business Subcontracting Plan
SERVICES AGREEMENT Vendor agreements issued to contractors by Purchasing Services for the procurement of services.
SIMPLIFIED ACQUISITION THRESHOLD (SAT) Purchases between $3,500 and $150,000 per FAR 13.003(b)(1).
STATEMENT OF WORK (SOW) The document which states the technical objectives, level of effort, and requirements of the contracts. This document is normally found in Section “C” or included as an attachment in Section “J” of the RFP and contract.
SUBCONTRACT/SUBAWARD A formal written agreement with a third-party entity in which a portion of the programmatic work under a Pitt prime award is transferred to another institution or organization, a subrecipient.  Subawards are issued by the Office of Research.