Sponsored Programs & Research Compliance

SPARC Key Terms & Definitions

  • Allocable Cost

    Allocable costs are clearly associated with the respective project. For example, chemicals purchased for use on a specific project should only benefit that project. Re-stocking general chemical supplies used for a variety of purposes would benefit many projects and may not be easily allocated to individual projects.

  • Allowable Cost

    Allowable expenses are permitted by institutional and sponsor regulations and are consistent with UNCW charging practices.

  • Annualized Salary

    Annualized salary is a person’s salary over 12 months and is different than someone's 9 or 10 month appointment.

  • Broad Agency Announcement (BAA)

    Solicitation for proposals or applications.

  • Budget

    A financial proposal that reflects the work proposed.

  • Budget Categories

    Categories of budget line items, such as personnel salary, other personnel salary, fringe benefits, travel, equipment, materials/supplies, indirect costs, participant support costs, consultants, subrecipients, etc.

  • Budget Justification

    A written description of the estimated project costs, including explanation and justification for the individual costs that make up each larger budget category.

  • Budget Line Items

    Individual items included in the budget, such as lead PI salary, hourly student payment and effort, etc.

  • Co-Investigator (Co-I)

    Senior/key personnel not listed in the official Co-PI or PI role. This role is not scientifically diminutive; it just denotes a lesser administrative or management role for the project.

  • Collaborator

    Paid or unpaid personnel that are integral to the project and are listed as senior personnel. Senior personnel in this role may have committed effort or may simply offer as needed advice, such as the NIH “other significant contributor” role. If a non-paid collaborator will have committed effort and is employed outside of UNCW, it is important to get a letter from their institution approving the collaboration. This allows the collaborator’s institution to record committed effort and approve use of facilities for the project.

  • Consistent Cost

    Consistent treatment of costs is a basic cost accounting principle and is specifically required by Uniform Guidance to assure that the same types of costs are not charged to federally sponsored agreements both as direct costs and as facilities and administrative (F&A) or indirect costs. These cost elements cannot, under routine circumstances, be both. So, consistency in this context means that costs incurred for the same purpose, in like circumstances, must be treated uniformly as either direct costs or as F&A costs.

  • Consultant

    An individual that provides consultation and/or advice to a project but is not responsible for completing the scope of work. UNCW employees should not be listed as consultants on proposals submitted from UNCW.

  • Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI)

    An investigator with equal administrative authority with the PI. It is important to note that sponsoring agencies have very distinct definitions of PI’s.

  • Cost Sharing

    Cost sharing occurs when a sponsor doesn’t pay the full cost of a sponsored project, and the applicant institution (UNCW) therefore bears some of the costs. Cost sharing may voluntary or mandatory. In addition, it can be in-kind, such as a valued donation of goods, or cash for project purchases. The allowability of types and amounts of cost sharing varies by sponsor and program.

  • Direct Costs

    Direct costs are expenses that are clearly associated with and necessary to complete a sponsored project or program.

  • Effort

    The amount of time, either as a percentage of overall effort or in person-months, that an individual will work on a sponsored project.

  • Escalation

    An amount, usually a percentage, that a cost is expected to increase over time.

  • Annualized Salary

    Annualized salary is a person’s salary over 12 months and is different than someone's 9 or 10 month appointment.

  • Facilities & Administrative Costs (F&A)

    See “indirect costs.”

  • Facilities & Administrative Rate (F&A Rate)

    See “indirect cost rate.”

  • Federal Demonstration Partnership

    An association of federal agencies, academic research institutions with administrative, faculty and technical representation and research policy organizations working to streamline the administration of federally sponsored research.

  • Federal Flow-Through

    Funds that originate from a federal sponsor but are paid to the university through another entity, such as the State of North Carolina or another academic institution.

  • Financial Conflict of Interest (COI)

    Financial interests that may pose a conflict of interest with a sponsored program or project. Researchers are required to disclose financial interests in the electronic COI system in accordance with federal and state regulations and university policies and procedures.

  • Fringe Benefits

    UNCW does not have a “composite” rate, which is where one averaged rate is used for different classification of personnel – i.e., students and/or faculty. Instead, UNCW uses a fringe benefit calculator to determine the proper fringe rate for the specific personnel. The fringe benefit rate is comprised of social security, retirement benefits, worker’s compensation and unemployment, and healthcare insurance.

  • Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA)

    Solicitation for proposals or applications.

  • Indirect Cost

    Indirect costs are associated with the general operation of UNCW and cannot be readily assigned to individual projects. These costs include facilities & maintenance, general and departmental administration, clerical and administrative salaries and fringe benefits, general office supplies, general purpose equipment, routine postage, building maintenance and utilities and library expenses.

  • Indirect Cost Base

    Amount of direct costs to which the F&A rate should be applied.

  • Indirect Cost Rate (IDC or ICR)

    An indirect cost rate is a device for determining what proportion of indirect costs each program should bear using sound administrative principles. The indirect cost rate is designed to provide a method for full cost recovery, and it is an equitable, logical, and consistent process for allocating costs not directly associated with a single grant/contract, project or cost objective. The University has federally negotiated rates based on these principals; however, rates may vary based on sponsor policy and program guidelines.

  • Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)

    IACUC is an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee mandated by the Animal Welfare Act and the Health Research Extension Act. Research involving animal subjects must obtain IACUC authorization.

  • Institutional Review Board (IRB) Administration

    The Institutional Review Board (IRB) Administration Unit in RIO is committed to following the federal regulations to protect the rights and welfare of human subjects involved in research conducted under the auspices of UNCW. Research involving human subjects must obtain IRB Administration authorization.

  • Internal Processing Form (IPF)

    The online routing and approval form within RAMSeS (RAMSeS proposal) that must be completed for all proposals submitted and approved by necessary departments.

  • Key Personnel

    See “senior personnel.”

  • Modified Total Direct Cost (MTDC)

    Indirect cost base where indirect costs are charged to salaries and wages, fringe benefits, materials, supplies, services, travel and subgrants and subcontracts up to the first $25,000 of each subgrant or subcontract (regardless of the period covered by the subgrant or subcontract). Modified total direct costs shall exclude equipment, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, student tuition remission, rental costs of off-site facilities, scholarships and fellowships, as well as the portion of each subgrant and subcontract in excess of $25,000.

  • Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA)

    The negotiated indirect cost agreement. See “indirect cost rate.”

  • 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 meetings, conferences, symposia or training projects. UNCW employees cannot be participants on a sponsored project.

  • Principal Investigator (PI) or Lead Principal Investigator

    The Principal Investigator has primary responsibility for achieving the technical success of the project, while also complying with the financial and administrative policies and regulations associated with the award.

  • Reasonable Cost

    Reasonable costs would generally be accepted as necessary per a “prudent” person’s review.

  • Request for Applications (RFA)

    Solicitation for proposals or applications.

  • Request for Proposals (RFP)

    Solicitation for proposals or applications.

  • Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

    Program providing graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty, staff, and NSF funded undergraduate students with information, training, and tools to address the increasingly complex issues that they will confront during their careers.

  • Scope of Work

    Narrative description of the work to be conducted.

  • Senior Personnel

    “Non-replaceable” expertise on the project. These are usually all of the faculty level investigators, but may also include others at the discretion of the PI.

  • Subaward

    An agreement with a third-party organization performing a portion of the project or program scope of work.

  • Total Costs (TC)

    Indirect cost basis where indirect costs are applied to all project costs.

  • Total Direct Costs (TDC)

    Indirect cost basis where indirect costs are applied to all direct costs.

  • Uniform Guidance

    An Office of Management and Budget (OMB) circular that provides federal regulations regarding administrative requirements, cost principals and audit requirements for federal awards.