SMU Research

Glossary of Terms

Auditable fiscal report
A detailed financial accounting of all income and expenditures associated with the project. This may include quotes, receipts and other documentation for individual expenditures.
Authorized official
An SMU employee formally empowered by University policy to legally bind the University in a contractual relationship with an external entity.
Policy 10.1 defines an “award” as “a grant, contract, subcontract, Subgrant or cooperative agreement that provides for funding.
An estimate of all project-related costs, including materials and supplies, other direct costs, and indirect costs, which re allowable, reasonable, allocable, and consistent per the OMB Uniform Guidance and SMU policy. Budgets should be constructed with your Grant Management Specialist using the provided Budget Template.
Budget Change Request (BCR)
An internal University document requesting approval for a budget revision.
Budget justification
A document providing a description and rationale for each budget line item, including employees’ project roles, tasks they will perform, and the percentage of effort required. The budget justification follows the order of the detailed budget and must conform to the sponsor’s requirements.
An external expert who can provide special knowledge or advice.
Policy 10.1 defines a Contract as, “a legally enforceable agreement between the University and a Sponsor that provides Funding when a primary purpose is delivery to the Sponsor of property or services for the benefit of the Sponsor.”
Cooperative Agreement
Policy 10.1 defines a Cooperative Agreement as, “a legally enforceable agreement between the University and a sponsor that provides funding when substantial interaction between the sponsor and the University is anticipated during the performance of a sponsored project.”
Cost sharing
Cost Sharing is the formal assumption by the University for part of the cost of a project or a purchase. Please see the following resources for more information:
Course buyout
Use of grant funds to pay for a course release for a faculty member so that time otherwise devoted to teaching may be spent working on the project funded by the grant. In order to receive a course buyout, the SMU Course Buyout Request Form must be completed and signed during the Proposal Initiation Form (PIF) routing. For more details, please see the "Proposal Development" step in the Project Life Cycle. .
An item provided to the sponsor in satisfaction of obligations established by the project agreement.
Direct costs
Expenditures necessary to execute a statement of work that meet the following criteria.
  • Allowable: The cost must be allowable under the terms and conditions of the sponsored award, under applicable sponsor regulations (§200.403) and under University policies.
  • Reasonable: The cost may be considered reasonable if the nature of the goods or services acquired, and the amount involved therefore, reflect the action that a prudent person would have taken under the circumstances prevailing at the time the decision to incur the cost was made (§200.404)
  • Allocable: The cost must benefit the project and be directly attributable to the project or activity being performed. The cost can only be assigned and allocated to the project(s) based on that portion of the expense that represents the direct benefit to the project (§200.405)
  • Consistent: Costs incurred for the same purpose in like circumstances must be treated consistently as disclosed to the University's cognizant agency (§200.400(e) and §200.401(b)). All costs are subject to the Office of Management and Budget Guidance (OMB) Uniform Guidance.
Tangible or intangible property that can be used or consumed for more than one year, with a unit price of $5,000 or more. These items should be included as equipment in the budget and are excluded from modified total direct costs (MTDC).
Facilities and Administrative (F&A)
Term used by Office of Management and Budget Guidance for Grants and Agreements (OMB) to describe what most institutions typically refer to as indirect costs.
Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI)
FCOI is a financial interest consisting of one or more of the following:
  1. With regard to any publicly traded entity, a "significant financial interest" exists if the value of any remuneration received from the entity in the twelve-month period immediately prior to or immediately following the disclosure and the value of any equity interest in the entity as of the date of disclosure, when aggregated, exceeds $5,000, or the equity interest in the entity represents more than five percent (5%) ownership;
  2. With regard  to any non-publicly  traded  entity, if  the value  of  any remuneration received from the entity in the twelve-month period prior to or immediately  following  the disclosure, when aggregated, exceeds $5,000 in-kind of products or services, or the Responsible Party holds  any  equity  interest
  3. Intellectual property rights, royalties from such rights, and agreements to share in royalties related to such rights.
Fringe benefits
Non-salary employee compensation (such as medical insurance) calculated as a percentage of salary.
Full costs
All costs appropriately allocated to a project, including direct and indirect costs.
A transfer of funds or property to the University by a donor without expectation of a tangible or direct economic benefit to the donor, and without responsibility by the University to provide the donor with a product or service. Gifts are managed by SMU's Office of Development & External Affairs.
Gift agreement
A memorandum of understanding, or a memorandum of agreement between SMU and a donor signed by the donor, approved by the appropriate authorized official at SMU, and including a statement of donor intent, the source of funds, and directions as to how the funds will be used and the account will be administered.
Graduate Student Tuition Rates
Please refer to the Graduate Student Employment and Compensation, Policy 10.3.  
Policy 10.1 defines a grant as a legally enforceable agreement between the University and a sponsor that provides funding when the sponsor has no expectation of delivery of a specific product or service other than a final written report, no substantial interaction between the sponsor and the University during performance is anticipated, and the agreement contains general terms and conditions that stipulate a period of performance with minimal reporting requirements.
Indirect costs
Recurring expenses in support of sponsored projects in general that cannot directly assigned to a specific projects, such as administration, building maintenance, and security. Also referred to as “overhead” or “facilities and administration (F&A).”
Indirect Cost (IDC) waiver
An internal University document initiated by a Principal Investigator (PI) and requesting reduction in indirect costs in a project budget.
Intellectual Property
Inventions, ideas, trade secrets, writings, names and symbols and combinations thereof, which, because of their characteristics, are governed and protected by the law of patents, copyrights, trade secrets and know-hows, trademarks and trade names. For more information, see Policy 10.16.
No Cost Extension (NCE)
A formal modification to a funding agreement to extend the period of performance of the project without receipt of additional funds from the sponsor.
Please see indirect costs.
All project participants, including faculty, post-doctorates, students, staff, and collaborators.
Policy 10.6 defines "Plagiarism" as "the appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.”     
That period of time after grant funding is approved by Grants & Contracts Accounting (GCA), and a project number is assigned.
That period of time preceding approval of grant funding by Grants & Contracts Accounting (GCA) and assigned a project number.
Pre-award account
An account to which expenses may be charged prior to receipt of grant funding, which may be established on request by the Principal Investigator (PI) following receipt by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies of formal notification from the funding source that an award will be forthcoming.
Principal Investigator (PI)
Policy 10.1 defines “Principal Investigator” as “the individual solely responsible for technical conduct of a Sponsored Project, technical contact with the Sponsor, expenditure of Sponsored Project Funding, and fulfillment of technical performance and reporting obligations under an Award.”
Project summary
A succinct and accurate description of the work proposed for a project in accordance with the announcement and/or agency specific instructions.
All proposals, whether new or continuing, must be processed and submitted through your Grant Management Specialist (GMS) in the Office of Research and Graduate Studies. Proposals require formal University approval and signature prior to submission to external sponsors.
Responsible Parties
Individuals (including spouse, domestic partner, dependent children, household members) who are responsible for the Design, conduct or reporting of research at the University under grants or contracts funded by a federal,  state or local government agency, or other external sponsor; provide oversight of such research; negotiation of research agreements or externally funded educational activities.
Scope of work
A document describing work to be performed under a sponsored project, including a budget and all supporting information required by the funding source.
Policy 10.1 defines a sponsored project as an activity that receives “external funding through grants to the University or through contracts or cooperative agreements between the University and a sponsor, where one or more of the following obligations applies:
  1. Financial obligation - the University is required to comply with conditions imposed when a sponsor awards funding for the performance of services or delivery of products described in a statement of work;
  2. Regulatory obligation - the University is required to comply with sponsor regulations.
  3. Reporting obligation - the University is required to provide to the sponsor technical performance reports or regulatory or administrative reports; or
  4. Accounting obligation - the University is required to establish a separate accounting record of project expenditures to demonstrate allowability of costs, to maintain financial accountability, to make financial reports to the sponsor, and to preserve appropriate records for audit.”
Subcontract (aka subaward)/agreements
A contract between the University and another institution by which the University provides funding for work in support of a University sponsored project.
Expendable items costing less than $5,000.
Uniform Guidance
Administrative requirements, cost principles, and audit requirements for Federal awards summarized in Office of Management and Budget 2 CFR 200.