A helpful list of commonly used terms and their definitions
Terms in Research Administration
101 dollars are distributed to UW–Madison by UW System and include all state-controlled funds (tuition and tax revenues). Fund 101 represents UW–Madison’s core state public funding, which is used to support the core teaching, research and outreach missions of UW–Madison.
Examples: Start up accounts, Salary Credit accounts, Dean or Division level accounts.
The UW–Madison fund identifier that indicates a Non-Federal Sponsored Project or contract. The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (RSP) establishes these numbers at the time of award. The spending fund identifier that denotes a Non-Federal Sponsored Project.
Examples: Gates Foundation and American Heart Association.
The UW–Madison fund identifier that indicates a WARF gift or donation account.
The UW–Madison fund identifier that indicates a Fee-for-Service, or revenue-producing, account (handled by SoP Business Office).
The UW–Madison fund identifier that indicates a Federal Sponsored Project. RSP establishes these numbers at the time of award.
Examples: NIH, NSF, and US Dept of Energy.
The UW–Madison fund identifier that indicates a gift account. These projects are established by UW Business Services and often involve a relationship with the UW Foundation.
A cost is allocable to a project if goods or services involved are chargeable or assignable in accordance with the relative benefits received by the projects. In order to be allocable, a cost must be treated consistently in like circumstances.
Allocation means the process of assigning a cost, or a group of costs, to one or more cost objective(s), in reasonable proportion to the benefit provided or other equitable relationship. An allocable cost benefits the award. If you cannot answer, “how did the project benefit from expense X?” then you should not assign expense X to the award.
A cost is allowable to a project if the costs are reasonable, the costs are allocable to the specific project, the costs are treated consistently in like circumstances, and the costs conform to any limitations of the cost principles or the sponsored agreement.
The range within a budget category that the university can spend without having to request prior approval from the sponsor. Budget tolerance information is located in the award document and will vary by sponsor.
To view budget categories, refer to the award as they are not typically entered into WISER. For example, if you have $500 in your travel category and a 10% budget tolerance, you could spend up to $550 on travel without asking for prior approval from the sponsor. If you had to spend $800 on travel, the University would have to contact the sponsor to ask permission to re-budget.
Tangible personal property (including information technology systems) having a useful life of more than one year and a per-unit acquisition cost of $5,000 or more.
Clinical Trial Agreement (CTA)
An agreement that manages the conduct of a clinical trial, which is a research study that explores whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans, or shows which medical approaches work best for certain illnesses or groups of people.
A mechanism for procurement of a product or service with specific obligations for both sponsor and recipient. The arrangement is usually designed to benefit the sponsor by achieving an expected outcome or product.
Contract terms vary greatly and often require negotiations. Sponsored project contracts are often more heavily regulated than standard grant agreements and carry higher legal and financial risk. Sponsored project contracts are not the same as purchasing contracts with vendors to purchase supplies and equipment.
Agreements similar to a grant, but in which the sponsor’s staff may be actively involved in the proposal preparation and anticipates having substantial involvement in research activities when the award has been made.
Cost Reimbursable Agreement
A type of agreement under which the awarding agency provides payment based on actual, allowable expenditures. The UW is reimbursed for actual costs incurred up to the amount of the award. The frequency of invoices sent by UW to the sponsor is set by the award terms and conditions. Common invoice schedules are monthly or quarterly.
The portion of total costs of a sponsored project that is not provided by the sponsor. Also referred to as “match”, “matching”, or the “non-federal” portion of a budget.
Cost Transfer (CT)
A cost transfer is an after-the-fact reallocation of costs, either salary (referred to as SCT) or non-salary costs, to or from a sponsored project within a 90-calendar day period from the accounting date. Funding agency requirements concerning the management of awards made to institutions such as the UW–Madison limit the circumstances under which cost transfers are allowed.
Department ID Number
A department ID represents an organizational unit or reporting entity such as a segment of a school or college. Also referred to as a UDDS number.
Examples: A561000, A568000.
Effort must be reported and certified for all individuals who receive salary support from a sponsored project or who expend committed effort on a sponsored project regardless of receiving salary support from the sponsor. Payroll should never be higher than the level of effort proposed to the Sponsor.
Facilities and Administration (F&A) or Indirect Costs
Actual costs that the institution incurs in support of extramural activities but which cannot be directly charged to a specific grant or contract. The costs result from shared services such as libraries, physical plant operation and maintenance, utility costs, general, departmental and sponsored projects’ administrative expenses, and depreciation or use allowance for buildings and equipment. F&A costs also are sometimes called indirect costs or institutional overhead.
FAST (Finance/Accounting Snapshot Tool)
A system created by the School of Medicine and Public Health to allow manipulation and forecasting for grants and accounts for planning purposes.
Fixed Priced Agreement
A type of agreement under which the awarding agency or passthrough entity provides a specific level of funding without regard to actual expenditures. Terms of Agreement will specify payment terms.
Indirect Cost Base
The base to which Indirect Costs (F&A) are applied. The MTDC base means Modified Total Direct Costs, which includes all direct salaries and wages, applicable fringe benefits, materials and supplies, services, travel, and up to the first $25,000 of each subaward. Equipment and tuition are excluded from this base.
The project PI and anyone else deemed absolutely essential to complete the proposed research. Often NIH will only consider the PI as key no matter who is indicated in the Budget Justification.
Source of funds could be from internal sources such as State, departmental, or institutional entities. Gift projects are generally considered non-sponsored projects and may be funded by multiple sources. They generally do not have billing or reporting requirements, “effort” reporting is generally not required, F&A is generally not charged, they generally do not have conditions attached, and the time period may extend beyond a fiscal year or be within the fiscal year.
Notice of Award (NOA)
Document from the sponsor that indicates all terms of the award including project periods, amount funded, and any special reporting requirements.
Project ID Number
A seven-character alphanumeric values used to capture all the transactions associated with a specific grant, contract or activity. Project IDs are required when used in combination with funds 133, 135, 144, 150, and 233. Projects can be Sponsored or Non-sponsored.
A cost is reasonable if a prudent person would pay the same amount for the item or “If it were published on the front page of the Wisconsin State Journal, would that be okay with you?”
A subaward provided by one UW System school to another UW System school.
Example: UW–Madison to UW–Green Bay.
Externally funded activities in which the university and the sponsor enter into a formal written agreement (i.e., a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement). Sponsors place restrictions on the way the funds are used and/or maintain the right to terminate funding. Sponsored projects are characterized by stated objectives to be accomplished within a specific period of time and budget, and generally require financial reports and/or scientific progress reports. Reporting requirements include “effort” reporting (work performed), F&A overhead costs are usually charged, detailed financial accountability and compliance with the sponsor’s terms and conditions are required, and the time period often extends beyond a fiscal year.
An award provided by a pass-through (prime recipient) entity to a subrecipient for the subrecipient to carry out part of an award received by the pass-through entity. Sometimes referred to as “consortium.”
A benefit to graduate students holding a Research Assistant, Teaching Assistant, or Program/Project Assistant appointment to help alleviate the cost of tuition. The tuition charges (segregated fees not included) are waived for eligible graduate students. All projects including these titles must include tuition remission in the OTHER section of a federal budget and it should be excluded from indirect calculations.
UW–Madison Award Number
The award number is a six-digit number preceded by “MSN” and assigned to a sponsored project (ex: MSN123456). Each sponsored project only has one award number, even though it might have several project numbers associated with it. This internal number is generated in WISPER at the time of proposal preparation.
Voluntary Committed Cost Sharing
Cost sharing that is offered in a proposal but not required by the sponsor as a condition of proposal submission. Once offered by the institution in the proposal’s budget and agreed to by the sponsor, it becomes an obligation the university must fulfill.
Contains financial data from the Shared Financial System (SFS) and Human Resources System (HRS), which is useful for grant management. WISER contains transactions as well as demographic data on projects/grants. WISER also houses information on other funds like 101‐department funds and 233‐gift funds. It is not a projection tool. It is based on info entered by other humans so human error is a factor. It can only tell you what has already posted, not what is coming next.
The Wisconsin Proposal Electronic Routing system is a web-based system for electronic routing of applications and agreements related to extramural funding.