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Definition of Terms


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Below are Frequently Asked Questions and definitions for some commonly used terms and acronyms:





Q:  I'm interested in applying for a grant, where do I begin?

A:  Please see Grant Proposal Preparation on this web site.


Q:  What is the difference between  F&A costs and fringe benefits?

A:  Fringe benefits include those benefits paid by RHIT which are a part of the employee compensation package (eg. health insurance, life insurance, retirement, etc.).  F&A costs are the costs incurred by RHIT as a result of performing research which are NOT directly assignable to a particular project (eg. purchasing, sponsored programs, facilities, utilities, etc.)


Q:  When estimating personnel costs for a project, how do I apply the fringe benefit and F&A rates?

A:  The fringe benefit rate is applied to salary and wages (remember different rates for faculty salary, depending upon when work is performed).  The F&A rate is applied to total salary and wages only (exclude fringe benefits).


Q:  I'm going to collaborate with another Institution on a proposal (RHIT will be a subrecipient).  What are the approval requirements for this situation?

A:  The proposal preparation and review process is the same as that for a proposal submitted directly by RHIT to an external sponsor. 


Q:  What am I verifying on the Activity Distribution Report and why?

A:  The report is a requirement of OMB Circular A-21 and is generated from the RHIT payroll system.  The purpose of the report is for you to verify that the effort charged to a grant or contract during the reporting period accurately reflects how you spent your time during the period.  Inaccurate reports should be reported or returned to Sponsored Programs for correction.







Definition of Terms

Cost-Share or Matching Funds- Funds the Institution commits to spend on a particular project from its own resources (3rd party sources may be allowed).  Cost-share or matching funds may be required by the sponsor.  Additionally, the sponsor may specify what sources of funds and/or what type of expenditures will meet the cost-share or match requirement.

Direct Costs- These costs are directly attributable to the performance of a research project, eg. salary and benefits, supplies, travel, equipment, etc.

F&A Costs- Facilities and Administrative Costs.  This term replaced the term "Indirect Cost".  These costs are also referred to as "overhead" and represent the costs of performing research at an institution that are NOT directly assignable to a particular project, eg.   the cost of administration, purchasing, accounts payable, sponsored programs, Dean's office, facilities, utilities, etc.

F&A Rate- Facilities and Administrative Cost Rate.  Entities engaged in federal research negotiate an F&A rate agreement with a cognizant agency of the federal government.  RHIT prepares an F&A cost proposal every 3-4 years based on government prescribed guidelines.  Be careful when comparing F&A rates from school to school!  There are several different possibilities for the base of an institution's F&A rate.  For some schools the rate is applied to all direct costs except equipment and a portion of subcontract expense (modified total direct cost base or MTDC base).  For others, like RHIT, F&A rates are applied to salary and wage costs only (salary and wage base or SW base).

Fringe Benefits-  Fringe benefits are those benefits RHIT pays for as a part of an employee's compensation package.  Included in fringe benefits are:  employer share of FICA/medicare tax, health insurance, life insurance, retirement contribution, and disability insurance.

Fringe Benefit Rate- The fringe benefit rate is calculated by RHIT each year and represents the pooled fringe benefit cost as a percent of pooled salary cost for the Institute.  The fringe benefit rate is applied to salary to determine the cost of fringe benefits associated with salary expense. 




IACUC- Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. Committee responsible for reviewing and approving research involving animals.  See "Compliance" for more information.

IDC- Indirect costs.  This term has been replaced with a new term, "Facilities and Administrative Costs" or "F&A" costs. 

IDC Rate- Indirect Cost Rate.  See "F&A Rate"

IRB- Institutional Review Board.  The body responsible for reviewing and approving human subject research.  See "Compliance" for more information.

NDA- Non-Disclosure Agreement. 

NGA- Notice of Grant Award.  The official document received from federal government notifying an Institution of an award and the terms and conditions applicable to the award.

NIH-National Institutes of Health.

NSF-National Science Foundation.

OSP- Office of Sponsored Programs

PA- Program Announcement.  Document announcing the availability of funds for a particular (usually government) program or initiative.

PHS-Public Health Service.

PI- Principal Investigator.  The individual responsible for oversight, compliance and directing the research project.

RFA- Request for Applications.

SRO- Sponsored Research Office




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