Account Change

An adjustment within the same project where payroll costs are moved between chartfield lines.

Acquisition Cost of Equipment

The price of the property including the cost of modifications, attachments, accessories or auxiliary apparatus necessary to make the property usable for the purpose for which it was acquired.  Other charges, such as installation, transportation, taxes, duty, protective in-transit insurance, shall be included if these costs are listed on the same invoice. 

Advance/Risk Project

A project will be placed on risk status to allow for costs to be incurred on or after the effective date of the award, but prior to the University’s receipt of the award documents.  This may be requested for a new award or continuation of the existing award.


The charge is permitted under Federal regulations or the terms of the sponsored agreement.


A cost is allocable to a particular sponsored project if the goods or services involved are chargeable or assignable to the project in accordance with the relative benefits received in proportion to use on an award.

Asset Tag

The number given to a piece of equipment that serves as the main unit of a system with numbered components.


Funds provided to the University by a Sponsor for an activity with a defined scope, defined purpose, and with the expectation of an outcome that directly benefits the Sponsor. Awards may be established in such forms as a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement.

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Clinical Trials

A form of clinical research that involves researcher(s) who directly observe a person or people, and/or who collect data to answer a scientific or medical question about the safety or potential benefit of an intervention such as a medication, device, or behavioral change.


The process by which a Federal or non-Federal awarding sponsor determines that all applicable administrative actions and all required work of the award have been completed by the recipient and sponsor.  This refers both to an internal closeout as well as ensuring external sponsor requirements have been met.

Consistently Treated

An expense must be treated consistently based on the circumstances, i.e., direct costs or indirect costs.


An individual, firm, company or institution who provides needed expertise to a project for a limited period of time. They function as independent contractors (with little or no day-to-day supervision by NYU staff) and they are not employees of the University. Consultants are typically paid on an hourly or daily fee including reimbursement for travel and other incidental expenses. Consultant agreements issued for sponsored projects are executed by the Contract Office.


Normally used by a sponsor whenever the principal purpose of the relationship is to acquire, by purchase, lease, or barter, property or services for the direct benefit or use of the sponsor. 

Cooperative Agreements

Financial assistance mechanisms used when substantial Federal programmatic involvement with the recipient during performance is anticipated by the Federal agency.  They are frequently used for complex projects headed by a single PI or for networks of sites around the country that undertake a standard clinical protocol and contribute data to a central data coordinating center.  They may also be used for conference grants where the sponsor will have major involvement.

In general, cooperative agreements are awarded in response to requests for application (RFAs), and not to unsolicited proposals. They frequently include special terms and conditions in addition to those that apply to grants.  

Cost Sharing That portion of a project or program cost that is not reimbursed by the sponsor (whether Federal or non-Federal), and as such, represents a commitment of institutional resources that would otherwise be devoted to other University purposes.  Normally at NYU, cost sharing involves personnel effort; however, other costs, such as equipment, may be used.
  • Mandatory - may be required by the sponsor as a condition of the award and becomes an obligation once an award is made.
  • Voluntary Committed - may be offered by NYU and becomes an obligation once an award is made.
  • Voluntary Uncommitted - faculty effort over and above that level which is committed and budgeted for in a sponsored agreement.
Cost Transfer

A transfer to or from a sponsored award of a charge previously allocated to a different funding source.


  • Transfer pre-award costs from departmental holding account
  • Correct clerical error
  • Reallocate salary and fringe benefits to reflect actual effort
  • Reallocate shared services that were previously charged elsewhere
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Departmental Research

The amounts expended for start-up, seed money, bid, and proposal are classified as "departmental research."  An account which is set up to provide faculty with funds for release time to further academic knowledge may be included in the category of "departmental research."

Direct Costs

Those expenses that directly further the programmatic objectives of a sponsored project with a high degree of accuracy.

Domestic Travel

Travel performed within the recipient's own country.  For the U.S., it includes travel within and between any of the 50 States of the U.S. and its possessions, territories, Canada and, in most cases, Mexico.

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The work or portion of time devoted to a particular activity, expressed as a percentage of salary paid by NYU as defined by the Institutional Base Salary (IBS). 

Equipment (also referred to as property or asset):

Tangible, non-expendable, personal property having an anticipated useful life of one year or more with a unit acquisition cost of $3,000 or greater. 

Excess Property

Property under the control of any Federal awarding agency that is no longer required for its intended purpose.  The Federal awarding agency approves the PIs recommendation to deem it “excess property.”

Expanded Authority

Federal Agencies delegate authority for approval of certain cost related activities and expenditures to the grantee. These operating authorities are designated as “expanded authorities.”  See “Expanded Authority Summary” in PDF. (

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Facilities & Administrative  (F&A) Costs

General business expenses that are not specifically identifiable to a sponsored project, but rather support the project indirectly.  Examples of F&A expenses include space costs, utilities, and general, sponsored projects, and departmental administration costs.  These costs are also known as indirect costs or overhead.  See also Indirect Costs.

Federal Contract (Procurement)

The appropriate agreement to be used in a relationship between the Federal government and a recipient whenever (1) the principal purpose of the relationship is to acquire, by purchase, lease, or barter, property or services for the direct benefit or use of the Federal government; or (2) a Federal executive agency determines in a specific instance that the use of a type of procurement contract is appropriate.  Federal contracts are governed by the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).

Federal Demonstration Project – General Terms and Conditions

A cooperative effort between specific Federal research agencies and specific universities or other institutes of higher education that are recipients of Federal funds. The FDP was established to increase research productivity by streamlining and improving administrative procedures and minimizing the administrative burden on Principal Investigators, while maintaining effective stewardship of Federal funds. 

Not all grants issued by the participating Federal agencies are under FDP terms and conditions.  FDP terms and conditions are not applicable to Federal contracts.

Federally-owned Equipment

Equipment under the University’s control to which Federal Government retains title (also called Government-owned Property).

Foreign Travel

Travel outside of the United States, its territories and possessions, Canada and, in most cases, Mexico. However, for a foreign organization as described above, foreign travel means travel outside that country. 

When an award is Federally funded, the employee must comply with the requirements of the FLY AMERICA ACT.

Funding Limitation

The limitation on the annual rate of NYU salary for full-time effort that the sponsor provides for an award. This limit is usually established at the time of a competitive award based on the salary cap in effect at that time.  However, if after a competitive award is made, the sponsor announces an increased Salary Cap, the sponsor may allow Principal Investigators to re-budget awarded funds, in that or future years, to charge the higher salary level.  NIH has not historically provided additional funds as a result of an increase in the Salary Cap.

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Any item of value given to the University by a donor who expects nothing significant of value in return, other than recognition and disposition of the gift in accordance with the donor's wishes.

Government Contract

An "acquisition" mechanism: a legally binding agreement to furnish specific goods and services (deliverables) to a federal agency under very specific terms and conditions, normally under Federal Acquisition Regulations. Even minor changes to the original plan usually require prior approval by the Contracting Officer.


An award of financial assistance in the form of money by the Federal government or other sponsors to an eligible grantee with no expectation that the funds will be paid back.  The term does not include technical assistance which provides services instead of money, or other assistance in the form of revenue sharing, loans, loan guarantees, interest subsidies, insurance, or direct appropriations.

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Indirect Costs

General business expenses that are not specifically identifiable to a sponsored project, but rather, support the project indirectly.  This term is also referred to  as Facilities and Administrative Costs (F&A) or overhead. Examples of F&A/ overhead expenses include space costs, utilities, general, sponsored projects and departmental administration costs.


Non-cash donation of tangible or intangible goods and services provided by a third party. In-kind services that are committed as matching must be documented and may require a certification of fair market value. 

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)

A committee that provides oversight for use of animals in research. Institutions that use animals for Federally funded laboratory research must have an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).  At NYU, this is known as the University Animal Welfare Committee (UAWC).  The UAWC reviews research protocols and conducts evaluations of the institution's animal care and use which includes the results of inspections of facilities, as required by law.

Institutional Base Salary (IBS) Institutional Base Salary (IBS) is the compensation that NYU pays an employee, whether that individual's time is spent on research, teaching, administrative and other service, patient care, or other activities.  The compensation relevant in determining IBS is the amount that is guaranteed and fixed in advance by the appointment letter or employment agreement and paid through the NYU payroll system.
Institutional Review Board (IRB)

A committee that has been formally designated to approve, monitor, and review research involving human subjects.  Also known at NYU as the University Committee on Activities Involving Human Subjects (UCAIHS).

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Mandatory Cost Sharing

Costs borne by the institution and required by a sponsor as a condition of obtaining an award. Mandatory Cost Sharing is a binding commitment for NYU, and must be documented, tracked and reported in accordance with the Cost Sharing Policy.


The requirement by some sponsors that grant funds be matched in specific proportion with funds from NYU or another party, whether received from another non-Federal sponsor or committed by a collaborating organization.

Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC)

The base of costs to which F&A (indirect cost) rates are applied.  The Negotiated Rate Agreement defines this base as follows:

“Modified Total Direct Costs consist of all salaries and wages, fringe benefits, materials and 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.”

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No-Cost Extension

An extension of the date at which the project ends that does not involve additional funding.

NYU Salary

The pay that an individual receives from New York University upon which benefits are calculated. At NYU pay is established by the Institutional Base Salary (IBS). The IBS is the compensation that NYU pays an employee, whether that individual's time is spent on research, teaching, administrative and other service, patient care, or other activities.  The compensation relevant in determining IBS is the amount that is guaranteed and fixed in advance by the appointment letter or employment agreement and paid through the NYU payroll system. Faculty practice compensation that is not guaranteed to the faculty member should be excluded from IBS.

Off Campus

A project, or a part of the project, is considered to be performed off-campus if it is conducted off the University premises (in a facility not owned or operated by NYU) for a consecutive period of 3 months or longer. 

OMB Circular A-21, Cost Principles for Educational Institutions

The set of Federal regulations which establishes the principles for determining costs applicable to Federal grants, contracts and other agreements with educational institutions.

Other Sponsored Programs

Programs and projects financed by Federal and non-Federal agencies and organizations whose performance of work includes functions other than Instruction or Sponsored Research.

Other Than Personnel Services (OTPS)

Direct costs for sponsored projects exclusive of salaries and fringe benefits.

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Pass-through Entity

A non-Federal entity that provides an award to a subawardee to carry out a program through a Statement of Work on a sponsored project. The pass-through entity assumes many of the responsibilities typically assigned to a prime sponsor in issuance and oversight of an award to a grantee or contractor, including verification of the financial viability, adequacy of compliance controls, audit status, as well as fulfillment of its portion of the programmatic effort.

Pre-Award Spending

Costs incurred prior to the "effective date" of the award.  See Advance/Risk Project.

Program Income

Gross income earned by the recipient that is directly generated by a supported activity or earned as a result of an award.


Within the context of the policy, Property Management for Federally Owned Equipment, “property” primarily includes equipment.  However, depending on regulatory or other contractual requirements, it may also include materials and supplies.

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A cost is considered reasonable if the nature of the goods or services acquired or applied and the amount reflects the action that a prudent person would have taken under the circumstances prevailing at the time the decision to incur the cost was made.


The transfer of grant funds from one budget line (e.g., salaries, supplies, travel, equipment) to another budget line. When re-budgeting has occurred, the total amount of funding authorized for the grant has not changed.

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Salary Cap

The maximum annual rate of NYU Salary for the level of effort that can be charged to a sponsored award. Normally it is indexed to a specific government Executive Pay Level.

Salary Cap – Annual Rate

The amount of pay an individual would receive from NYU for a 12-month period.  For 9-month faculty, take the 9-month base, divide by 9 and multiply by 12.

Small Business Subcontract Plan

Mandated under FAR 52.219-9 and applicable to Federal contracts that exceed the simplified acquisition threshold (currently $650,000); a plan is required which details the amount of goods or services which will be acquired from Small Businesses.


An individual, institution, or agency that enters into an agreement with the University to support, through an award (grant, contract, or cooperative agreement) a project or work of a certain scope.

Sponsored Instruction

Specific instructional or training activity established by grant, contract or cooperative agreement. Sponsored Instruction includes agreements that support curriculum development and teaching/training activities (other than research training).  Teaching/training activities include those offered for credit toward a degree or certificate, on a non-credit basis, or through regular academic departments or by separate divisions, summer school or external division.

Sponsored Projects

Signed awards (grant, contract, or cooperative agreement) under which the University agrees to perform a certain scope of work for an external sponsor.

Sponsored Research

All research and development activities that are sponsored by Federal and non-Federal agencies and organizations and are separately budgeted and accounted for.  This category also represents the training of individuals in research techniques (commonly referred to as research training) where such activities utilize the same facilities as other research and development activities and where such activities are not included in the instruction function.

Subaward (also referred to as a Subgrant)

A formal written agreement made between NYU and a "Subawardee" (as defined below) to perform a portion of the Statement of Work under a NYU sponsored project. 

Subawardee (also referred to as a Subrecipient or a Subgrantee )

An entity that expends award funds received from the prime grantee to carry out a portion of the prime’s programmatic effort under a sponsored project.


A written agreement between the University and a third party, often issued under a sponsored project, to procure goods or services. The term may refer either to an agreement with a subrecipient or with a vendor.


Goods which are consumable, perishable or short lived, and are subject to material change or items of a durable nature with an anticipated useful life of less than one year or with a unit acquisition cost of less than $3,000.

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Third party contributions

The value of cash or non-cash contributions directly benefiting a grant-supported project or program that is provided by non-Federal third parties.

Unallowable costs

Expenses, whether direct or indirect costs, that are not reimbursable under either Federal regulations and/or the terms and conditions of a sponsored award.

University Effort

The sum of all professional activities for which NYU compensates an individual. 

University Research

Research and development activities that are both separately budgeted and accounted for by the University, and funded by the University rather than an external sponsor.

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Voluntary Committed Cost Sharing

Quantifiable contributions reflected in the proposal narrative, budget, and/or budget justification, but which are not mandated by the sponsor. Voluntary committed cost sharing becomes a binding commitment on the University when proposed and accepted in the award. 

Voluntary Uncommitted Cost Sharing

Faculty-donated additional time above that agreed to as part of the award.