Research & Sponsored Programs Glossary

Page Updated: January 27, 2023

# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
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The UW-Madison fund identifier that indicates a Non-Federal Sponsored Project. The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (RSP) establishes these numbers at the time of award. Examples: Gates Foundation, American Heart Association, and Ford Motor Company.
The UW-Madison fund identifier that indicates Hatch Funds, a specific kind of Federal Sponsored Project that is managed entirely by the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.
The UW-Madison fund identifier that indicates a Federal Sponsored Project. Pass-through awards where the Prime Sponsor is a federal entity also use this fund. The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (RSP) establishes these numbers at the time of award. Examples: National Institutes of Health and Department of Energy
The internal UW-Madison fund identifier that indicates a Gift Account. These projects are established by Business Services and often involve a relationship with the UW Foundation.
Academic Support Services Agreement (ASSA)
A service agreement of a unique or sole source nature that supports the research or educational mission of the University. Academic Support Services Agreements are typically ‘work for hire’ contracts, not collaborations, where the University will own the intellectual property created by the engagement.
Accounts Receivable
An open receivable is created after an invoice is generated. Accounts receivable occur when there is an amount due from a sponsor. RSP Revenue Management
Accrual Accounting
A basis of accounting that recognizes revenue when earned, and expenses when incurred, regardless of when cash changes hands.
A cost can be allocated or assigned to a sponsored project if the goods or services received in exchange advance the project objectives in reasonable proportion to the cost incurred. If you cannot explain how the project benefited from the expense, it should not be allocated to the award.  Explanation of Costs
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 cost principles and/or the sponsored agreement. Explanation of Costs
Automated Clearing House (ACH)
An electronic clearing and settlement network for processing large volumes of financial transactions in batches between participating depository institutions.
A funding mechanism whereby a sponsor commits funding to the University for a specific scope of work over a specific time. At UW-Madison, awards are made to the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System.
Biosketch (Bio, Biographical Sketch)
Like a CV or resume, the biosketch in a grant proposal gives the investigators the opportunity to highlight their expertise and experience related to the proposal work. The format and length may be specified in the sponsor’s guidelines.
Budget Justification
A categorical description of proposed costs. The budget justification provides detailed information about how the funding will be used. It should address each major cost category as well as additional categories required by the sponsor.
Budget Period
The time interval from the start date of a funded portion of an award to the end date of that funded portion during which recipients are authorized to expend the funds awarded.
Budget Tolerance
The range within a budget category, which the university can spend without having to request prior approval from the sponsor.  For example, you have $500 in your travel category and a 10% budget tolerance.  That means you could spend up to $550 on travel without asking for prior approval from the sponsor.  If you had to spend $600 on travel, the university would have to contact the sponsor to ask permission to rebudget.
Business Associate Agreement (BAA)
An agreement entered into by the University and a Business Associate. The agreement is intended to govern the manner in which the Business Associate uses and discloses protected health information obtained from or on behalf of the UW-Madison under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Cash Basis Accounting
A form of accounting where revenue and expenses are recognized when cash is received or paid.
A web-based system for submitting applications via Also known as a “system-to-system” solution for preparing and submitting applications. Cayuse provides significant auto-filling of forms, extensive error checking and the ability to see the entire proposal before submission. Learn more at
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.
The award closeout process is the act of completing all institutional procedures and sponsor requirements to terminate or complete a sponsored project. Additional closeout activities take place at RSP to move the Award into WISER statuses 3-Closed-Adjustments Only, 5-Closed, and 6-Closed-Archived.
An individual who works closely with the Principal Investigator in the scientific development or execution of a project. The Co-Investigator may be employed by, or be affiliated with, the UW or another organization participating in the project under a subaward agreement. A Co-Investigator typically devotes a specified percentage of time to the project and is considered senior/key personnel. The designation of a Co-Investigator does not imply a multi PI project and a Co-Investigator is not the same as a Co-Principal Investigator. * Note: The terms Co-I and Co-PI are used interchangeably in the UW WISPER and WISER systems.
Co-Principal Investigator or Co-PI
This terms is used to identify more than one Principal Investigator on a single award. The designation of Co-PI implies a multi-PI project where each PI holds equal responsibility for the scientific and technical aspects and day to day financial and administrative management of the award. The Co-PI may be employed by, or be affiliated with, the UW or another organization participating in the proejct under a subaward agreement. The desigantion of a Co-PI implies equal responsibilities and differs from that of a Co-Investigator or Co-I. *Note: The terms Co-PI and Co-I are used interchangably in the UW WISPER and WISER systems.
UW-Madison has 16 different colleges and schools. It is common for a college or school to be referred to interchangeably as either "college", "division", or "school." Examples: School of Business, College of Letters and Sciences, School of Pharmacy, etc.
At the proposal stage - it's the amount of effort you propose in a grant proposal budget or other project application budget, regardless if salary support is requested. At the award stage - it's the amount of effort proposed that the sponsor accepts & awards, regardless of salary support that they provide. (The proposal or commitments listing may be included in the notice of grant award, but not always. It varies by agency. If it's not there - you'll have to refer to the proposal as your commitment guide).
Computation E-mail
A Research and Sponsored Programs (RSP) term used to describe an e-mail sent from the RSP Accountant to campus representatives near the end of an award period. This e-mail should include a final computation and review of expenditures along with instructions indicating next steps for closeout. Award Closeout-Computation Email
Confidentiality Disclosure Agreement (CDA)
A legal contract executed between entities permitting the exchange of information that is confidential to one or both parties.
Conflict of Interest (COI)
A Conflict of Interest exists when an investigator has a significant financial interest (SFI) that could lead an independent observer to reasonably question whether the design, conduct or reporting of research might be influenced by the possibility of personal gain. “Personal gain” encompasses direct, personal benefits AND benefits to an individual’s immediate family. COIs simply represent a state of affairs, not behavior. If the COI Committee determines an investigator has a COI, it does not imply wrongdoing on anybody’s part.  FCOI
An individual or group who gives expert or professional advice to a University department or principal investigator that relates to the University’s mission or a specific project.
An agreement that creates obligations enforceable by law. 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. Federal Contracts are governed by the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR).
Cooperative Agreement
An instrument to transfer financial assistance to a recipient for a public purpose that anticipates substantial involvement between the sponsor and recipient in carrying out the activity.
Cost Reimbursable
A payment mechanism 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.
Cost Transfer (CT)
A cost transfer is an after-the-fact reallocation of costs, either salary or non-salary costs, to or from a sponsored project within a 90-day period from month end of the accounting date. Funding agency requirements concerning the management of awards made to institutions such as the University of Wisconsin – Madison limit the circumstances under which cost transfers are allowed. Cost Transfer
Cost Transfer Tool
UW's web-based form and routing system that is available to process both non-salary and salary cost-transfers. Tool available here Cost Transfer Tool
The portion of costs on 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-Share
Current and Pending Support (CPS)
A list of an investigator's current and pending sponsored support. CPS documents report an individual's commitments to current and pending sponsored projects. The CPS ensures that an individual is not overcommitted and that a proposed scope of work does not overlap with other projects in the individual’s portfolio. Consult sponsor requirements for details. RSP has a tool to assist in creating CPS documents for proposal submission
Data Transfer and Use Agreement (DTUA)
An agreement entered into for sharing access to data sets that are not protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number
The Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number is a unique nine-digit identifier for businesses. It is used to establish a business credit file, which is often referenced by lenders and potential business partners to help predict the reliability and/or financial stability of the company in question. Often, Sponsors request UW-Madison's DUNS Number as part of the proposal and award process for extramural grants and contracts. UW-Madison has a unique DUNS Number for sponsored programs: 161202122. This number is to be used only with extramural support grants and contracts.
Data Use Agreement (DUA)
An agreement governed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) entered into for the sharing of a Protected Health Information (PHI) that has had specific identifiers stripped out to make a limited data set.
Direct Cost
A cost that can be specifically assigned to a sponsored project relatively easily with a high degree of accuracy. Direct Costs are charged directly to sponsored projects and are clearly identified within that project's activity and objectives.Direct Costs
Effort Certification
Anyone who works on a federal or non-federal sponsored project must certify their effort or have it certified by the PI or PI Designee through the UW-Madison ECRT system. This includes faculty, academic staff, university staff, graduate students, and postdoctoral trainees. The University applies the same standards for fiscal accountability to both federal and non-federal sponsored projects. For More Information Effort Certification
Effort Certification and Reporting Technology (ECRT) System
A UW-Madison electronic tool that facilitates the University’s effort certification process. When someone certifies effort in ECRT, they are providing assurance to sponsors that salary charges to sponsored projects are reasonable in relation to work performed and that project staff have met their commitments to sponsored projects. Federal and University policies require individuals who work on sponsored projects to certify 100% of their University effort. ECRT is an easy-to-use system that helps you comply with these policies. ECRT
Effort Commitment
The amount of effort (time) that is proposed in a proposal and accepted by the sponsor, regardless of salary support requested. The University of Wisconsin-Madison tracks effort commitments for individuals identified as Key Personnel in the notice of award. Effort Commitments
Employee-Employee Relationship
An employer-employee relationship exists when an employer has the right to direct and control the work of an individual who performs the services, including not only the results to be accomplished but also the methods and means by which the results are accomplished. Even if the employer does not exercise the right to direct or control the manner in which the worker performs the services, the fact that the employer retains the right to do so is sufficient to create an employer-employee relationship.
Employer-Employee Relationship
An employer-employee relationship exists when an employer has the right to direct and control the work of an individual who performs the services, including not only the results to be accomplished but also the methods and means by which the results are accomplished. Even if the employer does not exercise the right to direct or control the manner in which the worker performs the services, the fact that the employer retains the right to do so is sufficient to create an employer-employee relationship.
A commitment to make a future expenditure of funds. Encumbrances are not expenses.
Tangible property (including information technology systems) with a useful life of more than one year and a per-unit acquisition cost of $5,000 or more.
An expense or portion of an expense allocated to a specific project.
Export Control
For purposes of export control laws, “export” means not only the physical shipment of items from the United States to a foreign country, but also the release of controlled technology to foreign persons within the United States by way of visual inspection, oral transmission, or training (“deemed export”). In other words, a prohibited export can occur by the mere presence of a foreign researcher or student in a University laboratory, if the laboratory contains equipment or technology that is export controlled, and the foreign individual can learn information about the controlled technology or information that is not in the public domain. Export Control Webpage
Extramural Support
  Support provided by an entity located outside the boundaries of the University. 
Facilities and Administration (F&A) or Indirect Costs
Actual costs that the institution incurs in support of extramural activities but that 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 are sometimes called indirect costs or institutional overhead. Rates
Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR)
The FAR is the principal set of rules in the Federal Acquisition Regulations System. The FAR was established for the codification and publication of uniform policies and procedures for acquisition by all federal executive agencies. The Federal Acquisition Regulations System consists of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), which is the primary document, and agency acquisition regulations that implement or supplement the FAR. The FAR System is codified at Title 48, Chapter 1 of the Code of Federal Regulations. These requirements can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations at 48 C.F.R. 31. FAR
Federal Award
Federal financial assistance (e.g., grant, cooperative agreement, or cost-reimbursement contract under the Federal Acquisition Regulations) that the University receives directly from a Federal awarding agency or a pass-through entity. Also used to refer to the instrument setting forth the terms and conditions. Does not include contracts used to buy goods or services.
Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP)
A cooperative initiative among 10 federal agencies and 155 institutional recipients of federal funds whose purpose is to reduce the administrative burdens associated with research grants and contracts. UW-Madison is a part of the FDP.
Fee for Service Agreement (FFS)
Fee for Service (FFS) Agreements govern vendor relationships where the University serves as the vendor and provides a routine service, which meets predefined specifications with no novel or creative input. The activity does not add to the body of fundamental knowledge in a given field.
Fixed Priced
A payment mechanism under which the awarding agency or pass-through entity provides a specific level of funding without regard to actual expenditures. Terms of Agreement will specify payment terms.
Fringe Benefits
Benefits provided by an employer to an employee such as health and life insurance. Fringe benefits are included in sponsored project budgets using a fringe benefit rate calculated annually. Rates
General Ledger (GL)
The UW-Madison system of record for transactions for the university and that is used to generate the official financial reports of the university.
Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)
Generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) refer to a common set of accepted accounting principles, standards, and procedures that companies and their accountants must follow when they compile their financial statements.
Funds received from a donor to support University activities. These funds provide unrestricted support for broadly defined activities that do not require detailed fiscal or technical reports; do not impose provisions regarding publication or data or information derived from the activity; do not have a specific time limit on the expenditure of funds; and do not enable the donor to retain rights to any patent/copyright.
A contribution of personal or real property, other than cash, which requires annual reporting by the institution.
An agreement representing a mutual joining of interests on the part of the sponsor and recipient in the pursuit of common objectives. In this relationship, the recipient assumes with the sponsor the obligation to act in the public interest in achieving a common purpose. This is a relationship of trust, which imposes upon the recipient the responsibility to assure that the grant funds are utilized for the purpose for which they were awarded, and to exercise the same prudence in their expenditure that is extended to the use of the recipient’s own funds. Note: Often the term “grant” is used generically to refer to any type of sponsored project.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)
United States legislation that provides data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding medical information. HIPAA was designed to provide privacy standards to protect patients' medical records and other health information provided to health plans, doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers. HIPAA
Human Resources System (HRS)
The payroll, benefits, and HR system for UW-system. HRS is composed of PeopleSoft modules and includes human resources, benefits, payroll, and funding processes for all UW System faculty and staff employees.
In-Kind Contributions
Independent Contractor
An independent contractor or an individual (who is not a University employee) is a business firm or an individual that contracts with the University to provide services for which the University controls or directs at most the result of the service, not the means and methods of accomplishing the result.
Indirect Cost Base
The base to which Indirect Costs (F&A) are applied. The MTDC base means Modified Total Direct Costs, that includes all direct salaries and wages, applicable fringe benefits, materials and supplies, services, travel, and up to the first $25,000 of each subaward. The TDC base means Total Direct Costs without exclusions.
Institutional Review Board (IRB)
An administrative body established by the university to protect the rights and welfare of human research subjects recruited to participate in research activities conducted under the auspices of the institution with which it is affiliated.
Intellectual Property (IP)
In general terms, intellectual property is any product of the human intellect that the law protects from unauthorized use by others. During contract negotiation, UW-Madison looks at protectable types -- patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets.
Journal Entry
Financial transactions posted to the general ledger at the UW-Madison ( see General Ledger )
Just-In-Time (JIT)
Specifically refers to NIH's request for additional grant application information after the completion of the peer review, and prior to funding. However, we tend to use the term JIT to indicate all post-application requests. If your sponsored project proposal is funded you will likely get a JIT type request.
Key Personnel
A person who contributes to the scientific or scholarly development or execution of a project in a substantive, measurable way.
Letter of Intent (LOI)
A letter sent to an agency to notify them of one’s intent to submit a proposal. Some requests for proposals require an LOI prior to proposal submission. In some cases, an LOI determines whether a sponsor will allow a full proposal to be submitted. In other cases, it is for informational purposes only
Mandatory Cost Sharing
Mandatory cost sharing is required by the sponsor as a condition for proposal submission and award acceptance. A mandatory cost-sharing requirement will be specified in the sponsor's published request for proposals. If the indicated level of required cost-sharing is not included in a proposal, the proposal will not receive consideration by the sponsor.
Material Transfer Agreement (MTA)
A contract that governs the transfer of tangible research materials between two entities, when the recipient intends to use it for his or her own research or evaluation purposes. The MTA defines the rights of the provider and the recipient with respect to the materials and any derivatives. MTAs protect both the investigator and the industrial partner from liability and loss of intellectual property.
Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC)
MTDC is a base amount in a proposed budget to which F&A (indirect costs) may be applied. MTDC consists of all direct salaries and wages, applicable fringe benefits, materials and supplies, services, travel, and subawards and subcontracts up to the first $25,000 of each subaward. MTDC excludes equipment, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, tuition remission, rental costs, scholarships, and fellowships, participant support costs, and the portion of each subaward and subcontract in excess of $25,000.
National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA)
An organization of individuals involved in the administration of sponsored programs at colleges, universities, and teaching hospitals. NCURA serves its members and advances the field of research administration through education and professional development programs, the sharing of knowledge and experience, and by fostering a professional, collegial, and respected community.
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
A significant Federal sponsor of University research and the nation’s medical research agency. NIH.Gov
National Science Foundation (NSF)
A significant Federal sponsor of University research. An independent federal agency whose mission includes support for all fields of fundamental science and engineering, except for medical sciences. NSF.Gov
No Cost Extension (NCE)
The extension of a project period without additional funding from the sponsor. If a project's end date is approaching but the principal investigator (PI) identifies that the research needs to continue, a no-cost extension allows the end date to be extended. Depending on the award type and sponsor, a formal request may or may not be required to obtain the NCE.
No-fund Agreement (NFA)
A generic term used for any agreement where no money is exchanged. Examples: CDA, MTA, Teaming Agreement, etc.
Office of Business Engagement
The Office of Business Engagement connects business and industry with the resources they need to advance their businesses. We help businesses of all sizes facilitate seamless access across the university community, including in the areas of sponsored research. Our team will work closely with you to understand relevant interests and needs, to bring together contacts and experts from across campus and to develop strategies for a successful business relationship.
Other Support (OS)
Information requested by the sponsor, including all financial resources, whether Federal, non-Federal, commercial or institutional, available in direct support of an individual’s research endeavors, including but not limited to research grants, cooperative agreements, contracts, and/or institutional awards. Other Support documentation may be required at time of proposal or requested at the Just In Time (JIT) stage. Typically training awards, prizes, or gifts do NOT need to be included.
Outside Activities Report (OAR)
A researcher's outside activities may generate conflicts between the needs of the institution and the outside entity, so policies of UW System, federal government, and the UW require all faculty, academic staff and individuals listed as participants on human subject protocols or on federal grants to disclose all of their outside activities related to institutional responsibilities annually using the Outside Activities Report. OAR
Participant Support Costs
Direct costs for items such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of project participants or trainees (but not employees) in connection with conferences or training projects. Participant Support
Pass-Through Entity/Prime Recipient
The lead institution of a grant proposal. For example, if UW-Madison submits a proposal to NIH in which the University of Michigan is a subrecipient, UW-Madison is the pass-through entity and prime recipient because NIH has given the funding to UW-Madison with the intention of “passing through” the funding to the University of Michigan.
Payment to Individual Report (PIR)
Payments to individual who are not employed by the university. An individual in this context is defined as a person who is not a company, partnership, corporation, association, organization, trust or estate, and for whom an employer-employee relationship does not exist. PIR
The UW System’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. The PeopleSoft product most often used by research administrators is Shared Financial System (SFS), which includes the following modules: WISPER, GL, Grants, Accounts Payable (AP), Accounts Receivable (AR), and other financial components.   HRS and the Student Information System (SIS) are also PeopleSoft systems.
Period of Performance
The period of time during which a grantee is expected to complete the sponsored activities and incur/expend approved funds authorized under a sponsored award. The awarding agency must include start and end dates of the period of performance in the notice of award.
Principal Investigator (PI)
The individual, designated by the university who is responsible for scientific or technical aspects of the grant/contract and the day-to-day financial and administrative management of the grant or contract. PIs must have an appropriate UW-Madison appointment.Individuals classified as having University PI Status include: Tenured or Tenure Track Faculty appointments, Clinical/Health Sciences (CHS) Track appointments, Research Professor Track appointments, and UW-Madison Staff with Permanent PI status. Individuals with other appointments may be able to serve as PI under certain circumstances. PI
Program Income
Program income is gross income—earned by a recipient, subrecipient, or a contractor under a grant—directly generated by the grant-supported activity or earned as a result of the award. Program income includes, but is not limited to, income from fees for services performed; charges for the use or rental of real property, equipment, or supplies acquired under the grant; the sale of commodities or items fabricated under an award; registration or conference fees for workshops, courses, or hosted events; charges for research resources; and license fees and royalties on patents and copyrights.
Project Assistant
These titles designate graduate students enrolled in a UW System institution who are employed to assist with research, training, or other academic programs or projects at UW-Madison.
Project Number
An internal project number is a seven digit code that includes three letters followed by four numbers (ex: AAA1234) and is assigned to part or all of a sponsored project, under an award number. An award can have one or multiple project numbers. Extramural support (133 and 144) project numbers are created by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs Office at the time of award setup.
A request for external funding prepared in accordance with the sponsor’s instructions.  The proposal is an official record of what is promised to a sponsor by the University in return for the funding requested in the proposal budget. Proposal Prep
Proposal & Award Policies and Procedures (PAPPG)
The document that relates to the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) proposal and award process for NSF’s assistance programs.  Part I sets forth NSF’s proposal preparation and submission guidelines.  Part II sets forth NSF policies and procedures regarding the award, administration, and monitoring of grants and cooperative agreements.  The PAPPG does not apply to NSF contracts. NSF PAPPG
Purchasing Card (P-Card)
University issued credit card intended for low-dollar, best-judgment purchases to be paid directly by the University. The Purchasing Card is intended for best judgment purchases under $5,000. All purchases must comply with the University of Wisconsin-Madison's purchasing and accounting policies and procedures, and with extramural funding agency restrictions. The purchasing card is assigned to a specific UW-Madison employee and may only be used by that individual.
Purchasing Services Office
Located within UW-Madison’s Division of Business Services, Purchasing is the office that provides professional procurement services. Purchasing Services
Costs must be reasonable to be allowable on a project. A cost is reasonable if a prudent person would pay the same amount for the item or service or would be okay if the cost were published on the front page of the Wisconsin State Journal. Explanation of Costs
Regent Category
The UW System Regent Category defines the purpose of extramurally supported awards received.  At the time of award acceptance, the appropriate regent category is identified for reporting purposes.  The UW System Regent Categories are:  Institutional Support, Instruction, Hospitals, Libraries, Physical Plant, Public Service, Research, Student Aid, Academic Support, Auxiliary and Miscellaneous.
A unique pass-through funding mechanism (similar to a subaward or shared grant) in which the UW receives funding from a sponsor and then passes it through to a potential 'grantee' who has been selected from a panel to perform a project of their own design and direction. The UW department/unit will issue a Request for Proposals in which potential grantees will submit proposals. The regrantee is typically adding intellectual content to their individual project, which may build on the larger aims of our (UW) prime award. Regrants can be funded by various sources, such as state awards, federal grant funds and private grant funds.
Renewal Award
An award made subsequent to an expiring award for which the start date is contiguous with, or closely follows, the end of the expiring award. A renewal award's start date will begin a distinct period of performance.
Request for Proposal (RFP)
Announcements from an external organization (sponsor) that solicit proposals. RFPs specify a research topic, methods to be used, product (such as information, data, service, goods, etc.) to be delivered, and appropriate applicants sought.
Research Administrator
Research administrators provide expertise and assistance to investigators to advance research in a university setting. Anybody who assists in facilitating research at a university is considered a research administrator.
Research Assistant (RA)
A research assistant is a UW-Madison graduate student working towards a Master's or doctoral degree. An appointment as an RA is appropriate if their duties primarily benefit the individual's course of study and research and are directly applicable to the individual's thesis or dissertation. Tasks, which are irrelevant or unnecessary to the appointee's academic program, or repetitive beyond that which is necessary to achieve excellence in the activity, are not appropriate for an individual appointed as a research assistant. The appointee is required to register for a full load of graduate courses and research. A research assistant stipend is established annually on an institution-wide basis, although the amount of each stipend may vary among departments. Research Assistants
Research Terms and Conditions
In order to create greater consistency in the administration of Federal research awards, Federal research agencies may choose to use the Research Terms and Conditions, a core set of administrative terms and conditions on research and research-related awards that are subject to 2 CFR Part 200, to the extent practicable. The core set of administrative requirements for participating Federal research agencies and other pertinent documents are posted at: Companion documents include the Prior Approval Matrix, National Policy Requirement Matrix, Subaward Requirement Matrix, and Agency-Specific Requirements.
Research and Sponsored Programs (RSP)
The office that promotes and facilitates the research, education, and outreach missions of the University of Wisconsin-Madison by supporting and administering extramurally sponsored programs. RSP provides guidance and services related to proposal submission, award negotiations, award set-up, and award management through closeout. All research proposals, contracts, grants and cooperative agreements with extramural sponsors must be routed to UW-Madison Research and Sponsored Programs (RSP) through the Dean's office of the UW-Madison college or school you are affiliated with. This includes: Clinical Trials Agreements, Confidential/Non-Disclosure Agreements, Research Agreements, Incoming and Outgoing Material Transfer Agreements, Licensing/Software/Equipment Agreements, Data Sharing/Use Agreements, Interagency Personnel Assignment Agreements, Memoranda of understanding, and all amendments, modifications and extensions to the above.
Residual Balance
Funds which remain upon the successful completion of a sponsored project (i.e., all terms and conditions met, all work has been completed, and a final project report has been submitted) that the contract allows to be retained by the institution and transferred to an unrestricted project. Residual Balance
Revenue is a calculation of gross income earned by an entity or activity. In sponsored programs at UW-Madison, the accrual accounting method of revenue recognition is used for all awards except Clinical Trails which are on the cash basis method. Under the accrual basis accounting method, revenue is recognized as expenditures are incurred. Revenue is NOT an indication that a cash payment has been received. Budgets are based on a contractual amount. Accounts Receivable balances are created to track amounts that have been invoiced and payments received are applied to Accounts Receivable balances. Under the cash basis accounting method, revenue is recognized when payments are received and recorded. Budgets are based on payments received.
SFS Document Type
An internal code identifying the type of agreement used to transmit extramural support to the University.   Examples include, Cooperative Agreement, Cost Reimbursable Contract, Fixed Price Contract, and Grant.  The Document Type is typically entered into the UW-Madison SFS system at the time of proposal submission.   
Scope of Work (SOW)
The statement of proposed work to be performed. The SOW should match the budget and period of performance.
Service Agreement
A written contract prepared by Purchasing Services, signed by the service provider, and signed and executed by an authorized signatory in Business Services. The agreement lays out a payment schedule and describes the deliverables the service provider is expected to complete within the defined time period.
Shared Financial System (SFS)
The official financial system for the University of Wisconsin. SFS is the suite of applications for UW-System and UW institutions using PeopleSoft. SFS includes programs that comprise the general ledger, purchasing, asset management, and Grants Management systems including WISPER.
Shared Grant
A subaward provided by one UW System school to another UW System school. (Example: UW-Madison to UW-Green Bay).
Sole Source
An assertion that the individual or business firm is the only provider capable of performing the service in question. A sole source justification is required to waive bidding requirements on contracts over $5,000.
An external entity committing a specific level of funding to the University for a specific Scope of Work for a specific time-period.
Sponsor Award Number or Reference Number
A unique identifier given to each award by the sponsor. The sponsor award number will be located on the award document and should be used when communicating with the sponsor.
Sponsored Projects
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.
An award provided by a prime recipient (pass-through entity) of a larger award. The subaward allows the subrecipient to carry out part of the larger awarded project. In other words, a prime sponsor provides the prime recipient with an award to do a project, and the prime recipient, in turn, provides a subaward to the subrecipient to do a portion of the work on the project. A subrecipient is responsible for a portion of the research results. Subawards
Subaward Portal
A UW tool for requesting new outgoing subawards, requesting modifications to existing subawards, and viewing subrecipient monitoring information. Subaward Portal
All tangible personal property other than those described under Equipment.
Suspense Account
An account used to temporarily classify financial transactions which are suspended (cannot be processed further) because insufficient information is available. Similar to a clearing account, the use of a suspense account is only an intermediate step in processing financial transactions. Unlike a clearing account, financial transactions cannot be cleared until the relevant information is known. Consequently, it may not be possible to clear financial transactions from suspense accounts at fiscal year-end close. Each Dean’s Office has established at least one suspense account for closeout purposes. RSP Accountants have the ability to transfer unallowable expenditures or those not covered by revenue to this account at closeout. The appropriate campus contacts will receive two e-mails from the RSP Accountant ahead of a suspense account transfer.
The ending of an award, in whole or in part, at any time prior to the planned end of a period of performance.
The Office of Human Resources (OHR)
The Office of Human Resources exists to serve faculty and staff in the development, implementation and evaluation of a comprehensive personnel, training and employment relations system. Through consultation and information dissemination, OHR assists the University of Wisconsin-Madison to anticipate and meet the human resources demands of a changing educational environment. OHR
The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Office (VCFA)
This office serves as the UW-Madison’s financial office. It is responsible for overall supervision of a wide-array of the University’s administrative, student-life and auxiliary functions. VCFA
The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education (OVCRGE)
The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education oversees more than $1 billion in annual research expenditures, a figure that puts the University of Wisconsin–Madison as the sixth university in the nation for volume of research. The office also administers 17 cross-campus research and service centers and maintains oversight of the Graduate School, which has an annual budget of $160 million and responsibility for 9,400 graduate students in 150 master’s and 120 doctoral fields. OVCRGE
Third Party In-Kind Contributions
Non-cash contributions from third parties external to the university. Instead of cash, the third party provides goods or services. This can include donated space, donated buildings or land, donated supplies, donated or loaned equipment, volunteer effort, or the paid effort of employees from an outside organization.
Total Budget
The total of the Direct Costs Budget plus the Indirect Costs Budget of a sponsored project.
Total Costs
The total of Direct Costs plus Indirect Costs.
Total Direct Costs (TDC)
TDC are the total of all the direct costs in a budget. TDC is a base to which F&A (indirect costs) may be applied. TDC
Tuition Remission
A benefit waiving tuition charges for graduate students holding an appointment as Research Assistant, Teaching Assistant, or Program/Project Assistant appointment to help alleviate the cost of tuition. All proposed projects including graduate students with these titles must include tuition remission in the Other Direct Costs section of the budget. However, tuition remission is not included in the calculation of indirect costs Tuition Remission FAQ
UW System
Created in 1971, the UW System of public universities is one of the largest public higher education systems in the country. UW-System is made up of 13 four-year universities, 13 freshman-sophomore satellite campuses, and statewide UW-Extension. Wisconsin.Edu
UW-Madison Award Number
The award number is a seven-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. Award Number
Uniform Guidance (UG)
The federal guidelines that define the requirements for administering federal grants and other agreements which became effective in December 2014 and replaced OMB Circulars A-110, A-133, and A-21. The full title is Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Non-Profit Organizations. Also referred to as 2 CFR 200. Uniform Guidance
An entity providing ancillary goods or services that the principal investigator needs to conduct the project. A vendor would have a procurement relationship with the university. A vendor is not responsible for the research results. Vendors typically provide their services to many different purchasers and as part of their normal business operations. They operate in a competitive environment.
Voluntary Committed Cost Sharing
Voluntary committed cost sharing is 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. Cost Sharing FAQ
Voluntary Uncommitted Cost Sharing
Voluntary uncommitted cost sharing is cost sharing that is over and above an amount that was committed and budgeted for in a sponsored research agreement. It is neither pledged explicitly in the proposal nor stated in the award document, but occurs in the course of executing a project, often when an individual expends more effort on the project than his or her commitment requires. This type of cost sharing is above the level agreed to as part of the award and is not required to be documented, tracked, or reported. Cost Sharing FAQ
The Wisconsin Data Mart pre-dated WISER but was discontinued in 2020.
WISER is an improved, redesigned version of WISDM. WISER’s modern, robust enterprise platform will provide enhanced, efficient and more agile reporting. WISER
The Wisconsin Proposal Electronic Routing system is a web-based system for electronic, internal routing of applications and agreements related to extramural funding. Learn more at WISPER
Questions or concerns about the terms in this glossary can be sent to the RSP Education Coordinator, Melanie Hebl at