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A circular from the Executive Office of the President of the United States, Office of Management and Budget, entitled “Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher education, Hospitals, and Other Non-Profit Organizations.” It sets forth the standards for obtaining consistency and uniformity among Federal Agencies in the administration of grants and agreements with Institutions of Higher education, Hospitals, and Other Non-Profit Organizations.


A circular from the Executive Office of the President of the United States, Office of Management and Budget, entitled “Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations.” It sets forth standards for obtaining consistency and uniformity among Federal agencies for the audit of States, local governments, and non-profit organizations expending Federal awards.


A circular from the Executive Office of the President of the United States, Office of Management and Budget, entitled “Cost Principles for Educational Institutions.” This Circular establishes principles for determining costs applicable to grants, contracts, and other agreements with educational institutions. The principles deal with the subject of cost determination, but do not attempt to identify the circumstances or dictate the extent of agency and institutional participation in the financing of a particular project. The principles are designed to provide that the Federal Government bear its fair share of total costs, determined in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, except where restricted or prohibited by law. Agencies are not expected to place additional restrictions on individual items of cost.


American Association for the Accreditation of Lab Animal Care. This organization accredits MIT’s Animal Facilities and Animal Care Program.

Accrual accounting

The practice of recording an expense when it occurs, rather than when it is paid.


Per FAR, means the acquiring by contract with appropriated funds of supplies or services (including construction) by and for the use of the Federal Government through purchase or lease, whether the supplies or services are already in existence or must be created, developed, demonstrated, and evaluated. Acquisition begins at the point when agency needs are established and includes the description of requirements to satisfy agency needs, solicitation and selection of sources, award of contracts, contract financing, contract performance, contract administration, and those technical and management functions directly related to the process of fulfilling agency needs by contract.


Air Force Office of Scientific Research

Allocable Costs

Costs that are necessary to the overall operation of the project (e.g. grant and contract); and applicable solely to one project or where costs could benefit multiple projects, are distributed in reasonable proportion to the benefit received.

Allowable Cost Sharing

Allowable cost sharing includes those costs, such as salaries and equipment, that actually benefit the project; they are eligible to be charged to the project, but are charged to the Institute as a commitment to the project by the Institute.

Allowable Costs

Costs that the sponsor will reimburse under the award. In general, a cost is allowable if it is (1) reasonable, (2) allocable (3) in conformity with the requirements and limitations of the award and, (4) in conformity with generally accepted sound business practices. A cost that requires the sponsor’s prior consent is not an allowable cost until that consent has been obtained.


Army Research Laboratory


Army Research Office


American Recovery and Reinvestment Act


A formal examination of the accounts of an organization, an individual or a financial situation. An audit may also include an examination into compliance with applicable terms, laws, and regulations.

Authorized Total

The amount obligated by a sponsor for expenditure by the Institute for a project under a sponsored agreement that a sponsored project is authorized to spend in a given period.

For example, suppose the budget for a particular proposal is $3,000,000 and the period of performance is three years. A sponsor may obligate the full $3,000,000 for the three year period. In most cases, however, the sponsor will only obligate a portion of the funding for a specific budget period, for example $1,000,000 for the first 12 months of the project. In this case the authorized total is $1,000,000.


Typically sponsored projects that have been funded by a sponsor. Awards include grants, contract, cooperative agreements and other agreements in the form of money, property or service.


Background Intellectual Property

Background Intellectual Property (BIP) is intellectual property that exists before a research project commences. At MIT, prior to accepting a sponsored program award from a non-federal sponsor, the Technology Licensing Office investigates the MIT-owned BIP only of the Principal Investigator and Co-investigator(s) named in the research proposal, to identify whether their MIT-owned BIP may be used in the course of the proposed research and may therefore need to be licensed to the sponsor to allow the sponsor to practice any foreground IP that MIT may develop in the course of the proposed research. If such BIP is identified, TLO notifies the sponsor if the BIP has already been exclusively licensed to a third party and is thus not available for licensing, so the sponsor, PI and TLO can develop a plan to resolve the problem posed by the unavailable BIP, either by helping the sponsor seek a sublicense from the exclusive licensee of the BIP, or by modifying the proposal’s scope of work.

Basic research

Research directed toward increasing knowledge in science and engineering. The primary aim of basic research is a fuller knowledge or understanding of the subject under study, rather than any specific application of that knowledge.

Broad Agency Announcement (BAA)

A general announcement of an agency’s research interest which solicits the participation of all offerors capable of satisfying the Government’s needs. BAA’s typically include specific proposal development requirements and criteria for selecting awards.


The detailed statement outlining estimated project costs to support work under a grant or contract. (See also Rebudget.)

Budget Period

The interval of time, usually twelve months, into which the project period is divided for budgetary and funding purposes.



Committee on Animal Care


Cost Accounting Standards. Federally mandated accounting standards intended to ensure uniformity in budget¬ing, spending and reporting of funds.


Cost Accounting Standards Board.


Commerce Business Daily

CCL- Commerce Control List

The CCL is a list of items under the export control jurisdiction of the Bureau of Industry and Security, U.S. Department of Commerce. It is found in Supplement 1 to part 774 of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services.


Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance

CFR- Code of Federal Regulations

The CFR is the codification of the general and permanent rules and regulations governing the management of federal contracts published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the U.S. federal government.

Change Order

Under Federal contracts containing a Changes clause, a written unilateral contract modification signed by the federal contracting officer, directing the contractor to make changes in project specifications. The Changes clause allows the contractor to submit a proposal for costs associated with the required changes.

Classified Contract

Any contract in which the contractor or its employees must have access to classified information during contract performance. A contract may be a classified contract even though the contract document itself is unclassified.

Classified Information

Any knowledge that can be communicated or any documentary material, regardless of its physical form or characteristics, that (1)(i) Is owned by, is produced by or for, or is under the control of the United States Government; or (ii) Has been classified by the Department of Energy as privately generated restricted data following the procedures in 10 CFR 1045.21; and (2) Must be protected against unauthorized disclosure according to Executive Order 12958, Classified National Security Information, April 17, 1995, or classified in accordance with the Atomic Energy Act of 1954.

Close Out

The process of completing all the internal procedures and sponsor requirements necessary to terminate or com¬plete a sponsored project. Close out actions typically includes submitting to the sponsor final financial, progress, property and patent reports.


The co-principal investigator.


Council on Governmental Relations (


Conflict of Interest

Commerce Business Daily (CBD or CBDNet)

Per FAR, means the publication of the Secretary of Commerce used to fulfill statutory requirements to publish certain public notices in paper form.

Commerce Control List Category

The CCL is divided into 10 categories: (0) Nuclear Materials, Facilities and Equipment, and Miscellaneous; (1) Materials, Chemicals, “Microorganisms,” and Toxins; (2) Materials Processing; (3) Electronics; (4) Computers; (5) Telecommunications and Information Security; (6) Lasers and Sensors; (7) Navigation and Avionics; (8) Marine; and (9) Propulsion Systems, Space Vehicles, and Related Equipment.

Commerce Control List Group

The CCL is divided into 10 categories. Each category is subdivided into five groups, designated by the letters A through E: (A) Equipment, Assemblies, and Components; (B) Test, Inspection and Production Equipment; (C) Materials; (D) Software; and (E) Technology.

Competing Proposals

Proposals that compete for funds via a review process established by the sponsor, typically first-time submissions or re-submissions of rejected proposals. Ongoing projects must compete again for funding if the term of the original award has expired.

Conflict of Interest

When an individual (or his or her immediate family) has a financial interest that affects or has the potential to affect the individual’s conduct of his or her Institute activities because, for example, he or she is the decision maker related to research projects

Consortium Agreement

An Agreement written for multi-sponsor support of a sponsored program. Each sponsoring organization executes the same Agreement, becoming a consortium member.

Continuation Project (Non-Competing)

Applicable to grants and cooperative agreements where a project is approved for multiple-year funding, but is funded through increments, typically one year at a time. At the end of the initial budget period, progress on the project is assessed. If satisfactory, an award is made for the next budget period, subject to the availability of funds. Therefore, funding increments often the initial award period are referred to as continuation projects. Continuation projects do not compete with new project proposals, and are not subject to peer review beyond the initial project approval.


Generally a written agreement between two facilities. In federal terms, a mechanism for the procurement of a product or service with specific obligations for both sponsor and recipient. Typically, a research topic and the methods for conducting the research are specified in detail by the sponsor, although some sponsors award contracts in response to unsolicited proposals. The same principle applies when MIT is engaging the service of another organization through a subaward.

Contract Administrator

An RAS Representative

Controlled Country

Country (As of January, 2010, please see State Department for most up to date list)

A list of countries designated controlled for national security purposes found in Country Group D:1, including: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Cambodia, the People's Republic of China, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Mongolia, Romania, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. Cuba and North Korea are controlled countries, but they are listed in Country Group E:2 (unilateral embargoes) rather than Country Group D:1.

Cooperative Agreement

In terms of federal sponsors a form of federal assistance where the sponsor anticipates substantial involvement in research with MIT researchers. The sponsor’s staff may also be actively involved in proposal preparation with MIT. The same principle applies when MIT is engaging the service of another organization through a subaward.


Community of Science is an organization that collects and shares information about scientific expertise, funded scientific re¬search, and funding opportunities for research.

Cost Analysis

In subaward management, the review, evaluation and analysis of each of the elements of the subawardee’s cost proposal, including lower-tier subawards/subcontracts and purchase orders proposed.

Cost Contract

A cost reimbursement contract in which the contractor receives no fee. Such a contract may be appropriate particularly for
 research and development work at a non-profit institution.

Cost Object

A collector of expenses and revenues for a specific project or purpose. In SAP, cost objects include cost centers, internal orders and Project WBS elements.

Cost Realism Study

In subaward management the process of independently reviewing and evaluating specific Elements of the subawardee’s proposed cost to determine whether the estimated proposed cost elements are realistic for the work to be performed, reflect a clear understanding of the requirements; and are consistent with the various elements of the subawardee’s technical proposal.

Cost Sharing

Cost Sharing is a portion of a project or program cost not reimbursed by the sponsor. Cost sharing represents a commitment by the Institute. Cost sharing may be required by the sponsor as a condition of the award (mandatory) or it may be offered by the Institute in excess of mandatory cost sharing requirements (voluntary). Whether cost sharing is required by the sponsor or is offered by the Institute or PI voluntarily, the proposed cost sharing is a commitment that must be tracked once an award is made. In other words, including cost sharing in a proposal creates a binding obligation on the Institute once the proposal is awarded.

Cost-Reimbursement Contract

A contract or grant for which the sponsor pays the full costs incurred in the conduct of the work, up to an agreed amount.


MIT Committee on the Use of Humans as Experimental Subjects.


Cooperative Research and Development Agreement. A written agreement between a private company and a government agency to work together on a project. By entering into a CRADA, the Federal government and non-Fed¬eral partners can perform research by sharing the costs of this research.


Formerly called Center for Technology, Policy & Industrial Development (MIT department) now called MIT Sociotechnical Systems Research Center (MIT SSRC)


Date of Completion

The date on which all work under an award is completed or the date on the award document, or any supplement or amendment thereto, on which Federal sponsorship ends


Action taken by a debarring official under 9.406 to exclude a contractor from Government con¬tracting and Government-approved subcontracting for a reasonable, specified period whereby the organization may no longer participate in federally funded projects. A contractor that is excluded is “debarred.”

Deemed Export

Release of technology or source code subject to the EAR to a foreign national in the United States is “deemed” to be an export to the home country of the foreign national under the EAR. Technology is specific information necessary for the development, production, or use of a Commerce Department product controlled for export. “Use” is defined as operation, installation (including on-site installation), maintenance (checking), repair, overhaul, and refurbishing.

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) was established in 1958 to prevent strategic surprise from negatively impacting U.S. national security and create strategic surprise for U.S. adversaries by maintaining the technological superiority of the U.S. military. DARPA relies on diverse performers to apply multi-disciplinary approaches to both advance knowledge through basic research and create innovative technologies that address current practical problems through applied research.

Synonyms: DARPA

Defense Article

(22 CFR § 120.6) Refers to any item designated in the United States Munitions List (USML). Examples include specified chemical agents, cameras designated for military purposes, specified lasers, and GPS equipment as noted above. “Defense article” also refers to any technical data recorded or stored in any physical form, models, mock-ups, or other items that reveal technical data directly relating to the particular item or “defense article” listed in the USML; “defense article” does not include basic marketing information on function, purpose, or general system description.

Defense Service

(22 CFR § 120. 9) Refers to: (1) the furnishing of assistance (including training) anywhere (inside the United States or abroad) to foreign nationals in connection with the design, development, engineering, manufacture, production, assembly, testing, repair, maintenance, modification, operation, demilitarization, destruction, processing, or use of defense articles; or (2) the furnishing of any controlled “technical data” (see definition below) to foreign nationals anywhere.


A financial condition in which expenditures exceed the funds available.


Department of Defense supplement to the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR). DoD contracts will include both FAR and DFAR clauses.

Direct Costs per OMB A-21

Costs that can be identified specifically with a particular sponsored project, or can be directly assigned with a high degree of accuracy.

Disallowed Costs

Those charges to an award that the sponsor determines to be unallowable, in accordance with the applicable cost principles or other terms and conditions contained in the award.


Departments, Labs, and Centers (DLCs) is used as a catch-all term to indicate an organizational unit at MIT


Department of Defense Grant and Agreement Regulatory System. A system of policies and procedures to guide DoD grants and cooperative agreements. It also governs other non procurement transactions, where provisions so indicate.


Department of Energy

Draper Fellow

An individual with a research assistant appointment at MIT who does work for Draper Laboratories.

Drug-free Workplace

A Federal policy that specifies that the site(s) for the performance of work done by the contractors (like MIT) must certify that its facilities and employees are not engaged in the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession, or use of a controlled substance. See:


A term related to export controls used to describe items that have both commercial and military or proliferation applications. While this term is used informally to describe items that are subject to the EAR, purely commercial items also are subject to the EAR [see §734.2(a) of the EAR].


EB Employee Benefits/Fringe Benefits

Employee benefits paid by the employer (for example, FICA, Worker’s Compensation, Withholding Tax, Insurance, and so forth). For more information, see Employee Benefit Rates.


Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action

Effort Reporting

A procedure mandated by the federal government to verify that direct labor charges to sponsored projects are reasonable, and reflect actual work performed. Effort reporting shows the distribution of the effort of individuals among the various activities in which they work. Regular certification must be done by PI’s who manage these projects. Effort reporting and certifications must also be done for other projects where individuals are paid across a variety of activities. For more information, see effort reporting on the RAS website.

Electronic and Information Technology (EIT)

The same meaning as “information technology” except EIT also includes any equipment or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment that is used in the creation, conversion, or duplication of data or information. The term EIT, includes, but is not limited to, telecommunication products (such as telephones), information kiosks and transaction machines, worldwide websites, multimedia, and office equipment (such as copiers and fax machines).

Electronic Commerce

Electronic techniques for accomplishing business transactions including electronic mail or messaging, World Wide Web technology, electronic bulletin boards, purchase cards, electronic funds transfer, and electronic data interchange.

Empowered Official

A U.S. person who:

1. is directly employed by the applicant or a subsidiary in a position having authority for policy or management within the applicant organization; and

2. is legally empowered in writing by the applicant to sign license applications or other requests for approval on behalf of the applicant; and

3. understands the provisions and requirements of the various export control statutes and regulations, and the criminal liability, civil liability, and administrative penalties for violating the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations (ITAR); and

4. has the independent authority to:

a. Enquire into any aspect of a proposed export or temporary import by the applicant;, and

b. Verify the legality of the transaction and the accuracy of the information to be submitted; and

c. Refuse to sign any license application or other request for approval without prejudice or other adverse recourse (see 22 C.F.R.§120.25)


Tangible nonexpendable personal property including exempt property charged directly to the award having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost of $5000 (as of 1 July 2013) or more per unit. (formerly $3000)


An actual shipment or transmission of items, services, or technical data subject to either the EAR or the ITAR out of the United States, or the release of technology, software, or technical data subject to either EAR or ITAR to a foreign national in the United States. Technology, software, or technical data is “released” for export through:

1. Visual inspection by a foreign national of U.S. origin equipment and facilities

2. Oral exchanges of information in the United States or abroad

3. Transfer or shipment via any means (physical or electronic) to a foreign entity

4. Provision of a service, or the application to situations abroad of personal knowledge or technical experience acquired in the United States

Export Administration Regulations

The Export Administration Regulations (EAR), Title 15, Sections 730–774 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), refers to the regulations promulgated and implemented by the Department of Commerce that regulate the export of goods and related technology identified on the Commodity Control List (CCL), Title 15 CFR 774, Supplement 1. Goods and technology on the CCL are not inherently military in nature; they are primarily and inherently commercial or potentially commercial in nature.

Export Control Classification Number (ECCN)

A five-character alphanumeric classification used to identify items on the Commerce Control List that are subject to the export licensing authority of the Bureau of Industry and Security.

Export Control Laws

MIT qualifies for an exemption for fundamental research under the U.S. export control laws, because the Institute's research is entirely fundamental in nature, and the research results are publishable witout restriction. This exemption is critically important to MIT because it allows any student, faculty, or research staff member to participate in any MIT research on campus without restriction due to national origin or citizenship.

Nevertheless, MIT and its research sponsors are not exempt from the U.S. export control and related laws that prohibit the export of certain tangible and digital items. For that reason, MIT and the sponsor must agree that the sponsor will not export controlled items that are related to the sponsored research without obtaining a government license.

Export License

The approval documentation issued by an export agency authority authorizing the recipient to proceed with the export, reexport, or other regulated activity as specified on the application.


F&A Underrecovery

The difference between the current negotiated F&A rate that MIT charges to a research project, and the rate that the project’s sponsor is willing to pay, is referred to as underrecovery. For example, if MIT’s F&A rate is 68%, and a sponsor agrees to pay only 50%, there is a 18% underrecovery of full F&A. (See also the Underrecovery page on the Controller’s Sponsored Projects Accounting website and


Means free on board. This term is used in conjunction with a physical point to determine

(1) The responsibility and basis for payment of freight charges; and

(2) Unless otherwise agreed, the point where title for goods passes to the buyer or consignee.

(1) The responsibility and basis for payment of freight charges; and
(2) Unless otherwise agreed, the point where title for goods passes to the buyer or consignee.
F.o.b. destination means free on board at destination; i.e., the seller or consignor delivers the goods on seller’s or consignor’s conveyance at destination. Unless the contract provides otherwise, the seller or consignor is responsible for the cost of shipping and risk of loss.
F.o.b. origin means free on board at origin; i.e., the seller or consignor places the goods on the conveyance. Unless the contract provides otherwise, the buyer or consignee is responsible for the cost of shipping and risk of loss.
F.o.b. destination means free on board at destination; i.e., the seller or consignor delivers the goods on seller’s or consignor’s conveyance at destination. Unless the contract provides otherwise, the seller or consignor is responsible for the cost of shipping and risk of loss.

F.o.b. origin means free on board at origin; i.e., the seller or consignor places the goods on the conveyance. Unless the contract provides otherwise, the buyer or consignee is responsible for the cost of shipping and risk of loss.

Facilities and Administration Rate

A rate that MIT charges to a sponsored project for the use of Institute facilities and administration . This rate is negotiated annually with MIT’s cognizant agency, the Office of Naval Research (ONR).

Synonyms: F&A Rate

Facilities and Administrative Costs

Per OMB Circular A-21, means costs that are incurred for common or joint objectives and, therefore, cannot be identified readily and specifically with a particular sponsored project, an instructional activity, or any other institutional activity. F&A costs are synonymous with “indirect costs and overhead”. “Facilities” is defined as depreciation and use allowances, interest on debt associated with certain buildings, equipment and capital improvement, operation and maintenance expenses, and library expenses. “Administration” is defines as general administration and general expenses, departmental administration, sponsored projects administration student administration and services and all other types of expenditures not listed specifically under one of the subcategories of Facilities (including cross allocations from other pools).

Synonyms: F&A Costs

FAR – Federal Acquisition Regulations

The primary regulation used by all federal executive agencies in their acquisition of supplies and services with ap¬propriated funds.


An interactive real-time system used to conduct official National Science Foundation business over the Internet. FastLane is NSF’s project management system for for proposals, annual reports, final reports, extension requests, etc. For more information, see Fastlane.


Food and Drug Administration

Federal Awarding Agency

Per OMB Circular A-110, means the Federal agency that provides an award to the recipient.

Federal Contract

The appropriate agreement to use in a procurement relationship between the federal government and a contractor. A federal contract applies whenever the principal purpose is for the federal government to acquire property or services for its direct benefit and use.

Federal Demonstration Partnership

The Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) is an association of federal agencies, academic research institutions with administrative, faculty and technical representation, and research policy organizations that work to streamline the administration of federally sponsored research. FDP members of all sectors cooperate in identifying, testing, and implementing new, more effective ways of managing the more than $15 Billion in federal research grants.

Synonyms: FDP

Federal Grant

A form of Federal Assistance where the principal purpose of the award is the transfer of money to accomplish a public purpose. With a federal grant, there is no substantial involvement anticipated between the governmental agency and the recipient during the period of performance. For example most awards by NSF and NIH are federal grants.

Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDC’s)

Per FAR, means activities that are sponsored under a broad charter by a Government agency (or agencies) for the purpose of performing, analyzing, integrating, supporting, and/or managing basic or applied research and/or development, and that receive 70 percent or more of their financial support from the Government; and-

(1) A long-term relationship is contemplated;

(2) Most or all of the facilities are owned or funded by the Government; and

(3) The FFRDC has access to Government and supplier data, employees, and facilities beyond that common in a normal contractual relationship.


An award made directly to an individual in support of specific educational pursuits. Such individuals cannot be an employee of the granting organization or a research assistant but can be a graduate or postdoctoral associate at MIT. Traineeships differ from fellowships; check the award conditions on training grants for service and/or pay-back requirements.

Final Report

The final technical, property, intellectual property or financial report required by a sponsor to complete a project. This report is typically submitted during the close out process.

Fiscal Year (FY)

Any twelve-month period for which annual accounts are kept. The fiscal year at MIT is July 1 to June 30. The Federal fiscal year is October 1 through September 30.

Fixed-price Contract

A contract providing for a set lump sum payment upon satisfactory performance of the terms of the contract.


Freedom of Information Act

Foreign National

Persons who are not U.S. citizens, aliens who are “Lawful Permanent Residents” (Green Card), [8 USC § 1101(a)(20)], or other “Protected Individuals” under the Immigration and Naturalization Act [8 USC §1324b(a)(3)] designated an asylee, refugee, or a temporary resident under amnesty provisions. A foreign national also means any foreign corporation, business association, partnership, or any other entity or group that is not incorporated to do business in the United States. Under ITAR, the term “foreign person” is used, but has the same definition as “foreign national” herein.

Fringe Benefits

Employee benefits paid by the employer (for example, FICA, Worker’s Compensation, Pension, Insurance, and so forth).


Full-time equivalent. This is a means for counting employees, for example, two half-time employees represent one FTE.

Full and open competition

Per FAR, when used with respect to a contract action, means that all responsible sources are permitted to compete.

Fund Accounting

The accounting system used by universities to identify revenues and expenses according to purpose of use and the source of funds. Separate records are kept for assets donated to an organization and restricted by donors to certain specific purposes or use.

Fundamental Research

Refers to basic or applied research in science and engineering performed or conducted at an accredited institution of higher learning in the United States where the resulting information is ordinarily published and shared broadly in the scientific community. The products of fundamental research are not subject to export license requirements or other government approval. Fundamental research is distinguished from research that results in information that is restricted for proprietary reasons or national security reasons (EAR) or pursuant to specific U.S. government access and dissemination controls (ITAR).

Funding Cycle

The period during which a sponsor accepts proposals and awards funding. If a sponsor has standing proposal review committees (or boards) that meet at specified times during the year, application deadlines correspond with those meetings.



An award that does not involve deliverables or elaborate reporting requirements (although informal reports or verbal communication do further good donor relations). A gift does not require separate accounting, nor does the donor receive detailed financial accounting. A gift may be provided for the stated area of research or activity. No intellectual property rights are provided. A gift does not require the return of unexpended funds, and it has no period of performance.


Grant Proposal Guide. The proposal guidelines for the National Science Foundation.


A grant is 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 the transfer of money, property, services or anything of value to the state or local government or other recipient in order to accomplish a public purpose of support of stimulation authorized by federal statue, rather than acquisition by purchase, lease, or barter, of property or services for the direct benefit or use of the federal government; and (2) no substantial involvement is anticipated between the executive agency, acting for the federal government and the state or local government or other recipient during performance of the contemplated activity.


Human subject

a living individual about whom an investigator (whether professional or student) conducting research obtains

(1) Data through intervention or interaction with the individual, or

(2) Identifiable private information.

Intervention includes both physical procedures by which data are gathered (for example, venipuncture) and manipulations of the subject or the subject’s environment that are performed for research purposes. Interaction includes communication or interpersonal contact between investigator and subject.

Private information includes information about behavior that occurs in a context in which an individual can reasonably expect that no observation or recording is taking place, and information which has been provided for specific purposes by an individual and which the individual can reasonably expect will not be made public (for example, a medical record). Private information must be individually identifiable (i.e., the identity of the subject is or may readily be ascertained by the investigator or associated with the information) in order for obtaining the information to constitute research involving human subjects.


In-kind Contribution

A service or item donated in lieu of dollars.

Income Tax Laws for Non-Profits

In order to preserve its non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status for income tax purposes, MIT cannot provide services that are commercially available. Several examples are:

• Product design

• Building prototypes

• Facility engineering

• Testing services (unless a testing facility is experimental and unique to MIT)

Indirect Costs

See F&A costs

Industrial Agreement

An award from a for-profit entity that funds an MIT research activity or other activity. An industrial agreement may involve interaction and collaboration with the sponsor. MIT has a standard research agreement for industry, including provisions for dissemination of information and rights to intellectual property.


Examining and testing supplies or services (including, when appropriate, raw materials, components, and intermediate assemblies) to determine whether they conform to contract requirements.


Per OMB Circular A-21, means the teaching and training activities of an institution. Except for research training as provided in organized research, this term includes all teaching and training activities, whether they are offered for credits toward a degree or certificate or on a non-credit basis, and whether they are offered through regular academic departments or separate divisions, such as a summer school division or an extension division. Also considered part of this major function are departmental research, and, where agreed to, university research.
(1) Sponsored instruction and training means specific instructional or training activity established by grant, contract, or cooperative agreement. For purposes of the cost principles, this activity may be considered a major function even though an institution’s accounting treatment may include it in the instruction function.
(2) Departmental research means research, development and scholarly activities that are not organized research and, consequently, are not separately budgeted and accounted for. Departmental research, for purposes of this document, is not considered as a major function, but as a part of the instruction function of the institution.

Intellectual Property

The term 'technology' is broadly defined at MIT to include technical innovations, inventions, and discoveries, as well as writings and other information in various forms, including computer software. The principal rights governing the ownership and disposition of technology are known as intellectual property rights, which are derived primarily from legislation granting patent, copyright, trademark and integrated circuit mask work protection. (source: MIT TLO, Guide to the Ownership, Distribution and Commercial Development of M.I.T. Technology)

Internal control

Per A-133, means a process, effected by an entity’s management and other personnel, designed to provide reason¬able assurance regarding the achievement of objectives in the following categories

(1) Effectiveness and efficiency of operations;

(2) Reliability of financial reporting; and

(3) Compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

International Traffic in Arms Regulations

International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) is a set of United States government regulations that control the export and import of defense-related articles and services on the United States Munitions List (USML)

International Trafficking in Arms Regulations (ITAR)

The International Trafficking in Arms Regulations (ITAR), 22 CFR § 120-130, refers to the regulations promulgated and implemented by the Department of State that control the export of articles, services, and related technical data that are inherently military in nature, as determined by the State Department. These “defense articles,” “defense services,” and related “technical data” are listed on the United States Munitions List (USML). Even some articles and technologies that are not readily identifiable as inherently military in nature—for example, research satellites—are included on the USML.


In SAP, an Internal Order.


Key Personnel

The personnel considered to be of primary importance to the successful conduct of a project. The term usually applies to the Principal Investigator(s), but may extend to other senior members of the project staff. NSF and NIH are the primary users of this term.

Kuali Coeus

Electronic system developed at MIT to assist RAS and department staff in proposal development and electronic submission as well as pre- and post-award management.


Master Research Agreement

A research agreement between a sponsor and MIT that is intended to enable multiple, diverse sponsored programs (sometimes administered by multiple or various departments, labs, centers and schools), having a general set of terms and conditions that are negotiated prior to and independent of any specific proposals and that will apply to all future awards.

Matching Funds

See cost sharing. Financial contribution by the university required by a granting agency as a condition for receiving a contract, grant, or award. A form of cost sharing at a significant level, for example, two sponsor dollars to one MIT dollar, or one sponsor dollar to one MIT dollar.


Modified Total Direct Costs. Per A-21, the base of costs to which the negotiated F&A rate is applied.



The National Association of College and University Business Officers. Here is the contact information:
One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 500
Washington DC 20036
(202) 861-2500


National Academy of Sciences


National Aeronautics and Space Administration


National Center for Research Resources. Part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).


The National Council of University Research Administrators

New and Competing Proposals

Proposals submitted for the first time and thus competing for funding, or ongoing projects that must re-compete for funding prior to the expiration of the original award.


National Institutes of Health.

Includes 26 separate Institutes that make up the NIH.

No-cost Extension

An extension of the period of performance beyond the expiration end date of the award established in the terms. Extensions are sometimes needed to allow the principal investigator to finish a project. No additional funding is provided by the sponsor.

Non-Competing Renewal

A renewal applied to a continuing project, i.e., one that need not compete with other projects for funding.

Notice of Award

Formal notification from the sponsor that an award is offered in response to an application submitted by MIT/RAS.



Office for Organization and Employee Development

Office of Foreign Assets Control

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Department of the Treasury administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on US foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries and regimes, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and other threats to the national security, foreign policy or economy of the United States.

Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)

A part of the U.S. Department of Treasury that administers and enforces economic embargoes and trade sanctions based on U.S. foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, and those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. OFAC acts under presidential wartime and national emergency powers, as well as authority granted by specific legislation, to impose controls on transactions and freeze foreign assets under U.S. jurisdiction.


Office of Management and Budget

Organized Research

Per OMB Circular A-21, means all research and development activities of an institution that are separately budgeted and accounted for.
(1) Sponsored Research means all research and development activities that are sponsored by Federal and non-Federal agencies and organizations. This term includes activities involving the training of individuals in research techniques (commonly called 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.
(2) University Research means all research and development activities that are separately budgeted and accounted for by the institution under an internal application of institutional funds.
University research, for purposes of this document, shall be combined with sponsored research under the function of organized research.


OSP (Office of Sponsored Programs) was the former name for Research Administration Services (RAS)

Other sponsored activities

Per OMB Circular A-21, means programs and projects financed by Federal and non-Federal agencies and organizations which involve the performance of work other than instruction and organized research. Examples of such programs and projects are health service projects, and community service programs. However, when any of these activities are undertaken by the institution without outside support, they may be classified as other institutional activities.


See F&A costs


Pass-through entity

Per OMB Circular A-133, means a non-Federal entity that provides a Federal award to a subrecipient to carry out a Federal program.

Peer Review

A system of evaluation of competitive proposals submitted for funding useing reviewers who are the professional equals of the principal investigator or program director responsible for directing or conducting the proposed project. Peer review is a form of objective review. It is legislatively mandated in some federal programs, and administratively required in others.

Period of Performance

In a sponsored award, the time period during which the proposed work will be completed and the funds awarded are available for expenditure by the recipient.


Public Health Service. The umbrella organization for agencies like NIH and CDC.

PHS 2590

An application for the continuation of a PHS grant (National Institutes of Health).

PHS 398

An application form for a PHS grant (National Institutes of Health).

PHS 416-1

An application form for an NRSA (fellowship or training grant).

PI (Principal Investigator)

The individual responsible for the conduct of research or other activity described in the proposal for an award.

Post-differential Allowance Expenses

Expenses authorized for employees based abroad to provide additional compensation for services as a recruitment and retention tool. When the allowance is authorized, the employee’s base salary is increased accordingly.


Postdoctoral Associate or Fellow

Pre-award Costs Authorization

Authorization to incur allowable expense (sometimes up to a specified limit) on a project within a limited period before the award is made by the sponsor.


Predoctoral (graduate student)


A brief informal description of a project and estimated budget. The pre-proposal is sometimes submitted to determine the interest of a potential sponsor prior to submission of a formal proposal and are often submitted to the sponsor by the PI. A pre-proposal is also known as a preliminary, initial or Phase I proposal. Pre-proposals that are binding require RAS approval.

Preliminary Proposal

See “Pre-proposal.”

Price Analysis

Price Analysis is the process of examining and evaluating a prospective price without performing cost analysis; that is without evaluating the separate cost elements and profit of the subawardee included in the proposal.

Prior Approval

Written approval by the sponsor’s authorized official evidencing prior consent. Prior approval is required to significantly change aspects of the program from those originally proposed and approved, as specified by the sponsor.

Priority Score

A score derived from the rating given to a research proposal by each member on a review committee. The score is used to help determine which approved proposals will be granted awards, based on funds available.

Program Announcement

A document describing a research opportunity from a funding agency. It may describe new or expanded interest in a particular extramural program, or it may be a reminder of a continuing interest in an extramural program. Also see BAA.

Program Income

Per OMB Circular A-110, means gross income earned by the recipient that is directly generated by a supported activity or earned as a result of the award.

Program/Project Officer/Technical Representative

An individual designated by a sponsor as responsible for the technical, scientific, and/or programmatic aspects of a particular award. A program/project officer serves as the sponsor’s counterpart to the MIT principal investigator or project director. He or she deals with the grantee or contractor organization staff to assure programmatic progress. He or she is typically not authorized to change the terms of the award - these actions require an award modification executed by the Grant or Contract Officer.

Progress Report

Scheduled reports often required by a sponsor, summarizing progress to date on the research, finances or other aspects of the project.

Project Period

The period established in the award document during which sponsorship begins and ends. The project period may consist of one or more budget periods. (See also Budget Period.)


Per OMB Circular A-110, unless otherwise stated, real property, equipment, intangible property and debt instruments.


An application for funding that contains all the information necessary to describe a project’s plans, staff capabilities, and the funds requested. Formal proposals are developed by a principal investigator and approved by the department head and dean, and RAS.

Proposal Summary Form

This was an RAS proposal form used to facilitate and document the routing and review of sponsored project proposals. As all proposals now go through Coeus, this is no longer used.

Public Domain

(22 CFR § 120.11) Refers to information that is already published and that is generally accessible or available to the public: (1) through sales at newsstands and bookstores; (2) through subscriptions that are available without restriction to any individual who desires to obtain or purchase the published information; (3) through second-class mailing privileges granted by the U.S. government; (4) at libraries open to the public or from which the public may obtain documents, including most university libraries; (5) through published patents; (6) through unlimited distribution at a conference, meeting, seminar, trade show, or exhibition, generally accessible to the public, in the United States (ITAR) or anywhere (EAR); (7) through public release (i.e., unlimited distribution) in any form (e.g., not necessarily in published form) after approval by the cognizant U.S. government department or agency, including websites accessible to the public for free and without the host’s knowledge of or control of who visits or downloads the software and/or information (clearly acceptable under EAR and likely acceptable under ITAR); and (8) through fundamental research in science and engineering at accredited institutions of higher learning in the United States where the resulting information is ordinarily published and shared broadly in the scientific community.



Research Assistant (graduate student). Could also be Research Administrator or Research Administration

RAS (Research Administration Services)

formerly the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP)

Reasonable Costs

A cost is reasonable if, in its nature and amount, it does not exceed that which would be incurred by a prudent person in the conduct of competitive business.


The act of amending a budget by moving funds from one category or line item to another; also called Budget Adjustment.


Per OMB Circular A-110, means an organization receiving financial assistance directly from Federal awarding agencies to carry out a project or program. The term includes public and private institutions of higher education, public and private hospitals, and other quasi-public and private non-profit organizations such as, but not limited to, community action agencies, research institutes, educational associations, and health centers. The term may include commercial organizations, foreign or international organizations (such as agencies of the United Nations) which are recipients, subrecipients, or contractors or subcontractors of recipients or subrecipients at the discretion of the Federal awarding agency. The term does not include government-owned contractor-operated facilities or research centers providing continued support for mission-oriented, large-scale programs that are government-owned or controlled, or are designated as federally-funded research and development centers.


Refers to an actual shipment or the transmission of items subject to export regulations from one foreign country to another foreign country. For the purposes of the U.S. EAR, the export or reexport of items subject to the EAR that will transit through a country or countries to a new country, or that are intended for reexport to the new country, are deemed to be exports to the new country.

Research and Development

Per OMB Circular A-110, means all research activities, both basic and applied, and all development activities that are supported at universities, colleges, and other non-profit institutions. “Research” is defined as a systematic study directed toward fuller scientific knowledge or understanding of the subject studied. “Development” is the systematic use of knowledge and understanding gained from research directed toward the production of useful materials, devices, systems, or methods, including design and development of prototypes and processes. The term research also includes activities involving the training of individuals in research techniques where such activities utilize the same facilities as other research and development activities and where such activities are not included in the instruction function.

Restricted Parties

Individuals and entities with whom the university and its employees may be prohibited by law, or that require a license or other government approval, to export to or engage in controlled transactions. These include the Denied Persons List, Entity List, and Unverified List (Department of Commerce); the Debarred Parties Lists (Department of State); and the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (Department of Treasury).

Restricted Research

Defined as university research, development, or testing subject to: (i) publication restrictions; (ii) access and dissemination controls; (iii) federally funded research with contract-specific national security restrictions; (iv) accepting third-party controlled items or information; or (v) providing access to, or defense services on, a defense article. Restricted research is subject to EAR and ITAR regulations, and a license or other government approval may be required for foreign national participation.

RFP (Request for Payment)

RFP is also a request for payment handled through the MIT Vice President for Finance Office.

RFP (Request for Proposals)

A request by a sponsor for proposals for a given objective.

RFQ (Request for Quotations)

A standard request for price quotations from competing procurement sources. See RFP, BAA and PA.


S&W (Salaries and Wages)

Costs for MIT employees to engage in work performed.

Sanctioned Countries

Countries designated by OFAC as having limited or comprehensive trade sanctions imposed by the United States for reasons of anti-terrorism, non-proliferation, narcotics trafficking, or other reasons.


Systems Applications Products. MIT’s online financial administrative software; also the name of the company that developed it.


Small Business Administration

SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research)

The Federal Small Business Innovation Research program promotes research and development by domestic small businesses. SBIR funding is available through most federal funding agencies.

Scope of Work

The description of the work to be performed on a project.

Senior Personnel

Professional personnel who are responsible for the scientific or technical direction of project.

Sole source acquisition

A contract for the purchase of supplies or services that is entered into or proposed to be entered into by an agency after soliciting and negotiating with only one source.


Per FAR, means any request to submit offers or quotations to the Government. Solicitations under sealed bid procedures are called “invitations for bids.” Solicitations under negotiated procedures are called “requests for proposals.” Solicitations under simplified acquisition procedures may require submission of either a quotation or an offer.


The organization that funds a project via award of a contract, grant or cooperative agreement, or other agreement.

Sponsored agreement

Any grant, contract, or other agreement between the institution and a sponsor.

Sponsored Research

All research and development activities that are sponsored by Federal and non-Federal agencies and organizations. This term includes activities involving the training of individuals in research techniques (commonly called 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.


Society of Research Administrators. Here is the contact information:
1901 North Moore Street, Suite 1004
Arlington, VA 22209
(703) 741-0140


A payment made to an individual under a fellowship or training grant in accordance with pre-established levels. A stipend provides for the individual’s living expenses during the period of training.

STIS (Science and Technology Information System)

An on-line search system of the National Science Foundation.

STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer)

The Federal Small Business Technology Transfer program promotes research and development by domestic small businesses in cooperation with institutions of higher education. STTR funding is available through most federal funding agencies.


A secondary award directed to cooperatively working with a third party to carry out the program for which a primary award has been granted. In other words, a subaward agreement allows an additional party to complete a portion of the work described in the proposal for a primary award.

Under a sponsored project a recipient also needs to acquire goods and services in order to carry out the project for which funds have been granted. This is a vendor relationship, and is not characterized by a cooperative effort to carry out the objectives of the project, but does require the acquisition of goods and services by the recipient. Using these definitions, for example, consulting contracts are vendor-type relationships and handled by the Procurement Office.

In most cases, distinctions between these two types of activities are relatively easy to make. For example, in a sub- award agreement:

The Subawardee has its performance measured against its portion of the scope of work of MIT’s program; The Subawardee has responsibility for programmatic decision making;

The Subawardee has responsibility for adherence to applicable program compliance requirements (i.e., OMB Circulars, regulations of Federal and Not-for-Profit Entities, etc.);

The Subawardee uses the funds to carry out a portion of the scope of work of MIT’s program as compared to providing goods or services for MIT’s program; and

The Subawardee’s principal investigator/project director may be a co-author on publications or may seek patent protection for inventions.


An organization that acts as a third party, engaging with MIT to perform a portion of a sponsored project.

Supplemental Proposal

A request to the sponsor for additional funds for an ongoing project during the previously approved performance period. A supplemental proposal may result from increased costs, modifications in design, or a desire to add a closely related component to the ongoing project.

Suspension of an award

Per OMB Circular A-110, an action by a Federal awarding agency that temporarily withdraws Federal sponsorship under an award, pending corrective action by the recipient or pending a decision to terminate the award by the Federal awarding agency.


Tax-Exempt Bonds

MIT uses tax-exempt bonds to finance many of its research facilities. U.S. tax laws prohibit the use of these facilities to benefit a private user (defined as a company, foundation, or state or local government).

IRS Revenue Procedure 2007-47 (June 26, 2007) provides a more complete interpretation of the regulations, and outlines the uses that do not constitute a private business use (the "safe harbor"). In order to operate within these safe harbor provisions, MIT is not able to:

• Grant sponsors ownership of, or title to, research results or intellectual property.
• Grant licenses, pre-determine value, or cap or negotiate royalties, in research agreemenets, for intellectual property that has not yet been created.

Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)

IRS code to be used by the offeror in reporting income tax and other returns. The TIN may be either a Social Security Number or an Employer Identification Number.


Total Direct Costs. The total of all direct costs of a project. See Direct costs.

Technical assistance

Technical assistance may take forms such as instruction, skills training, working knowledge, and consulting services, and also may involve the transfer of technical data.

Technical data

(22 CFR § 120.10) Refers to information required for the design, development, production, manufacture, assembly, operation, repair, testing, maintenance, or modification of controlled articles. This includes information in the form of blueprints, drawings, plans, instructions, diagrams, photographs, etc. It may take forms such as blueprints, plans, diagrams, models, formulae, tables, engineering designs and specifications, and manuals and instructions written or recorded on other media or devices such as disk, tape, or read-only memories. The ITAR definition does not include information concerning general scientific, mathematical, or engineering principles commonly taught in schools, colleges, and universities, or information in the public domain.


As used in the management of export controls, any specific information and know-how (whether in tangible form, such as models, prototypes, drawings, sketches, diagrams, blueprints, manuals, or software—or in intangible form, such as training or technical services) that is required for the development, production, or use of a good, but not the good itself.


An incomplete agreement form, containing most of the terms in a single-program sponsored research agreement but lacking terms that are specific to each individual program. Pre-negotiating a template with a non-federal sponsor that frequently sponsors research at MIT can sometimes speed up the negotiation of subsequent research agreements with that sponsor.


Per OMB Circular A-110, means the cancellation of Federal sponsorship, in whole or in part, under an agreement at any time prior to the date of completion.

Terms of Award

All legal requirements imposed on an agreement by the sponsor, whether by statute, regulation, or terms in the award document. The terms of an agreement may include both standard and special provisions that are considered necessary to protect the recipient’s and sponsor’s interests.


An experimental proof of concept, technology demonstration, or pre-prototype.

The Bayh-Dole Act

The Bayl-Dole Act (35 U.S.C. 200-212) requires universities to grant the U.S. federal government a non-exclusive, non-transferable, irrevocable, paid-up license to practice (or have practiced on its behalf throughout the world) any inventions arising from research funded in whole or part by the federal government. The Bayh-Dole Act also forbids assignment of such patents to third parties.

Third party in-kind contributions

Per OMB Circular A-110, means the value of non-cash contributions provided by non-Federal third parties. Third party in-kind contributions may be in the form of real property, equipment, supplies and other expendable property, and the value of goods and services directly benefiting and specifically identifiable to the project or program.

TLO (Technology Licensing Office)

The Institute’s TLO manages the patenting, licensing, trade marketing, and copyrighting of the intellectual property developed at MIT including, Lincoln Laboratory. The TLO serves as an educational resource on intellectual property and licensing matters for the MIT community.

Total Project Costs

The total allowable direct and indirect costs incurred by an organization to carry out an approved project.


Unallowable cost

Per FAR, means any cost that, under the provisions of any pertinent law, regulation, or contract, cannot be included in prices, cost-reimbursements, or settlements under a Government contract to which it is allocable.


F&A Underrecovery (UR) is the difference between the current negotiated F&A rate that MIT charges to a sponsored research project and the rate that the sponsor is willing to pay. Underrecovery may result because a sponsor dictates a rate and/or base that is less than the F&A recovery that would be produced using the federal research rate.

Unexpended balance

The portion of the funds authorized by the awarding entity that has not been expended by the recipient during the approved project period and is determined by deducting the cumulative expenditures from the authorized total.

United States Munitions List (USML)

(22 CFR § 121.1) The USML includes articles, services, and related technical data designated as defense articles and defense services pursuant to the Arms Export Control Act (AECA).

University Research

All research and development activities that are separately budgeted and accounted for by the institution under an internal application of institutional funds.

Unsolicited Proposal

A proposal submitted to a sponsor that is not in response to an RFP, RFA, or program announcement.


Vacation Accrual

See Employee Benefit Rates. MIT’s method of charging for vacation time for employees being charged to sponsored projects. This rate is negotiated annually with MIT’s Cognizant Office, the Office of Naval Research (ONR). The vacation accrual rate is then to the proposed salary cost as a separate employee benefit rate. For example, if salaries are $10,000, the Institute will apply the fringe benefit rate, 25% to this rate for $2,500, plus the vacation accrual rate of 9% or $900. Therefore, the full salary and benefits would be $10,000 + $2,500 + $900 or $13,400. Vacation accrual applies to salary categories, but not graduates or undergraduates compensation.


Per OMB Circular A-133, means a dealer, distributor, merchant, or other seller providing goods or services that are required for the conduct of a Federal program. These goods or services may be for an organization’s own use or for the use of beneficiaries of the Federal program.


Vice President for Finance Office


WBS Element

A WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) element is a cost object in SAP that collects expenses and revenues related to sponsored projects. Many projects have several WBS elements associated with them, forming a WBS hierarchy. Also known as account number.

Weighted Guidelines

Weighted Guidelines is a structured technique for establishing the subaward administrator’s negotiating position on profit. The technique is also used as a basis for documenting and explaining the final agreement reached between MIT and the subawardee. The weighted guidelines method ensures consideration of the relative value of appropriate profit factors, including the subawardee’s degree of performance risk, subawardee’s cost contracts, the risk imposed on the subawardee by the type of award, facilities investment and working capital.