Sponsored Project Glossary/Acronyms

Below is a glossary of commonly used terms and acronyms in all functions of managing sponsored programs. Principal investigators are encouraged to contact their Pre- or Post-Award Specialist if a term appears in their proposal or award materials, not included in this list, and requires further clarification.

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



Term/Acronym Definition/Explanation
Account An account refers to the Shared Financial System (SFS) general ledger account code to identify the type of expense, revenue, or balance sheet. In the legacy system, this was known as class code.
Account Tree Represents a grouping of SFS accounts into a hierarchical structure (known as a tree). Typically will group accounts with similar name or function.
Accounting Period In SFS and WISER, the account period represents a specific time interval (usually a month) for which each transaction is assigned. Possible values are:

1 (Jul)
2 (Aug)
3 (Sep)
4 (Oct)
5 (Nov)
6 (Dec)
7 (Jan)
8 (Feb)
9 (Mar)
10 (Apr)
11 (May)
12 (Jun)
13 (Close)
998 (Year End Adjustments)


Project/grants will typically show Period 13 with Period 1 of the next fiscal year.

Acquisition Cost of Equipment Net invoice price of the equipment, including the cost of modifications, attachments, accessories, or auxiliary apparatus necessary to make the property usable for the purpose for which it was acquired. Other charges, such as the cost of installation, transportation, taxes, duty or protective in-transit insurance, shall be included or excluded from the unit acquisition cost in accordance with the recipient’s regular accounting practices.
Application Package A group of specific forms and documents for a specific funding opportunity which are used to apply for a grant.
AOR/AIO The Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) or Authorized Institutional Official (AIO) submits a grant on behalf of a company, organization, institution, or government. Only an AOR/AIO has the authority to sign and submit grant applications.
Award Financial assistance that provides support or stimulation to accomplish a specific purpose. Awards include grants and other agreements in the form of money or property in lieu of money, by a sponsor to an eligible recipient. The term does not include: technical assistance, which provides services in lieu of money; other assistance in the form of loans, loan guarantees, interest subsidies, or insurance; direct payments of any kind to individuals; and contracts which are required to be entered into and administered under the appropriate procurement laws and regulations.


Term/Acronym Definition/Explanation
Balance Type

In SFS and WISER, the “balance type” is the calculation method used in determining the current balance amount for a project. There are four types possible:Budget Balance: Type includes Budget, Encumbrances, Expenses & Sales Credits. Calculation is Budget – Encumbrances – Expenses & Sales Credits.

Cash Balance: Type includes Revenues, Expenses & Sales Credits. Calculation is Revenues – Expenses & Sales Credits.

Unencumbered Cash Balance: Type includes Revenues, Encumbrances, Expenses & Sales Credits. Calculation is Revenues – Encumbrances – Expenses & Sales Credits.

Budget Cash Balance: Type includes Budget, Expenses & Sales Credits. Calculation is Budget – Expenses & Sales Credits. This type should be used on all federal awards.

beta.SAM.gov The official U.S. government website for people who make, receive, and manage federal awards.
BIA Bureau of Indian Affairs, an agency of the Department of the Interior.
BLM Bureau of Land Management, an agency of the Department of the Interior.
Business Unit Terminology for a particular campus. Examples include UWMIL (UW-Milwaukee), UWOSH (UW-Oshkosh), UWMSN (UW-Madison), UWSYS (UW System Admin), etc. Sometimes referred to as simply Unit or SetID. The Business unit in SFS and WISER replace the legacy unit code (A, B, C, etc.); department IDs never contain the legacy unit code.


Term/Acronym Definition/Explanation
Cage Code A five-character code which identifies companies doing, or planning to do business with the federal government and is assigned through the System for Award Management (SAM).
Cash Contributions A recipient’s cash outlay, including the outlay of money contributed to the recipient by third parties.
CCR The Central Contractor Registry (CCR) was the primary vendor database for the U.S. federal government. CCR functionality was migrated to the System for Award Management (SAM) in late July 2012.
CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services.
CFDA The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) is an online database of all federal programs available to state and local governments, federally-recognized Indian tribal governments, territories and possessions of the United States, domestic public, quasi-public, and private profit and nonprofit organizations and institutions, specialized groups, and individuals.
CFDA Number The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number is an identifying number that a federal program is assigned in the CFDA. All federal grant programs will have a CFDA number, with the exception of grant programs appropriated through the Library of Congress.
Close Out Process by which the awarding agency determines that all applicable administrative actions and all required work of the award have been completed by the recipient and the awarding agency.
CMS Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services.
CNS Corporation for National Service.
COI Conflict of Interest
Competition ID In Grants.gov, a grantor selected ID that allows further distinction of the funding opportunity number which allows applications with the same funding opportunity number to be assigned unique identifiers.
Confidentiality Agreement An agreement signed by two or more parties that agree to maintain specified information as confidential for a specific period of time. Confidentiality Agreements may also be called Nondisclosure Agreements.
Congressional District One of a fixed number of districts into which a state is divided, each district electing one member to the national House of Representatives.
Contract A procurement contract under an award or subaward, and a procurement subcontract under a recipient’s or subrecipient’s contract.
Cooperative Agreement An award of financial assistance that is used to enter into the same kind of relationship as a grant; and is distinguished from a grant in that it provides for substantial involvement between the federal agency and the recipient in carrying out the activity contemplated by the award.
Cost Reimbursable Contract A contract in which UWM receives payment only after expenditures are made, submitted to the sponsor, and found appropriate and allowable.
Cost Sharing or Matching The portion of project or program costs not borne by the federal government.
Current Accounting Period The period of time a grant recipient chooses for purposes of financial statements and audits.


Term/Acronym Definition/Explanation
DA United States Army, a branch of the Department of Defense.
Data Use Agreement A Data Use Agreement (DUA) is a contract between a data user (the entity requesting access to specific information) and a data source (the entity providing the data) that describes the provisions with the transfer of confidential, protected, or restricted-use data.
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 awarding agency sponsorship ends.
DHS Department of Homeland Security.
Disallowed Costs Charges to an award that the awarding agency determines to be unallowable, in accordance with the applicable federal cost principles or other terms and conditions contained in the award.
Discretionary Grant A grant (or cooperative agreement) for which the federal awarding agency generally may select the recipient from among all eligible recipients, may decide to make or not make an award based on the programmatic, technical, or scientific content of an application, and can decide the amount of funding to be awarded.
DOC Department of Commerce.
DOD Department of Defense.
DOE Department of Energy.
DOI Department of the Interior.
DOJ Department of Justice.
DOL Department of Labor.
DOS Department of State.
DOT Department of Transportation.
DUA Data Use Agreement.
DUNS The Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number is a unique nine-character identification number provided by the commercial company Dun & Bradstreet (D&B).


Term/Acronym Definition/Explanation
ECRT Effort Certification and Reporting Technology. The online system where PIs certify their effort and the effort of any faculty, academic staff, post docs, graduate students, and classified staff paid from their project funds, and where faculty and academic staff certify their effort.
ED Department of Education.
Encumbrance An encumbrance is the amount of the funds that you have committed to spend when you create a transaction, such as a contract or a purchase order. Not an actual transaction. Includes Payroll Encumbrances (Salary, Fringe, etc.).
EPA Environmental Protection Agency.
Equipment Tangible nonexpendable personal property, including exempt property, charged directly to the award and having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more per unit.
Excess Property Property under the control of an awarding agency that, as determined by the head of the awarding agency or his/her delegate, is no longer required for the agency’s needs or the discharge of its responsibilities.
Exempt Property Tangible personal property acquired in whole or in part with federal funds, where the awarding agency has statutory authority to vest title in the recipient without further obligation to the federal government. An example of exempt property authority is contained in the federal Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act, 31 U.S.C. 6306, for property acquired under an award to conduct basic or applied research by a nonprofit institution of higher education or nonprofit organization whose principal purpose is conducting scientific research.


Term/Acronym Definition/Explanation
FCC Federal Communications Commission.
FCOI Financial Conflict of Interest.
FDA Food & Drug Administration, an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Federal Share of Real Property, Equipment, or Supplies The percentage of the properties or supplies acquisition costs and any improvement expenditures paid with federal funds. This will be the same percentage as the federal share of the total costs under the award for the funding period in which the property was acquired (excluding the value of third party in-kind contributions).
FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Fiscal Year The UW System fiscal year runs 1 July to 30 June.
Fixed Price Contract A contract in which UWM receives payment only after the investigator fulfills the contract requirements (i.e., providing a deliverable to the sponsor). Upon completion of the contract, UWM receives only the contracted amount, even if actual project expenditures exceed this figure.
Fund Also known as appropriation, this is a three digit number set up by the Wisconsin Legislature to define the funding source and transactions that can be attributed to it. For example, funds that are provided by federal funds are provided a “144” fund code.
Funding Action Amount Dollar amount involved for a specific action.
Funding Action Type Award modifications performed by the sponsored programs office. Includes new project setup, corrections and budget adjustments, time extensions, etc.
Funding Opportunity Announcement A publicly available document by which a federal agency makes known its intentions to award discretionary grants or cooperative agreements, usually as a result of competition for funds. Funding opportunity announcements may be known as program announcements, notices of funding availability, solicitations, or other names depending on the agency and type of program. Funding opportunity announcements can be found at Grants.gov and online at the funding agency’s or program’s website.
Funding Opportunity Number The number that a federal agency assigns to its grant announcement.
Funding Period The period of time when federal funding is available for obligation by the recipient.


Term/Acronym Definition/Explanation
Gift According to UW System policy, extramural support must meet all of the following criteria in order to be considered a gift:

  • Funds must provide general or unrestricted support of broadly defined activities in one or more program areas;
  • Detailed reports are not required (periodic, final, fiscal, technical, etc.);
  • No provisions are imposed by the donor related to publication of data or information related to the activity;
  • There is no time limit for expenditure of funds; and
  • Rights to any patents/copyrights are not retained by the donor.
GL Jrnl ID General ledger journal identifier code in SFS and WISER.
Grant An award of financial assistance, the principal purpose of which is to transfer a thing of value from a federal agency to a recipient to carry out a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by a law of the United States (see 31 U.S.C. 6101(3)). A grant is distinguished from a contract, which is used to acquire property or services for the federal government’s direct benefit or use.
Grants.gov A storefront web portal for use in electronic collection of data (forms and reports) for federal grant-making agencies through the Grants.gov site.
Grants.gov Tracking Number A number set used by grants.gov to identify each application it receives. If technical assistance is required for a particular application, this number is required in order to troubleshoot.


Term/Acronym Definition/Explanation
HHS Department of Health and Human Services.
HUD Department of Housing and Urban Development.


Term/Acronym Definition/Explanation
IMLS Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Intangible Property and Debt Instruments Includes trademarks, copyrights, patents and patent applications, and such property as loans, notes and other debt instruments, lease agreements, stock and other instruments of property ownership, whether considered tangible or intangible.
Intergovernmental Personnel Assignments Intergovernmental Personnel Assignments (IPAs) are temporary assignments of personnel between federal agencies and other qualified institutions for projects of mutual concern or benefit.
IPA Intergovernmental Personnel Assignment.
IRS Internal Revenue Service.
ITD Inception to Date in SFS and WISER. ITD is used most frequently with Project/Grants. It covers all of the transactions from the creation of the Project/Grant until the present.


Term/Acronym Definition/Explanation
Jrnl Date Journal Date in SFS and WISER. The recorded date of the journal containing transactions for searching. Users should enter mm/dd/yyyy or mm-dd-yyyy formats when manually inputting a date.


Term/Acronym Definition/Explanation
Ledger In SFS, the ledger is a set of posted balances that represent a set of books for a business unit. SFS General Ledger contains both detail and summary ledgers. In WISER, ACTUALS (actual revenue and expense transactions) and STD_BUDGET (standard budgets) ledgers are available.


Term/Acronym Definition/Explanation
Master Contract A master contract is an agreement between two parties in which both agree to certain terms that will govern all future agreements/transactions.
Material Transfer Agreement A Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) is a contract that governs the transfer of tangible research materials between two organizations, when the recipient intends to use the materials for research. The MTA defines the rights of the provider and the recipient with respect to the original materials and any derivatives.
Measure ID An integer identifies the type of transaction in the SFS and WISER systems. Possible values:

1 – Revenue or Expense
2 – Encumbrances
3 – Budgets
4 – Balance Sheet (Liabilities, AP, etc.)
MTA Material Transfer Agreement


Term/Acronym Definition/Explanation
NAICS Code The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code is a maximum of six digits used to classify business establishments. This code will be replacing the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code.
NARA National Archives and Records Administration.
NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
NEA National Endowment for the Arts.
NEH National Endowment for the Humanities.
NIH National Institutes of Health.
NOAA National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration.
NPS National Park Service.


Term/Acronym Definition/Explanation
OMB Office of Management and Budget.
Outlays or Expenditures Charges made to the project or program, which may be reported on a cash or accrual basis.
OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Administration.


Term/Acronym Definition/Explanation
PI Principal Investigator.
PI or Co-PI Name Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator. This individual is responsible for determining that the expenditures are necessary, allowable, allocable, reasonable, properly approved, and adequately documented. A PI may delegate this authority to a designee, but final responsibility rests with the PI named in the award document, which is the name that appears in this field.
PHS Public Health Services.
PO Purchase Order in SFS and WISER.
PO Date Purchase Order Date in SFS and WISER.
PO Vndr ID Purchase Order Vendor ID. This is the ten digit number defined by SFS to represent the Vendor ID.
PO Vndr Name Purchase Order Vendor Name. The vendor name associated with a PO. This field can be up to 30 characters long.
Posted Date The date a journal was posted (or made final) in the WISER database.
Prior Approval Written approval by an authorized awarding agency official evidencing prior consent. For example, during pre-award, prior approval is typically required in order to deviate from the sponsor’s stated proposal submission instructions. During post-award, prior approval is typically required in order to modify budget categories or the cost share commitment.
Program The SFS program code chartfield (also known as activity code). On the summary report, users may select one program to filter by or select “All” to allow all programs to be included in the report (this is the default option for the summary report).The possible values are:

0 (Student Services)
1 (Institutional Support)
2 (Instruction)
3 (Hospitals)
4 (Research)
5 (Public Services)
6 (Academic Support)
7 (Physical Plant)
8 (Auxiliary Enterprises)
9 (Financial Aid)
F (Farm Operations)
R (Revenue)
Program Income Gross income earned by the recipient that is directly generated by a supported activity or earned as a result of the award.
Project A project/grant in the SFS and WISER systems. In the legacy system, this was known as an account.
Project Costs All allowable costs, as set forth in the applicable federal cost principles (see Sec. 74.27), incurred by a recipient and the value of the contributions made by third parties in accomplishing the objectives of the award during the project period.
Project Dept ID Search field in the Project Summary Search function within SFS and WISER.
Project Description In SFS and WISER, the “project description” provides a brief description of the project scope. Searching this field searches both the Award Title and the Project Title.
Project Fund Balance In SFS and WISER, this calculation provides information on available fund information. Different balance types include:Budget: Budget – Encumbrances – Expenses = Balance
Budget Cash: Budget – Expenses = Balance
Unencumbered Cash: Revenue – Encumbrances – Expenses = Balance
Cash: Revenue – Expenses = Balance
Project ID In SFS and WISER, the Project ID is the number assigned to projects within an award in the form fund/acct. Each award will contain at least one project, but may encompass more as necessary. New project IDs will be of the form three letters and four digits (i.e., ABC1234).
Project Period The period established in the award document during which awarding agency sponsorship begins and ends.
Project Status Defines the status of a project within SFS and WISER. Available selections are:

2-Ended-Past Official End Date
3-Closed-Adjustments Only
4-Hold-Reject all transactions


Term/Acronym Definition/Explanation
Reference Award Nbr Reference Award Number. This number is associated with the grant award assigned by the funding agency in SFS and WISER.


Term/Acronym Definition/Explanation
Salary Encumbrance Web Application This feature handles both the creation of new salary encumbrances and updates to existing salary encumbrances.
SBA Small Business Administration.
SF-424 Forms Family The Standard Forms-424 (SF-424) forms family is a series of forms used for the application and submission of proposals via grants.gov. These forms include:

Application for Federal Assistance (SF-424)
Application for Federal Domestic Assistance – Individual
Application for Federal Domestic Assistance – Mandatory
Application for Federal Domestic Assistance – Short Organizational
Application for Federal Domestic Assistance – Research and Related
Budget Information for Non-Construction Programs (SF-424A)
Assurances for Non-Construction Programs (SF-424B)
Budget Information for Construction Programs (SF-424C)
Assurances for Construction Programs (SF-424D)
Research & Related forms (various)
Key Contacts
Attachments Form
Budget Narrative Attachment Form
Grants.gov Lobbying Form
SF-LLL Disclosure of Lobbying Activities
Project Abstract
Project Narrative Attachment Form
Project/Performance Site Location(s)
SFD Salary/Fringe Detail in SFS and WISER.
SFI Significant Financial Interest. A dollar threshold stipulated by Public Health Services regarding what types of outside financial interests constitute a significant interest and, consequently, must be reviewed and potentially managed by the Institution’s Conflict of Interest Committee.
SFID Significant Financial Interest Disclosure. Key persons (PI’s, co-I’s and senior/key personnel) on a Public Health Service proposal (or a proposal to a nonfederal entity that has adopted the Public Health Service Financial Conflict of Interest regulations) must have an updated disclosure of their Significant Financial Interests via the SFID form on file prior to proposal submission.
SFS Shared Financial System. SFS includes the General Ledger, Accounts Payable, Purchasing, Asset Management, Project Costing, Commitment Control, Travel and Expense, and the Grants Suite. SFS interfaces with other systems, including the WISER data warehouse.
Show Balance Account A check box on the Transaction Search within SFS and WISER. Selecting this option will result in balance sheet accounts such as cash, accounts payable, and other liability accounts being returned. If left unchecked, only revenue and expense accounts are returned.
Show Payroll Detail A check box on the Transaction Search within SFS and WISER. Selecting this option will replace GL summarized lines for payroll with full SFD detail transactions.
Sponsor Name The name of the outside entity providing the funding in SFS and WISER.
Subaward An award of financial assistance in the form of money, or property in lieu of money, made under an award by a recipient to an eligible subrecipient or by a subrecipient to a lower tier subrecipient. The term includes financial assistance when provided by any legal agreement, even if the agreement is called a contract, but does not include procurement of goods and services nor does it include any form of assistance which is excluded from the definition of award.
Subrecipient The legal entity to which a subaward is made and which is accountable to the recipient for the use of the funds provided.
Supplies All personal property excluding equipment, intangible property, and debt instruments as defined in this section, and inventions of a contractor conceived or first actually reduced to practice in the performance of work under a funding agreement.
SAM The System for Award Management (SAM) validates applicant information and electronically shares the secure and encrypted data with the federal agencies’ finance offices to facilitate paperless payments through Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). The SAM stores your organizational information, allowing Grants.gov to verify your identity and to pre-fill organizational information on your grant applications.


Term/Acronym Definition/Explanation
Third Party In-Kind Contributions 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.
Time Period This option allows users to adjust the span of time the summary report covers in SFS and WISER. Users may select one of the following options:

“ITD through – inception to date” specifies a time range starting with accounting period 0 (beginning balance). Period 0 is the roll-forward adjustment from the prior year. Reports with GPR funds (such as 101 or 102) will not contain beginning balances for actuals. Project/grant reports typically default to this option.”YTD through – year to date” specifies a time range starting with period 1 and does not include the prior year. Department reports typically default to this option.

“Period only –” specifies only the period that is selected. The MTD (month-to-date) and YTD Actuals columns will match.

“Quarter only –” selects one business quarter which represents a span of three accounting periods. Quarter 4 contains Period 13.

The YTD option will be chosen if the fund (or all funds) of the report are GPR funds. For non-GPR funds (such as 128 or 133), the ITD option will be chosen by default. Most project/grant summary reports (because they use a non-GPR funds) will default to ITD.

The second drop-down box allows users to choose the end point of the time range. Users may select any one of the periods 1 through 13, even if those periods have not opened yet. This second box may also appear in two other forms: calendar month (e.g. DEC – 2006) or quarter (e.g. Q4). Calendar months are displayed only for project/grants that are categorized as ITD roll forward projects (which includes ESIS projects).

Transaction Type A search option on both the Salary/Fringe Detail Search and the SFD Transaction Search in SFS and WISER that provides the ability to filter out or include specific transaction types. In the Salary/Fringe Detail Search: “Sal” for salaries only, “Fringe” for fringe benefits only, or “Both.” In the SFD Transaction Search: “Sal” for salaries only, “Fringe” for fringe benefits only, or “Enc” for encumbrances only.


Term/Acronym Definition/Explanation
UDDS An acronym for Unit, Division, Department, Sub-department in SFS and WISER.
Unit Campus business unit.
USAF United States Air Force, a branch of the Department of Defense.
USCG United States Coast Guard, a component of the Department of Homeland Security.
USDA United States Department of Agriculture.
USMC United States Marine Corps, a branch of the Department of Defense.
USN United States Navy, a branch of the Department of Defense.


Term/Acronym Definition/Explanation
VA Department of Veterans Affairs.
Vndr ID Vendor ID. A ten digit identifier for a vendor in SFS and WISER. These numbers are typically auto-assigned and have no identifying information associated with them. WISER will automatically fill in leading zeros on the vendor search page.
Vndr Name Vendor Name. A search field on the Vendor Search. Enter in a full or partial Vendor Name. For names the format is Last,First with no space after the comma.


Term/Acronym Definition/Explanation
WISER WISER is a web-based reporting system created by the UW-Madison Division of Information Technology (DoIT). It contains data from SFS. An objective of WISER is to move closer to paperless reporting and when this is not possible, to put the control of printing what is needed in the hands of divisions and departments.
WISPER The Wisconsin Proposal Electronic Routing (WISPER) system at UWM handles the electronic routing and approval process for extramural funding applications and agreements.


Term/Acronym Definition/Explanation
YTD An acronym for Year to Date in SFS and WISER. This covers all transactions that have occurred in the current fiscal year.