Please contact your RSC if you have any questions.
When preparing a proposal for submission, PIs will clearly lay out what they intend to do with the extramural support they receive, and how they will do it. Proposal budgets for example should in most instances contain salary support for the time that PIs (and his/her support staff) will spend on the project should it get funded. Effort should be proposed based on good faith estimates, and be calculated using established procedures.
Should a proposal be awarded, the University accepts the award on the PI’s behalf. Award negotiation may take place for a variety of reasons: if the sponsor requires additional steps, if the awarded funds are less than those proposed, and/or if at the time of award it is necessary for a PI to change the level of effort commitment on his/her sponsored project(s). For example, if Prof. Smith already divides his time between 50% teaching and 50% research, and his proposal for additional research is funded in which he proposed 25% effort, then it is necessary to contact Prof. Smith’s sponsors to renegotiate his awarded effort commitments, and/or decrease his teaching duties.
Once the award is set up and the PI obtains his sponsored project account, and if effort was proposed to the sponsor and salary funds were awarded, the PI’s home department must have him/her and the support staff appointed on the grant. If effort was cost-shared, then separate cost sharing procedures should be followed to track effort. Appointing people on a grant ensures that effort can be tracked and monitored. The salary sources should clearly track with the effort commitments in place and the work that PIs and support staff do. Getting paid on a grant account cannot pay for non-sponsored work.
Effort should be charged at the moment that it is performed. Faculty who receive summer salary from sponsored projects are required to certify to the effort devoted during the March to August semi-annual effort reporting period. Effort expended during the academic year on a sponsored project cannot be applied to the March to August effort reporting period.
If changes must be made to effort commitments, PIs and their departments must communicate this with their Research Service Center. Remember, sponsored project funds, especially those budgeted towards salaries and wages, should be used for their intended purposes.
Lastly, PIs will certify effort on their sponsored projects every six months. If changes must be made to effort commitments, PIs and their departments must communicate this with their Research Service Center.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What is effort and effort reporting?
Answer (HOP 10.05 VII): Effort is the amount of time spent on any activity for which an Individual is compensated by UTSA. Effort is expressed as a percentage of the Individual’s Total Institutional Activities, which Total Institutional Activities typically include work on Sponsored Programs, teaching and instruction, service, or other duties for UTSA.Effort reporting is the formal verification through UTSA’s electronic Effort Certification system that Committed Effort (whether paid from the Sponsored Program account or Cost Shared) has been performed. UTSA uses the online system ECRT for effort reporting.
2. When must I certify my effort?
3. How precise must my certification be?
4. Who is required to certify?
5. Why can’t a departmental administrator certify my effort for me?
6. Are there any other obligations related to Effort Reporting that I am obligated to fulfill in addition to certifying semi-annually?
7. What happens if I don’t complete the certification?
8. When I reviewed my effort information, not all my salary was there. Why not?
9. My effort on the various projects which I work on varies during the year. Is it necessary for me to change the way my salary is funded to reflect short-term fluctuations?
10. What if I can’t certify my effort because I don’t have enough specific knowledge about the funding projects I work on?
11. I didn’t know about these effort rules when I filled out my grant application. Is it too late to fix the problem now?
12. Is there a minimum level of effort that must be charged to a sponsored project?
13. Is there a maximum level of effort that can be charged to sponsored projects?
14. Can administrative staff be directly charged to my sponsored project?
Answer: Generally, administrative staff may not be charged to sponsored projects. There are, however, exceptions to that rule. Please contact your Research Service Center for guidance.For Federal awards or funding increments provided prior to Dec 26, 2014: Direct charging of these costs may be appropriate where a major project or activity explicitly budgets for administrative or clerical services and individuals involved can be specifically identified with the project or activity. “Major project” is defined as a project that requires an extensive amount of administrative or clerical support, which is significantly greater than the routine level of such services provided by academic departments (for example, a Program Project grant).
For grants Federal awards or funding increments provided Dec 26, 2014, the OMB Uniform Guidance will take effect.
15. Is the time that I devote to writing grant proposals chargeable to sponsored projects?
As a general rule, a portion of a faculty member’s time devoted to writing proposals should be charged to non-sponsored sources, as is the case for time devoted to teaching and administration.