Effort Reporting System

Effort Reporting Requirements

What Type of Effort Must Be Reported?

Mandatory committed effort must be reported. This is effort required by the sponsor as a condition of the award.

Voluntary committed effort must also be reported. This is effort identified and specifically quantified in the project proposal or award documents, including the budget or narrative as effort that will be committed to the project but not charged to the sponsor.

Voluntary uncommitted effort should not be documented, tracked, or certified. This is effort above and beyond that which is identified and specifically quantified in the project proposal or award documents (donated effort).

The total amount of effort reported must always add up to 100%, regardless of the time assigned to the appointment.

Reporting Deadlines

Effort reports must be certified within 120 days of the end of the reporting period. Principal Investigators and ERS Coordinators are notified via e-mail when effort reports are issued and ready for certification.

Who Can Certify an Effort Report?

Principal Investigators and other faculty in Professorial, Professional Research, and Management titles who are paid on federal or federal flow-through funds are required to certify their own effort. The certifier must have first-hand knowledge of the work performed and the ability to make a reasonable estimate of the effort expended on each sponsored project. Staff who are paid from federal or federal flow-through funds may certify their own effort if they have first-hand knowledge of the work they performed. Effort reports for other employees must be certified by a Principal Investigator (PI) or other responsible official.

PIs should not certify the effort reports of other faculty members, even if the faculty member worked on one or more of the PI’s projects. Effort reports must be certified by a person with first-hand knowledge of all the activities of the person for whom the certification is made. It is rare that one faculty member will be aware of all the activities of another faculty member, therefore it is generally inappropriate for one faculty member to certify for another. Visit the FAQ page to determine what to do if a PI has inadvertently certified for another PI.

Who May NOT Certify an Effort Report?

Individuals designated by their department as not having first-hand knowledge regarding which sponsored projects they are working on should not be asked to certify their own effort. This could be the case when an employee is assigned to work in a lab in which multiple projects are conducted or in multiple laboratories that conduct multiple projects. In this case it would be more appropriate for the employee's supervisor who is assigning the work to certify his/her effort.

If an employee has a split appointment in two or more units, the responsible official or PI for each unit will need to certify the effort for their project. If the effort report is for a professional employee such as a Post-Graduate Researcher, and the employee has first-hand knowledge of the work performed and the ability to make a reasonable estimate of the effort expended on each sponsored project, the employee can certify his or her effort report entirely.

Why is it Important that Effort be Certified?

The campus external auditors review effort reports for compliance with effort reporting requirements. In addition, sponsoring agencies, our cognizant audit agency, and other federal and state agencies may perform an audit at any time to determine whether the effort certifications are timely, accurate and complete.

Failure to comply with the terms and conditions of an award may cause the sponsor to take one or more enforcement actions. The sponsor may take proactive actions to protect their interests, including placing special conditions on awards or precluding the grantee from obtaining future awards for a specified period, or may take actions designed to prevent future noncompliance, such as closer monitoring. If the sponsor imposes sanctions on a grantee, the sponsor will share this information with other agencies. In addition, the university's reputation could suffer due to negative publicity, possibly resulting in loss of confidence by current and future stakeholders in the ability of the campus to administer and provide proper stewardship of funds.

Additional References

UC Contract & Grant Manual 7-330
UC Accounting Manual P-196-13

Supplemental content

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