Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)


What is Effort Certification and why do I have to participate in this certification?

Effort Certification is an accounting of your professional effort on sponsored projects, both paid and unpaid.  The Health Science Center is required to perform Effort Certification by Federal regulation.   As a Faculty/PI member, you are required to certify the effort you are being paid from an award funded by Federal sponsors and/or you have indicated that you will commit effort on a project funded by extramural sponsors (that commitment may or may not be reimbursed by the award).  Effort Certification is the Health Science Center's only means of certifying payroll charges on sponsored awards.  Without this certification, we would not be eligible for reimbursement of these charges by our extramural sponsors.

Where does the information on my effort statement come from?

The information on your effort statement comes directly from the Health Science Center payroll records and from information submitted on funded proposal.
My effort per project can vary from month to month.  How do I accommodate that on my effort statement?
Effort is certified semi-annually and as a Faculty/PI, you are required to certify to a picture of your activity during each period.  You should use an average percentage.  This is, if you worked on a project 50% for three months and 30% for three months during this period, your average effort was 40% and that is the amount you should indicate on your effort statement.  Remember that you are reporting a reasonable estimate of w0rk expended over the six month period.
I don't work forty hours per week; some weeks I work 50 hours or more.  Doesn't that make my effort more than 100%?
Your work habits are the very reason we ask you to certify for your time by percentage of effort. You are accounting for 100% of your Health Science Center professional time, regardless of how many hours you worked during the period.  Consequently, if you work a fifty hour work week, your effort should add up to 100% based on a distribution of 50 hours.
What if I only have a half time or other than full time appointment?  Should my effort still total 100%?
  Yes, you need to certify to 100% of your professional effort to the Health Science Center.  In other words, if you have a half time appointment, you are making certification for 100% of your 50% appointment.
What if my real effort on a project is more than the percentage of my payroll that the project pays?
This is okay.  You need verify or adjust your effort as it accurately describes your activities.   For example, if you are being paid 50% from a federal award and 50% from your department project, but you spend 60% of your time on the federal award, you should record your effort in the "Certified Effort" column that way: 60% on the federal project, 40% on the department project.  Only if your effort is less on a federal or research project than you are being paid do we need to require a payroll adjustment.
What if I am unavailable to complete my Effort Certification?
If an individual for whom effort needs to be certified is not able to certify their own effort (e.g. terminated employment, extended leave or similar circumstances), the individual’s supervisor or other person with suitable means of verification must confirm the effort for the individual by proxy.   Please contact the Office of the Sponsored Programs when this situation arises. 
Why must I certify for Support Staff members paid from my sponsored projects? 
Federal regulation and institutional policy requires Faculty/PI’s to certify Effort Certifications for all Supporting Individuals who have expended effort on his/her sponsored program. 
When certifying for my Support Staff, why can I not certify the projects highlighted in blue?
If a project is highlighted in blue, it must be certified by the Faculty/PI of that project.  An indicator at the bottom of each Support Staff effort statement displays whether the entire statement can be certified by a single Faculty/PI, or whether multiple certifications are needed by multiple Faculty/PIs.