What is effort certification?
Effort certification is the method by which the University assures the federal government and other research sponsors that they are charged only the appropriate labor expenses and that faculty and staff has met their commitments to sponsored projects.
Why is effort certification important?
Effort certification is required by some research sponsors, especially the federal government. Failure to certify effort correctly and in a timely manner could be viewed as fraud and result in sanctions and/or charges against both the institution and the individual.
What does this mean for me?
Who is required to be the certifier?
OMB Circular A-21:
Section J10b(2)(b) ... Direct cost activities and F&A activities may be confirmed by responsible persons with suitable means of verification that the work was performed. Suitable means is having direct knowledge which could encompass the Principal Investigator, the individual performing the actual work or a direct supervisor who have sufficient and verifiable knowledge of the work being performed, including an understanding of the individual's regular duties and responsibilities
What is suitable means for certification?
Suitable Means is defined as : Having sufficient or required properties for a certain purpose or task And to denote confirmation by evidence that something that was believed is correct, serving to support or corroborate
I generally work 50 to 60 hours per week. Is my effort computed as a fraction of the 'standard' 40 hour work week?
No. Your effort should be computed as a fraction of the total hours you spend in your professional capacity, not as a fraction of a 40 hour week.
Can I reallocate effort simply to use up unspent funds or to clear a deficit on a federal project?
Generally no. A person's effort must be charged to the cost centers where the actual work was performed. However, it should be noted that any "unfunded" effort on the project should be allocated to the cost sharing code and charged to a non-federal source of funding. By so doing, the effort is appropriately associated with the sponsored project while, at the same time, the cost is charged elsewhere
My PAF indicates that I am spending 90% of my time on sponsored projects, but I am actually spending 20% of my time on instruction, serving on committees and working with students. What should I do?
The PAF must be adjusted. Work with your administrator so that s/he can make the appropriate changes to your PAF to reflect your actual effort. A retroactive adjustment may be necessary to correct your effort for past months. If the effort adjustment results in funding problems, work with your administrator, PI and/or your director/ Department Chair to resolve the issue.
I am fairly new to the research community, and I am not sure I completely understand the nuances of effort reporting and certification policies and procedures. What should I do?
It is vital that each researcher with federal effort report that effort correctly. Contact the Office of Post Award Management. We can help you understand how effort reporting and certification impacts you and how to reflect your effort on your PAF. All investigators with federally supported effort are encouraged to take online effort reporting training.
How do I certify my effort?
This is a two-step process:
Where can I go for help?