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Effort@UVA FAQs


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Determining Effort:

Roles and Responsibilities:

Effort Report Statuses:

Effort Report Structure:

Effort@UVA Help Resources:

Why is it necessary to certify effort and the effort of those working on sponsored and non-sponsored activities?

Time and Effort Certification is a federal requirement: Uniform Guidance - 2 CFR.200.430 Compensation - personal services. In performing these required certifications the following is accomplished:

  1. ensuring that committed effort on sponsored activities is documented, whether the financial support for the effort is provided by the sponsor or other university funding sources,
  2. verifying that payroll costs charged to specific sponsored activities is commensurate with the certified effort expended toward those activities,
  3. documenting effort toward various clinical activities, and
  4. accounting for 100% of university effort.

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What is the approved University method for the certification of effort?

The After-the-Fact method used to confirm the distribution of salaries and wages based upon a percentage distribution to various activities, supported by the generation of periodic activity reports. These reports should reasonably reflect the employee's activities associated with each sponsored agreement as well as to each category of other University activities. 

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What is "University Effort"?

The sum of all activities that comprise professional/professorial workload at UVa, including the Medical Center and UVa at Wise, for which the employee is compensated (through UVa and/or the University Physicians Group (UPG). This includes research, instruction, public service/other sponsored activities, administration and clinical activities. For the purpose of effort certification, 'university effort' totals 100%, regardless of the number of hours worked. For additional information on certain activities that are included and excluded from 'university effort,' reference Appendix A of Policy FIN-027, Time and Effort Certification at

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What is "Committed Effort"?

That part of University effort that is quantified and included in a sponsored program proposal, later awarded, as effort/time to be devoted to the aims of that proposal (e.g., two summer months, 12% time, one half of a year, three person-months, etc.)..

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How is "Committed Effort" supported?

Associated funding to support effort commitments can be in the form of:

  • Direct payment from the sponsored project, and/or
  • Payment from other non-federal sources, normally University sources (generally known as "cost share").  

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Who receives a periodic effort report?

  • Faculty who work on sponsored projects- for which the sponsor reimburses effort through direct payments from the specific sponsored activity.
  • Faculty who work on sponsored projects- but whose committed effort on the project is funded by a source other than the sponsoring agency as "cost share."
  • Clinical faculty
  • Faculty responsible for Graduate Students or other employees working on their sponsored projects.
  • Faculty assigned as the Principal Investigator on active projects during a specific effort reporting cycle, regardless of the presence of direct salary support or a cost sharing commitment against those projects.

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Who is authorized to certify an effort report?

  1. The employee/Principal Investigator for whom the effort report was created.
  2. A responsible person having firsthand knowledge of the work performed (for example, a co-investigator, division or department head). See definition of "responsible person" and "firsthand knowledge" below.
  3. A responsible person using a suitable means of verification that the work was performed. See definition of "responsible person" and "suitable means of verification" below.

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What is the time frame for certifying an effort report?

Electronic Generation: Forty-five (45) days are allowed for final effort certification by an authorized certifier. This time frame begins from the date of distribution and is inclusive of days the report is in the hands of the Effort Reporting Coordinators (ERC) during their 'Pre-Review' phase.

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How does the certification statement read?

"I certify that, having firsthand knowledge or having used a suitable means of verification, the work was performed toward the above activities and that the certified effort percentages REFLECT A REASONABLE distribution of effort for this period".

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What happens if I do not certify my effort reports?

Non-compliance with this policy and related procedures may result in financial loss to the Institution. Those with roles and responsibilities in the process are responsible in any instances of non-compliance.

The Office of Sponsored Programs will take corrective action toward ensuring that the Time and Effort Certification policy and the related procedures are followed. In the event that an effort report is not certified, corrective actions may include but are not limited to:

  • withholding submission of proposals, other project applications or other documents such as material transfer agreements,
  • training of Principal Investigators/Faculty and staff in the certification process,
  • placing active projects/awards 'on hold', and/or,
  • moving uncertified payroll distributions to non-sponsored accounts.

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How often do effort certifications occur?

All Faculty (Clinical, Non-Clinical, and Non-School of Medicine) Semi-Annually

January 1 - June 24

June 25 - December 24

Graduate Research Assistants Semi-Annually

January 1 - June 23

June 24 - December 22

Staff/Wage Employees Semi-Annually

December 24 - June 23

June 24 - December 22

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What is Institutional Base Salary (IBS)?

The annual compensation that the University and/or University Physicians Group (UPG) pays for an individual’s appointment, whether that individual’s time is spent on research, instruction, administration, or other activities (e.g., patient care or proposals preparation). Please see policy FIN-53: Institutional Base Salary for additional details.

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How is "Committed Effort" defined?

That part of University effort that is quantified and included in a sponsored program proposal, later awarded, as effort/time to be devoted to the aims of that proposal (e.g., two summer months, 12% time, one half of a year, three person-months, etc.)..

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What is "Cost Shared Effort"?

Any portion of "committed effort" toward a sponsored activity for which a sponsor does not pay salary/benefits, but rather UVA pays the salary/benefits from other sources. Committed cost shared effort expended, being part of one's University effort, must be documented on the effort report.

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How are "Principal Investigators/Project Directors and Key Personnel" defined for the purpose of Time and Effort Certification?

Principal Investigators/Project Directors and 'key personnel' are individuals whose effort is absolutely essential to the success of the proposed activity, either because of their critical leadership position within the proposal (and consequently their intellectual guidance) or because of the uniqueness of the expertise they are contributing relative to the proposed scope of activity. 'Key personnel' may also include research scientists, principal scientists and senior scientists depending on their intellectual contribution to the proposed scope of activity. Typically, replacement of any of these individuals requires approval from the sponsor. Importantly, the status of Principal Investigator/Project Director and 'key personnel' does not necessary imply that they receive salary support from the external sponsor.

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How are "Other Contributing Personnel" defined for the purposes of Time and Effort Certification?

Other individuals are often included in proposals (e.g., graduate students, postdocs, trainees, technical staff, other researchers, etc.) whose service is necessary to complete the proposed scope of activity, but whose intellectual involvement is not uniquely germane to the success of the sponsored activity.

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How is "responsible person" defined for purposes of effort certification?

Normally this is the employee for whom the University effort report has been generated. In the event that the employee/Principal Investigator is unable to certify the effort report, a surrogate using a suitable means of verification of the work performed may certify the report.

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What Constitutes "firsthand knowledge"?

Direct evidence of work performed. One may have this knowledge of work performed by either performing the work or through supervising the individual performing the work.

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What is a "suitable means of verification"?

The process through which one receives assurance that work was performed so as to provide a certification of effort on the periodic effort reports. This process must take into consideration other university records and provide for the documented review of such records in support of work performed. Some examples of these records might include: calendars, teaching schedules, logbooks, or sponsor budgets. Other means of verification may also suffice, including e-mails attesting to effort devoted based upon firsthand knowledge. Oral verification from the employee/Principal Investigator or others fulfilling the role of a responsible person to an administrator will not suffice as a suitable means of verification.

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Is University Effort based on a standard 40 hour work week?

No. For the purpose of effort certification, university effort totals 100%, regardless of the number of hours worked.

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What is the institution's position on 100% support of effort from federally sponsored activities?

In addition to sponsored program activity, full time faculty, as part of their 'University effort,' generally have responsibilities for other University activities such as non-sponsored research, instruction, administration, advising students, service or clinical activity that would generally preclude their devoting 100% effort solely to federally sponsored activities. Proposal preparation for future funding (competitive, new, renewal sponsored funds) would also preclude full time faculty from committing 100% effort to federally sponsored activities. Salary support for these other University activities must come from non-federal UVA sources, except when the sponsored project is specifically awarded for those purposes. It may be appropriate for certain research faculty to be supported at 100% solely from federally sponsored activities in cases where other such responsibilities do not exist.

Incidental work and de minimis activities, over and above or separate from those duties assigned to a faculty member, need not be included as part of one's 100% 'University effort' (e.g., on occasion teaching a continuing education course; occasional attendance at faculty meetings; rare, non-routine time spent in advising students).

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Is there a minimum effort requirement on my federally sponsored projects?

Yes - in most cases. Based upon federal guidance, some level of committed effort for all Principal Investigators/Project Directors and 'key personnel' is required on most Federal and Federal flow-through sponsored research activities, unless specifically exempted by the sponsor. The commitments must be fulfilled at any time within each year (academic year, summer months, or both).

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What is the minimum level of effort expected?

The minimum amount of committed effort to each sponsored activity is to be no less than 1% of the employee's University effort. However, beyond this minimum, the specific amount of effort committed to a particular sponsored activity is left to the judgment of the responsible Principal Investigator/Program Director based on their expectations and estimates of effort necessary to meet the technical goals and outcomes of the project. For additional detail on this topic, reference Appendix A of Policy FIN-028Minimum Effort on Federally Funded Sponsored Research Activities at

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What are the roles of School/Department Effort Reporting Coordinators (ERC) and Alternates?

These individuals act in support and administrative roles in regards to the time and effort certification practices of the institution. Their responsibilities include: understanding the principles and practices surrounding time and effort certification, establishing effective processes in their areas to assist with these practices; reviewing effort reports for completeness and accuracy based upon knowledge of budgets, commitments of effort and payroll scheduling; assisting and guiding Certifiers/Faculty in the process and coordinating necessary adjustments in payroll in support of the periodic effort certifications.  

System functionality for persons named in these roles includes:

  • Adding a new line (Award/Project) in the report details in Section I
  • Adding a Service Code in Section III (Clinical Faculty)
  • Sending the report to the Certifier
  • Sending the report to the Designee
  • Reassigning reports to another Effort Reporting Coordinator or alternate(s)
  • Reassigning the Certifier for an effort report

These persons normally cannot certify effort reports as they do not meet the criteria of having firsthand knowledge of work performed toward specific activities. In certain circumstances, these persons may be the responsible supervisor for an employee being supported from sponsored activities. In these circumstances and in the absence of the named Certifier/PI on the effort report, certifications by these persons may be acceptable.  

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What are the roles of the Certifiers/Principal Investigators (PI)?

These individuals are responsible for performing required reviews and certifications of the periodic time and effort reports based upon their firsthand knowledge or by having used a suitable means of verification of work performed toward specific activities. In addition to their primary responsibility of accurate and timely certification, these persons should also:

  • Understand the principles, policy and procedures related to accurate and timely certification of effort reports
  • Ensure that all committed effort obligations are accurately reflected on their effort reports
  • Ensure that his/her own effort and that of other individuals working on sponsored activities under their direction is certified accurately and in a timely manner
  • Comply with Sponsor requirements regarding any significant reductions (normally >25%) in effort commitments on funded sponsored activities
  • React to and correct any inaccuracies or omissions on the distributed effort reports to accurately reflect effort commitments toward sponsored activities
  • Identify and communicate to the School/Department Effort Reporting Coordinator situations where the certified effort percentage on any sponsored activity is less than the corresponding payroll percentage
  • Respond to any questions posed by reviewers regarding the certification of their effort and of those working for them on sponsored activities

System functionality for persons named in this role includes:

  • Adding a new line (Award/Project) in the report details in Section I
  • Adding a Service Code in Section III (Clinical Faculty)
  • Requesting assistance from the Effort Reporting Coordinator
  • Saving the certification values/report without officially certifying
  • Certifying the effort report

The Same functionality exists for the Designee role (See below).

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What is the role of the Designee?

These individuals provide critical oversight roles related to time and effort institutional practices for their specific organizations. In addition to this general oversight and an understanding of the principles, policy and procedures, Designees are responsible for taking corrective action when notified of outstanding effort reports.

Corrective action and requests for assistance in instances of outstanding effort reports do not necessarily require the Designee to actually certify the report(s) in question, but instead facilitate the certification of the outstanding report. If in their role, a Designee can comfortably certify the outstanding report(s) given firsthand knowledge of the work performed or having used a suitable means to obtain this knowledge, these individuals do have the authority to perform certifications on behalf of the named employee

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What are the effort report statuses in the electronic system?


PRE-DISTRIBUTED   System Administrator (SA) NONE: Involves quality assurance review for template and data integrity. Reasonableness and completeness checks.
PRE-REVIEW 1 -15 All Effort Reporting Coordinators (ERC) and SA
  • Add award/project Section I
  • Add service code Section III
  • Send to Certifier or Designee
  • Reassign Certifier or Effort Reporting Coordinator roles
  • View prior report
  • Printable version
UNCERTIFIED 1-45 (30 day window with extra time if sent from Pre-Review before day 15) All Roles (ERCs/Certifier/PI/Designee and SA)
  • Add award/project Section I
  • Add service code Section III
  • Save values
  • Request assistance form Effort Reporting Coordinators
  • Certify effort report (only available to Certifier/PI or Designee role)
  • View prior report
  • Printable version
  • Read-only version
  • Move to Archive status
  • View prior report
  • Printable version
  • Read-only version
  • Move to Archive status
  • Printable version
  • Add award/project Section I
  • Add service code Section III
  • Save values
  • Request assistance form Effort Reporting Coordinators
  • Certify effort report (only available to Certifier/PI or Designee role)
  • View prior report
  • Printable version
ARCHIVED   All Roles
  • Read-only version
  • Printable version

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Does 'saving' my effort report change the status from Uncertified?

No. While it is recommended to save values prior to final certification, the effort report remains in an ‘Uncertified’ status. The report does not move to either an ‘Archived’ or a ‘Post-Certification’ status until the Certify Effort Report button is selected and all of the certification steps are completed successfully.

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What activities are included in Section I - Sponsored Activities?

Externally funded programs under which the University is obligated to perform a defined scope of work according to specific terms and conditions and within budgetary limitations. These programs are to be budgeted and accounted for separately from other activities. Sponsored activities include grants, contracts, cooperative agreements, clinical trial agreements, Intergovernmental Personnel Agreements and other awarding instruments supporting research, instruction, public service, and clinical trials. These activities are established as 'G or Z' awards in the University's Integrated Financial System.

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What activities are included in Section II - Other University Activities?

This section captures funding sources/activities for University effort devoted to activities that are not funded from sponsored projects. Whereas the sponsored effort section requires certification for each sponsored project, effort in Section II is reported in the aggregate.

Instruction: Preparation, evaluation and delivery of teaching and training activities of the Institution, regardless of whether offered on a credit or non-credit basis. Also includes instruction-related activities such as thesis advice, general mentoring of students (except as directly related to an externally funded activity supporting student mentoring/training in Section I above).

Administration: Services that benefit common or joint Institution or Department activities. Includes Faculty with administrative appointments (e.g., Deans, Department Chairs, and Center Directors).

Non-Sponsored Research: Internally (Institutional/Departmental) funded research regardless of whether the activity is separately budgeted and accounted for. Such activities support research, development and other scholarly duties that are not funded from external sources.

Proposal Preparation on New and Competitive Renewal Programs: Considered part of general administrative activities, except for sponsored projects specifically awarded for these purposes (e.g., NIH Career Awards).

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What activities are included in Section III for Clinical Faculty - Clinical Care and Medical Center Related Activities?

In this section, clinical faculty document their effort, in the aggregate, related to each the following:

A. Direct Patient Care:

Patient specific activities on behalf of the University of Virginia Health System, including time spent training/supervising Resident/Fellows/Trainees. Examples include:

  • Outpatient clinic sessions
  • Procedures
  • Consults, telephone consults, review of test/diagnostic procedure reports, interpretive reading sessions
  • Patient related correspondence, documenting, reviewing and/or signing of documentation, care coordination
  • Supervision of care providers
  • Time spent "in room" or "on deck," and active response while on call
  • Medical exams and consults
  • Team conferences
  • Case reviews
  • Interpretive reading sessions, and review of reports

B. Instruction and Training for Residents/Fellows/Trainees:

Instruction and training for non-treatment related patient care and other activities such as:

  • Case Reviews
  • Grand Rounds
  • Journal Review
  • QC Review, Morbidity and Mortality Conference
  • Practice of Medicine
  • Telemedicine demonstrations, saw bone demonstrations, cadaveric and other skill labs

C. Administration of Residency/Fellowship Programs:

Oversight and direction of Residency and Fellowship Programs

D. Administration and Management of activities that relate to delivery of patient care within the UVA Health System:

Administrative and managerial activities, including planning and preparation, conducted within or on behalf of the Medical Center. Examples include:

  • Medical Directorships of units, clinics, services and labs
  • Active response while on administrative call
  • Clinical Chair activities
  • Committees and work groups addressing:
    • Clinical Care
    • Quality
    • Information and Technology
    • Credentialing
    • GME
    • Marketing and/or research development
    • Buchanan Funds

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What is the Time Allotment for Medicare Cost Reporting data used for?

This is a detailed breakdown of the total amount of effort certified in Section III. For Medical Center Related Clinical Administration and Management, a list of Service Codes (from the Medical Center) is provided for certification of applicable committees and directorships.

In addition, clinical faculty are to record the average number of hours per week toward University activities. This information is used by the Medical Center for the annual Medicare Cost Report.

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Who can I contact for help?

Your organizational Effort Reporting Coordinator, School/College Research Office, or the Office of Sponsored Programs (Post Award) can provide you with assistance.

OSP has created a Time and Effort Certification system email address. Send an email to to ask a question or request assistance from OSP.

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What educational opportunities regarding Time and Effort Certification are available?

New Effort Reporting Coordinators should email for initial training.  For new and current Effort Reporting Coordinators there is an “Effort Reporting Coordinator- Online Effort Training".

An on-line eight (8) minute presentation intended as an overview for faculty on time and effort certification theory is available from this URL:

For assistance in navigating and understanding the functionality of the web-based Time and Effort Certification System, please use the on-screen help in Effort@UVA.

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