Effort Certification

Effort certification is the process of certifying that salaries and wages charged to sponsored project accounts are reasonable in relation to the actual work performed. It assures a sponsor that 1) the sponsor only paid for the amount of effort that directly benefited the project and 2) the employee met his or her effort commitment to the project. Effort certification is also required for certifying personnel expenses that are being used to meet a match/cost share requirement (§200.430).

UT Austin certifies effort in the Effort Certification System (ECS). The effort for PIs on sponsored projects is certified twice per year. Separately, the effort of supporting individuals related to each sponsored project is also certified twice per year.

Should you have questions, contact the Office of Sponsored Projects (512-471-6424) and ask for the Effort Certification Coordinator, or email effort@austin.utexas.edu.

Certification Timeline

ECS Timeline Fall 2019 (PDF)

As a result of the most recent statewide audit and associated corrective action plan principal investigators are reminded that a withdrawal from a sponsored project, an absence from the university of more than three months, or a 25% (or greater) reduction in time devoted to the project on the part of a principal investigator, project director, or other key personnel requires prior approval from the sponsor.

Principal Investigator (PI) Responsibilities

All Principal Investigators and Co-principal investigators who are involved in proposing, expending, and managing sponsored projects must ensure that the salary and wages charged to the sponsored project comply with all applicable sponsor policies and university policies and procedures.

  1. From your homepage on https://utdirect.utexas.edu/effort, click [View Effort Report] for the current certification period.
  2. Review the effort listed. You may click [Show Budget Group Payroll] to view a breakdown of your payroll transactions on each account.
  3. If any budget groups are missing, click [Add a Budget Group] and enter the budget group. Click [Save Changes].
  4. If any cost share needs to be entered, you may enter it in the Effort Cost Shared column. Enter the percentage of effort cost shared in the row for the sponsored budget group. Enter the corresponding negative percentage of effort cost shared in the row for a non-sponsored budget group. The net total for the Effort Cost Shared column should total 0%. Click [Save Changes].
  5. If everything looks accurate, scroll down and click the checkbox that says: I agree that all cost sharing for this period of certification has been correctly represented.
  6. Finally, click [Certify This Individual Effort] and [Yes, Certify this Individual Effort].
  1. From your homepage on https://utdirect.utexas.edu/effort, click [Get Project Accounts].
  2. Click budget group [26-xxxx-xx].
  3. Click [Adjust or View] to view the individual effort of supporting individuals.
  4. If any cost share needs to be entered, you may enter it in the Effort Cost Shared Enter the percentage of effort cost shared in the row for the sponsored budget group. Enter the corresponding negative percentage of effort cost shared in the row for a non-sponsored budget group. The net total for the Effort Cost Shared column should total 0%. Click [Save Changes].
  5. If everything looks accurate, scroll down and click the checkbox that says: (Certifiers Only) All cost-sharing reported for the Supporting Individuals on this project during the certification period is accurate.
  6. Finally, click [Certify] and [Yes].
  7. Click the [Home] tab on the upper left-hand corner to return to your home page.
  8. Review and repeat this process for all other uncertified reports.

Certification is complete when all reports on your homepage say Certified, Complete or Building.

Departmental Effort Contact Responsibilities

Departmental effort contacts may be used by some units as an administrative efficiency to pre-certify effort. Although it is recommended, pre-certification is not a requirement. A PI may certify effort reports without pre-certification by an Effort Contact.

  1. From your homepage on https://utdirect.utexas.edu/effort, click [Get Project Accounts] for the first unit code listed.
  2. Click budget group [26-xxxx-xx].
  3. Click [Adjust or View] to view the individual effort of supporting individuals.
  4. If any cost share needs to be entered, you may enter it in the Effort Cost Shared Enter the percentage of effort cost shared in the row for the sponsored budget group. Enter the corresponding negative percentage of effort cost shared in the row for a non-sponsored budget group. The net total for the Effort Cost Shared column should total 0%. Click [Save Changes].
  5. If everything looks accurate, scroll down and click the button that says: Pre-certify Effort for the Supporting Individuals for Budget Group.
  6. Click the [Home] tab on the upper left-hand corner to return to your home page.
  7. Review and repeat this process for all other uncertified reports.

Certification is complete when all reports on your homepage say Pre-certified, Certified, Complete, or Building. In addition, Effort Contacts should utilize the tab labeled "Dept Reports" to run the following reports to ensure all individual and project reports are complete:

  • CGJGEFDP: Completion Report By Reports to Unit Code
  • CGJGPER2: Primary Individuals' Certification Status

View this video for more information on What an Effort Contact does for PIs? (Video)

Training Resources

While training is no longer required, these training materials are available on an as-needed basis.

Effort Certification Training module (CW 520 Effort Certification Training)

  • An introduction to Effort and Effort Certification
  • An understanding of the importance of Effort Certification
  • An understanding of Committed Effort
  • Effort Certification examples

A preview of this training is available here: (PDF) (PowerPoint).

Additional Resources

FAQs

Contact the Effort Contact listed on your project report or your departmental Human Resource Coordinator.

Per the university’s Handbook of Operating Procedures, section 7-1010:

A minimal commitment of 1% is required on the part of the PI and other key personnel during the project. The effort can be expended during the academic year, the summer, or both. The minimum requirement does not apply to:

  • equipment grants
  • dissertation grants
  • other awards intended as “student augmentation”
  • limited-purpose grants such as travel grants or conference support

Yes, any report labeled “pre-certified” still needs to be certified. Only a PI can final certify effort reports.

When all reports on your homepage are green and say “Certified”, “Complete” or “Building”. For most PIs, certification is a two-step process and includes certifying their individual report as well as all project reports.

When all reports on your homepage are green and say “Pre-certified” or “Complete”.

When you have run reports on the tab [Dept Reports] and verify that all individual effort reports have been certified by PIs and Co-PIs in your unit.

From your individual Effort Report, please click [Add a Budget Group], enter the budget group and click [save]. The budget group will now be available to add cost share.

How to make a correction to your own individual effort report:

  1. From your homepage on https://utdirect.utexas.edu/effort, click [View Effort Report] for the current certification period.
  2. Towards the bottom of the page, you’ll the following box:
    requesting correction graphic
  3. Type a reason in the box.
  4. Click [Request Post-Certification Correction].
  5. If you are within the 45-day Certification Period, the report will re-open instantly upon request and you can make changes. If you are outside the 45-day window, an email notice will route to SPAA. Once SPAA has reviewed and approved, a second email will let you know when the report has been re-opened and you can make updates.

*Note: only a PI can make changes to their individual effort report.

How to make a correction to a project effort report:

  1. From your homepage on https://utdirect.utexas.edu/effort, click [Get Projects Accounts].
  2. Click budget group [26-xxxx-xx]
  3. Towards the bottom of the page, you’ll the following box:
    requesting correction graphic
  4. Type a reason in the box.
  5. Click [Request Post-Certification Correction].
  6. If you are within the 45-day Certification Period, the report will re-open instantly upon request and you can make changes. If you are outside the 45-day window, an email notice will route to SPAA. Once SPAA has reviewed and approved, a second email will let you know when the report has been re-opened and you can make updates.

If a PI has left the university, and no longer has access to the Effort Certification System, please fill out a proxy form. For effort certification, a Proxy is defined as an Individual with comparable responsibilities on a sponsored project application to a principal investigator, project director, co-investigator, or co-project director who certifies effort by virtue of having direct knowledge of the work and using suitable means of verification that the work was performed. Once signed, please email the form to the Effort inbox.

ECS was designed so that individuals cannot be deleted. Simply zero-out (0) the Effort Performed and Effort Cost Shared columns for the individual and click the Save Changes button. The only exception is during the Building period. In a Building period if a supporting individual was paid and then their pay was reversed, they will drop off of the effort report.