Effort 101

Office of Research and Scholarship

What is effort?

Simply stated, effort refers to the amount of time you spend on a particular activity. As an employee of UT Tyler, our compensation is commensurate with our work on a set of activities which we were hired to perform (or are expected to perform as part of our being employed by the university). For individuals working on sponsored research, it includes the time spent working on a sponsored project in which all or part of their salary is directly charged or contributed (cost-shared effort).

Individual effort is expressed as a percentage of the total amount of time spent on work-related activities (teaching, research, service administration, etc.) for which the University compensates an individual.

Effort is not calculated based on a 40-hour workweek. If a person works 80 hours a week, and spends 20 hours a week on their grant, then their sponsored effort is 25% (20/80=0.25).



When preparing a proposal for submission, sponsors require principal investigators to disclose committed effort and anticipated effort for the proposed project. Effort should be proposed based on good faith estimates, and be calculated using established procedures.

Post Award

At the time of notice of award, the Office of Research, Scholarship, and Sponsored Programs (ORSSP) staff verifies that effort in the proposal and award matches the e-Forms for all employees paid from sponsored programs.

How do PIs certify effort?

ECRT will email principal investigators with the ECRT login when the 30-day certification window is open.

Federal requirements regarding effort reporting

Effort reporting is required by Federal regulations for all compensation/salary costs charged to federal grants and contracts in accordance with the U.S. Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) 2 CFR Part 200 "Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards" (Uniform Guidance).

Documentation on how individuals spend time on federally sponsored projects is subject to federal audit and can be cause for institutional or individual disallowances.

Institutional disallowances can result if:

  1. The effort report was certified by an individual other than the employee or someone who has knowledge of 100 percent of the employee's time;
  2. The effort report does not encompass all of the activities performed by the employee under the terms of their employment;
  3. The levels of effort reported do not appear reasonable, given the responsibilities of the individual.

Individual disallowances can result if:

  1. The effort report certified by the individual is found to be falsified;
  2. The levels of effort eported do not appear reasonable.