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Office of Research and Projects

Research Policies

Graduate Students

Time & Effort Reporting

All Sponsored Projects at educational institutions are subject to the "Cost Principles" established by the federal Office of Management and Budget in OMB Circular A-21-Section J.8 ( Cost Principles for Educational Institutions). A significant part of OMB Circular A-21 addresses reporting and documenting the time and effort devoted to sponsored projects (grants/contracts). The time you and your associates spend on grants or contracts, whether the sponsor pays for the time or the cost is shared by SIUE, must be documented.

Effort reporting is a method of documenting the work time devoted to an externally sponsored grant or contract activity and is expressed as a percentage of professional activity devoted to an account. All individuals who devote effort to sponsored activities, whether or not they are paid, are subject to effort reporting. The total amount of effort expended to accomplish the professional activities of SIUE faculty, staff, and students, regardless of the actual number of hours expended on those activities, is equal to 100% for each activity report. This normally includes all effort expended on SIUE-compensated sponsored research, administration, teaching, non-sponsored scholarly activity, and other activity. The number of hours implicit in an individual's 100% effort must be reasonable and supportable to department, school, university and external reviewers and is also subject to audit review. The effort percentages on the Activity/Effort Certification Form must total 100% which means that the total of the individual effort categories cannot be greater than 100% for each activity report.

The grant or contract for which you received an award was based on commitments made by you, your associates and co-investigators to spend specific amounts of time on the project. The government considers this commitment a legal obligation. Failure to abide by this commitment or to properly document the committed effort could be viewed as a failure to perform under the terms and conditions of the agreement with the granting agency. If this should happen, auditors may disallow salaries charged to the project and the funding agency and federal government could declare the contract/grant void and seek recovery from SIUE.

When a budget is sent to a potential sponsoring agency as part of a proposal, the effort presented in the budget and the proposal narrative is established as a standard against which auditors measure performance, even if the sponsor awards less than what was requested. The initially proposed level of effort will bind the University unless the sponsoring agency is contacted and the level of effort identified in the budget is amended. This amendment must be in writing and part of the award notification documentation

The SIUE Office of Institutional Research disseminates, on a semester basis, effort verification and effort distribution reports (Faculty, Professional Staff and Administrator Activity Report). These reports allow the university to manage and document the effort charged to each account for all professional activity for faculty, staff and graduate students, including sponsored grants/contracts. It is therefore important that these reports accurately reflect time and effort devoted to sponsored grants/contracts. It is also important that the project director/fiscal officer of the grant/contract ensure that the committed effort that is being reported to the Office of Institutional Research is regularly reviewed.

Additionally, faculty, professional staff, administrators and civil service employees paid via sponsored grant/contract funds will receive Compensated Activity Reports (After-the-Fact Reporting) from the Office of Research and Projects on a monthly basis. The special notation on these reports reads as follows: I confirm that I have first hand knowledge of all the work performed by the above employee(s) and that the above distribution of activities represents a reasonable estimate of work performed for the period indicated. The signature of the supervisor and/or individual who has first hand knowledge of the effort performed on the sponsored project along with their title and the date is required. These reports are to be certified by signature of the fiscal officer and by the employee(s) receiving compensation from the grant/contract and returned to ORP. You will also receive payroll certifications (for semi-monthly payrolls) from the University's Payroll Office. These certifications also require your review for accuracy and must be signed and returned to the Payroll department.

Without this certification, we are not eligible for reimbursement of your salary and benefits from the sponsoring agency. Failure to complete the effort report means disallowance of salary and fringe costs on sponsored agreements.

Reporting Periods: Compensated Activity Reports (After-the-Fact Reporting)

Faculty, Professional Staff and Administrators, Civil Service, Graduate Students - Monthly

Reports are generated and provided monthly for activities performed during the preceding month to individuals fully or partially compensated on externally sponsored grants and contracts for certification of activities and must be reviewed and signed (certified) and returned to ORP by the dates indicated on the report.

Reporting Periods: Faculty, Professional Staff and Administrator Activity Reports

Faculty, Professional Staff and Administrators - Semesters

  1. January - May : June
  2. June - August: September
  3. Sept. - December: January

Categories of Effort (comprehensive descriptions of categories can be found on the reverse side of the Faculty, Professional Staff and Administrator Activity Report .)

Direct Teaching
Includes all direct instruction effort.

Indirect Teaching
Includes all activity closely related to degree-credit teaching but not included in "Direct Teaching." (e.g. curriculum development, academic advisement)

Departmental Research
Includes un-sponsored scholarly and research activities. Departmental research is performed with the support of a department, school or instructional program. Departmental research is all research and development activities that are not separately budgeted and accounted for.

Creative Activities
Includes those activities associated with the visual and performing arts.

Organized Research/Sponsored Research Definition
Effort expended on all externally funded sponsored projects.

Intra-University Committees
Assigned activities performed as a member of committees established to address institution or campus-wide issues or needs.

Other Committees
Committee activities associated with department or schools.

Administrative Definition
Time spent on university administrative duties not related to sponsored research.

Public Service
Assigned activities performed for non-university groups.

Correcting the effort reported

Examples that require correction and/or adjustments:

  • If the report indicates that you are being paid from a sponsored agreement and your effort is less than what you are being paid; a payroll adjustment must be made.
  • Salary paid from a federal grant/contract is reduced. Percent effort reported is greater than percent salary
  • Salary paid from a federal grant/contract is increased. Percent effort reported varies downward from salary by five percentage points or less.
  • Salary paid from a federal grant/contract is increased. Percent effort reported varies downward from salary by more than five percentage points.
  • If the report indicates that you are being paid from a sponsored agreement and your effort is greater than what you are being paid. If the effort is from a departmental account, no payroll adjustment will need to be made. If the effort is from a non-departmental account; a payroll adjustment must be made.
  • Payroll data is used to generate the Faculty, Professional Staff and Administrator Activity Report and the Compensated Activity Report. Payroll activity and accounting adjustments are reviewed to determine retroactive salary adjustments for staff members covered by the Activity Reporting System. An adjustment may require that a new report be generated.


  • 100% Effort = Total University-compensated effort. Includes teaching, research, public service, administrative, and other University-related activities. 100% effort does not equate to any set number of hours. Expense associated with effort is based on institutional base salary.
  • Institutional Base Salary = The salary paid to the employee in either 1/12th increments for the 12 months of the fiscal year or 1/9th increments (for faculty on 9 month appointments) for the 12 months of the fiscal year.
  • Every employee has an institutional base salary that supports 100% of their University compensated time.
  • The effort reporting system identifies the portion of that 100% that was contributed to a grant.
  • That portion of time, multiplied by the institutional base salary, determines the allowable charge to the grant.
  • Our effort certification forms are based on a semester reporting period. If the percentage of effort changes during the semester, the effort certification form will show an average percentage for the semester period.
  • Effort certification form indicates the Semester average percentage from the payroll records. This is the "plan" as defined by A-21.
  • The employee certifies the percentage in the certify column. This is the "confirmation" as defined by A-21.
  • The total percentage of either column should be 100%.
  • 100 per cent effort is not defined as a single, standard number of hours or days per week, since it will likely be different for each person and may vary during the year.
  • OMB Circular A-21 mandates that the completed form be signed by "…the employee, principal investigator, responsible official, …or a person having direct knowledge of the work, using suitable means of verification that the work was performed."
  • Effort committed as cost share should be accounted for on the cost share effort/activity certification form.

Please call the Office of Institutional Research with any questions you have regarding the Faculty, Professional Staff and Administrator Activity Reports at Campus Phone 3415. Any questions you have regarding the Compensated Activity reports can be directed to the Office of Research and Projects at Campus Phone 3010.

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