Allocation of Effort Examples

Note: for simplicity, some scenarios are presented at 100% grant funding. Care should be taken to review 100% research funded faculty to ensure they are not materially involved in other activities.
 

 

Variations in Work Week

Scenario: Two faculty members work the same number of hours on a grant and are paid the same dollars, yet one faculty member works 10 hours more a week on average the the other.

  • Faculty A: has an average work week of 50 hours, works 10 hours on Grant X and is paid $37,500 on the grant.
  • Faculty B: has an average work week of o hours, works 10 hours on Grant X and is paid $37,000 on the grant.

Does this represent a smaller or larger percentage of total effort performed by the faculty working fewer hours?

  • Effort on grants (and all other UW activities) is based on each faculty member's effort (hours worked) on each grant/activity divided by their total University effort (hours worked). There is no "standard" work week for faculty.
  • The percent of salary allocated to a faculty member's grant should be commensurate with the percent of their total University work effort directed towards the goals of the grant.
  • Sponsors expect that the salary charged to their project for the effort performed will be at the same rate as the salary charged to other activities performed by the faculty member.
  • Sponsors are not to be charged at a higher rate per unit of effort than the institution pays an employee for effort towards other University activities.

Regardless of the University activities engaged in, the compensation for those efforts must be at a consistent rate.

Variations in Effort During an FEC Cycle

Scenario: A faculty member has three grants and does not provide the same amount of effort on the grants each month.

  • Grant A: 25% effort commitment
    • First month of cycle works 100% on Grant A
    • Second month of cycle works 50% on Grant A
  • Grant B: 25% effort commitment
    • Second month of cycle works 50% on Grant B
    • Third through sixth month of cycle works 75% on Grant B
  • Grant C: 50% effort commitment
    • Third though sixth month of cycle works 75% on Grant B

Is the faculty member in compliance with his/her effort commitments to the sponsors?

Over the course of the cycle, the faculty member's effort averages out to the percentage committed to the sponsor.

  • Grant A: (100% + 50%)/6 months = 25%
  • Grant B: (50%/6 months) + ((25%*4 months)/6 months) = 25%
  • Grant C: ((75%*4 months)/6 months = 50%

Fluctuations in Effort During the Budgeti Period

 Scenario: A PI significantly changes the percent effort by more than 25% from cycle to cycle during the budget period.

Is the PI in compliance if, during one FEC cycle his/her effort is 25% or more less than what was committed?

Normally effort should be met over the budget period, not necessarily over each FEC cycle. Effort may vary from FEC cycle to FEC cycle as long as the PI(s) or key personnel, as designated in the Notice of Grant Award (NGA), do not

  • Absence themselves from the project for three consecutive months or more,
  • Reduce their level of effort on the grant (direct and cost share combined) by 25% or more over the budget period,
  • Withdraw from the project entirely.

Unless one or more of the three issues noted above apply, there is not need to request prior approval from the sponsor for fluctuations in effort.

Actual Does Not Equal Commitment

Scenario: Faculty member provides effort at a different percentage than committed

  • Grant A: 25% commitment
  • Grant B: 25% commitment
  • Grant C: 50% commitment

Is the faculty member in compliance if s/he spends more time on Grant A than was committed and less on Grant C?

  • Grant A: 50% for three months
  • Grant B: 25% for three months
  • Grant C: 25% for three months

The additional effort on Grant A is considered voluntary uncommitted cost sharing and can only be provided if there are sufficient non-grant funding sources to cover the effort above the original commitment. In this case there are no funding sources available to cover the additional effort and the effort should be reduced to 25% or the salary distribution changed to reflect the actual effort.

Grant B can be funded at 25% effort and is in compliance.

Grant C has been reduced by 50%. In this scenario, prior sponsor approval would have to be obtained in writing before effort can be reduced by 25% or more. In this particular case, the faculty member would have to reduce his/her effort commitment to 25% in order for him/her to meet her other commitments before s/he can certify.

Effort Benefits Two Grants

Scenario: Faculty member spends time setting up equipment that will support two grants

  • First month of FEC cycle: 100% spent setting up equipment that supports two grants.
    • Grant A: 75% commitment
    • Grant B: 25% commitment

How does the faculty member distribute the effort expended on setting up the equipment?

The equipment set up time should be allocated in accordance with the benefit each grant will derive from the equipment. The benefit can be based on reasonable estimates, such as:

  • and objective or subjective assessment of use, such as hours of equipment usage
  • faculty member's effort toward each grant

Part Time Appointments

Scenario: Faculty member has a 50% appointment and has a grant that funds 50% of his/her full time institutional base salary, i.e. all of the 50% appointment.

Does the faculty member devote 50% of 20 hours or 100% of 20 hours to the grant?

The faculty member should certify to 100% of his/her compensation being supported by the grant. This represents 50% FTE. She certifies to the compensation level, not the FTE level.

Faculty with De Minimus Activity

Scenario 1: Faculty works on average 60 hours a week and is paid 100% on sponsored reasearch. He is asked to serve on a UW instruction board which entails approximately 10 hours per year - three four hour meetings and time responding to emails/queries.

Does the faculty member need non-grant funding to cover his/her work on the UW instructional board?

The term used to identiry effort that is too low to quantify is de minimus. This term does not specify nor quantify a specific number of hours or percent of effort. To decide if an activity should be considered de minimus, determine if, in aggregate, its inclusion in, or exclusion from, total effort would affect the percentages of effort allocated to grant funded activity. If it would affect the precentages of effort allocated to grants, the percentages of salary paid on the grant(s) should be adjusted commensurately, i.e. reduced in this scenario.

Scenario 2: Research faculty member is paid 100% sponsored funding and does not have teaching or administrative responsibilities. S/he is required to attend faculty and division meetings that require less than 1% of her time.

Can s/he charge the time spent attending these meetings to her grants?

There are not set parameters to define what constitutes de minimus activity. This is situational and must be determined by the faculty member in consultation with appropriate departmental leadership. As in scenario 1, the activities would be considered de minimus if they did notaffect the percentages of effort allocated to sponsored activity.

100% Research Activity and Teaching

 Scenario: A faculty member who is 100% sponsor funded participates in teaching activities.

Can the faculty member's grants pay for teaching activities?

Charges to sponsored agreements may include reasonable amounts for activities contributing and intimately related to work under the agreements such as delivering special lectures about specific aspects of the ongoing activity, writing reports and articles, participating in appropriate seminars, consulting with colleagues and graduate students and attending meetings and conferences.

If the teaching and other activities are NOT contributing and/or intimately related to the work under the agreements that are paying the salary, then a portion of the individual's salary proportionate to the non-grant effort must be paid from other non-federal sources.

"Volunteer" Effort

Scenario: An emeritus faculty member with a 40% appointment (the maximum allowed for retired employees) has been hired to teach a course and has been asked to "volunteer" time on a sponsored reasearch project.

Is it allowable for a faculty member with a 40% appointment to volunteer some of the remaining 60% of a full time appointment?

The effort attributable to the sponsored project must be considered part of the compensation of the individual and is therefore considered part of the 40% effort allocable for retired faculty.

Salary Commensurate with Effort

Scenario: A faculty member is asked to serve on instructional committees for a joint appointing department and is requested to run an entire course. The appointing department offers 25% compensation. The estimate of the effort required to develop and deliver the course is:

  • 6 months prep time at 40% effort
  • 3 months effort at 50% during the quarter the course is taught

Is the compensation offered sufficient to support the effort required?

The percent of salary is not commensurate with the percent of effort required to accomplish the assignment. Additional non-grant funded salary needs to be identified to support the level of effort required.

Faculty without Salary (WOS)

Scenario: A research faculty member has a 100% appointment and one of his/her grants is expiring. The department is unable to provide bridge funding.

  • Grant A: 50% effort at 30 hours a week and $70,000 compensation
  • Grant B: 50% effort at 30 hoursw a week and %70,000 compensation (Expiring)

Option 1: The faculty member reduces salary to $70,000 and continues to work 60 hours per week spending all 60 hours (100% effort) working on Grant A. The salary total of $70,000 can be paid from Grant A because 100% of the effort is on Grant A. Note: If there are additional funds available in Grant A, these can be used as bridge funding in consideration of the additional effort.

Option 2: The faculty member reduces salary to $70,000 and reduces total hours worked. All 30 hours are spent on Grant A. Salary of $70,000 can be paid from Grant A because 100% effort is on Grant A.

Option 3: The faculty member reduces salary to $70,000 and reduces hours worked on Grant A to 30 per week. All 30 hours are spent on Grant A. Faculty may teach a course or devote time to clinical activities if funding is available from University sources other than sponsored projects.

Allocation of Funding for Required University Activities

Scenario: The department wants to set 5% as a common percentage of non-sponsored funding to support non-grant activity for their faculty members.

While 5% may be the right funding level for some faculty, others may work significantly more, or less, on non-grant activities. While removing everyone from grant funding for some portion of their time may reduce risk, every individual's portfolio of activities should be reviewed to determine the appropriate mix of grant and non-grant funding. The final determining factor is each individual's actual effort. The 5% could be used by departments for budgeting purposes, i.e. allocating 5% of the budget for faculty salaries to support non-grant activity, but the actual salary charged to these funds would need to reflect the actual effort of the faculty.

Post Award Salary Changes

Scenario: A faculty member's salary increases over 3-4% (allowed by NIHi) between the time the proposal was submitted and when it was awarded.

  • $100,000 salary at the time of proposal submission. 10% effort committed and $10,000 in funding requested
  • $120,000 salary at the time of award. The 10% commitment now calculates to $12,000

How does the faculty member deal with the deficti? Can he reduce his effort to the budgeted dollar amount?

The focus should be on the required level of effort needed to accomplish the objectives of the project/program as it was proposed. If a reduced level of effort will not impact meeting the project/program objectives then that would be the most appropriate course of action. However, if the reduction is 25% or more, agency approval will need to be obtained for the decrease in effort.

If the proposed level of effort is required and funds are not available from the award, then non-grant funding could be used to "cost share" some effort.

 

 

© 2014 Finance & Facilities, University of Washington     PRIVACYTERMS