Certifier Training Supplement - Effort Reporting

Page Updated: January 23, 2020

Training Supplement Goals

Welcome to the Effort Certifier Training Supplement. The goals of this supplement are:

  1. To explain the key points of certifying effort on sponsored projects, and
  2. To clarify common misunderstandings about requirements in proposing, managing, and certifying effort on sponsored projects.
Why is it Important to Know This?

Each year, the university receives millions of dollars from organizations, including the federal government, that sponsor research and other UW-Madison activities. As the stewards of those funds, it is our obligation to comply with federal and university requirements to certify faculty and staff effort on sponsored projects.

To certify effort accurately, we must understand key principles stipulated by the federal government. A failure to propose, manage, and certify effort correctly could jeopardize the university's federal funding and lead to penalties for the university.

How to Use This Supplement

Below are the key points about certifying effort that you will encounter in this course. Please use the navigation arrows at the bottom of each page to access each key point in succession, or you can use the Quick Links menu on the right to navigate through the training.

Certifying Effort: Key Points

1. What is effort?
Effort is your work on a project, whether or not the sponsor pays your salary.

2. What is a commitment?
When you write yourself into a grant proposal, you are committing your effort to the sponsor.

3. When does a change in effort require prior approval from the sponsor?
If you reduce your effort (paid or cost shared) on a federal grant by 25%, you must have agency approval.

4. Sponsored vs. non-sponsored activities
Many activities cannot be charged to a federally sponsored project.

5. Whose effort must be certified? Who certifies for whom?
If you work on a sponsored project, you must certify your effort. Effort must be certified by someone with suitable means of verifying that the work was performed.

6. Certifying effort vs. certifying payroll
Certifying effort is not the same as certifying payroll.

7. Effort certification is not an exact science
Certification must reasonably reflect all the effort for all the activities that are covered by your UW compensation.

8. Effort is NOT based on a 40-hour workweek.