Effort Commitments and Payroll Certification
RAMP - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
No-Cost Extension Request Procedures
Extramural Support Policies and Procedures
Research Education Development (RED)
Page Updated: Monday, May 15, 2023 4:02:35 PM CDT
Question 1: What is a commitment?
At the proposal stage - it's the amount of effort you propose in a grant proposal budget or other project application budget, regardless if salary support is requested.
At the award stage - it's the amount of effort proposed that the sponsor accepts & awards, regardless of salary support that they provide. (The proposal or commitments listing may be included in the notice of grant award, but not always. It varies by agency. If it's not there - you'll have to refer to the proposal as your commitment guide).
Question 2: Who has tracked commitments?
Anyone who is listed and identified in the Notice of Award as having these roles: PI, Co-PI, Key Personnel.
If the award does not have a key person section (or listing), UW policy states that the only key person is the PI/PD. In these cases, only the PI/PD has trackable commitments.
Question 3: Where do commitments get entered and tracked at UW?
Commitments are entered by campus in WISPER at the award set up stage. Commitments (and any changes) are then tracked in the Peoplesoft system by RSP. To request a change in commitment, use the Effort Commitment and/or Cost Share Update Form.
Question 4: What documents in the award process should govern the commitments?
When determining which documents to use as the guide for the sponsor-expected commitment, review the following documents in the order as listed:
Question 5: What should I enter in WISPER as the commitment?
You should enter commitments, for all PIs, Co-Is, and key personnel listed in the Notice of Award, as a percentage of the person's total effort. WISPER has start and end dates on commitments and allows for variable (non-constant) commitments to be entered using the start and end dates.
Question 6: Are there any exceptions to the policy? Do I have to enter commitments for everything?
Commitments do not have to be entered into WISPER for the following types of awards in most cases:
Question 7: I'm a department administrator and have a grant where my C basis faculty member is making $140,000/year and wants to be written into the grant to collect $20,000 for 7/1-12/8. How do I go about calculating his/her commitment?
Step 1: Confirm the gross yearly pay and calculate the monthly rate. The equation for the monthly rate is: gross yearly pay divided by months of work. $140,000 a year on a 9 month appointment equates to a monthly pay rate of $15,555 = $140,000/9.
Step 2: Confirm the budget salary request and calculate effort months. The equation for the effort months is: payroll amount divided by monthly rate. $20,000 budgeted on a monthly rate of $15,555 equates to 1.3 effort months = $20,000/$15,555.
Step 3: Confirm the project dates and convert to project months. July 1st - Dec 8th equates to 5.26 project months. This is found by taking July 1 to Nov 31 as being 5 full months. Then, figuring out that 8 days in December out of the 31 total days = 0.26 (8/31). Here, we have 5.26 project months.
Step 4: Calculate the commitment. The equation for the commitment is effort months divided by project months. Meaning, take the value in Step 2 above and divide by the value in Step 3. This example equates to 24.71% = 1.3/5.26.Question 8: What happens if the sponsor reduces the initial budget period or if there is a budget reduction?
Unless otherwise notified, sponsors expect PIs (and other key personnel named in the award document) to provide the level of effort outlined in the proposal, even when the amount funded is less than requested or the initial budget period is shortened. To determine the correct baseline effort commitment, the first year’s entry in WISPER will be different than subsequent years. For example, if one committed 2 months effort and the initial budget period is reduced from 12 months to 9 months the new effort commitment percentage is 22.22% (= 2 months/9 months) vs. 16.67% (= 2 months/12 months). 22.22% should be entered in WISPER for the first budget period and 16.67% for all subsequent periods. This establishes the baseline commitment of 2 person months.
If at time of award, the awarded budget is reduced from the proposed budget, a PI must confirm how the project will be conducted and how funding will be allocated among budget categories, including confirmation of effort commitments and associated salary support. In doing so, PIs should carefully and deliberately manage their own (and their key personnel's) total sponsored and non-sponsored effort commitments and minimize voluntary cost sharing. A budget reduction of 25% or more from what was proposed generally indicates a project scope reduction, and a corresponding reduction in effort commitments is appropriate.
The PI is responsible for determining whether:
For additional information, see the Effort Guidance document, specifically section 1.3.5.
Question 9: Where can I get advice and guidance?
For help on commitments and proposal entering in WISPER, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For changes in commitments to existing awards: Effort Commitment and/or Cost Share Update Form.
For help on commitments, contact email@example.com.
For effort policy issues on commitments, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.