Chapter 2: Fiscal Responsibilities

2.8 Time and Effort

Accurate and timely documentation of time and effort usage is a federally mandated requirement intended to ensure appropriate use of federal funds. The CHOP Research Institute's policy on time and effort outlines procedures for effort reporting and certification in accordance with these rules.

Effort is the proportion of time spent on any activity and is expressed as a percentage of the total activity.

  • Effort is a reasonable estimate
  • Total effort must equal 100 percent
  • Effort is NOT based on a standard 40 hour work week; it is based on the number of hours worked

Initially, time and effort is committed to a project when the grant application is submitted. Sponsors usually require that the grant budget and the budget justification specify the percent effort for each individual involved on the project. The percent of salary requested should match the percent of effort specified, except where the sponsor guidelines prohibit it. A sponsor imposed salary capitation is the most common sponsor limitation.

The percent effort proposed on the new grant application should take into account the amount of effort already committed to other activities performed in meeting responsibilities for The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, CHOPPA or the University of Pennsylvania. This includes other existing and pending support from sponsored projects and any clinical, teaching and administrative activities. Common effort reporting scenarios are available under the "more information" tab.

Time and effort reports are generated electronically each quarter through the Lawson Grants Management System. Reports are available for certification by PIs and program directors and must be reviewed and certified within 90 days after the end of the report period in which the services were performed. These reports serve as primary auditable documents, evidencing salary costs on an award and validating distribution of salary. Reports must reflect a reasonable estimate of actual effort in the various categories expressed as a percentage of total institutional effort. Inaccurate, incomplete or untimely effort reporting could result in institutional and individual penalties and funding disallowances.

The federal government has become more active in its review of effort reporting. PIs are encouraged to review the training on the institutional procedures for proposing, charging and reporting effort using the Lawson Grants Management System (CHOPone).

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Steve Wiley
Department of Research Finance

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