Research & Cost Accounting

Effort Reporting Process

These procedures are issued in accordance with Research Policy 304, Effort Reporting.


The Principal Investigator (PI) is responsible for the management of sponsored programs that are awarded to him/her. These include federal, state, and private grants and other sponsored agreements. The federal government requires the University to document effort charged and committed as cost sharing in accordance with provisions in the Uniform Guidance, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, Subpart E—Cost Principles §200.430 Compensation for personal services.


Effort reporting is a means of verifying that the salaries charged properly represent the effort expended in support of a sponsored project or program, performed as specified in the award document. The effort to be certified encompasses both salaries charged as well as time not paid by the project (mandatory or voluntary cost sharing). Rice has chosen to conduct this review and certification process twice yearly for faculty and employees and annually for graduate students. This process is known as Effort Reporting.


Training is required for all first time PIs and all administrative staff who support PIs in the certification process. Training is strongly encouraged for all faculty. For instructions on how to take this training, please see the Effort Certification Training procedure. For staff training, please contact Research and Cost Accounting at

Confirmation and certification of effort

The PI should sign his or her own Effort Report and the reports of employees and students paid from or cost shared to his/her projects. Either the PI or Graduate Student’s Advisor should sign the Graduate Student Salary Confirmation. When this is not practical (e.g. a PI is no longer with the university), the individual who performs the work or someone who regularly oversees the work, such as the laboratory or project manager, may sign. Every signer must use a suitable means of verification to confirm that the work was performed. If someone other than those listed above signs the Effort Report or Salary Confirmation, written documentation of the method of verification used by the signer must accompany the Effort Report or Salary Confirmation. The department is responsible for determining the most appropriate person to sign the certification.

After the employee’s or student’s effort is certified on the Effort Report or Graduate Student Salary Confirmation, retroactive adjustments will not normally be permitted.

Labor redistributions

Labor redistributions (OLRs) on sponsored projects (R funds) are subject to Research Policy 302, Cost Transfers. When initiated, cost transfers must be timely, well­ documented and properly approved. Cost transfers submitted later than 90 days after the end of the month of the original transaction or later than 30 days after an award end will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by Research and Cost Accounting (RCA).


Effort Reports and Graduate Student Salary Confirmations are generated by RCA and sent out twice every year and annually, respectively, to departments (or organizations) in order to confirm that salaries and wages paid from or allocated to sponsored project funds (R funds) are reviewed by the PI. Departmental administrators or other employees designated by the chair are responsible for distributing the reports to the appropriate certifier.

If the certifier deems that the percentage of effort (work performed) charged to the various sponsored project funds is reasonable (within + 5 percentage points) for the reporting period, then the reviewer will sign and date the report to complete the certification.

If the printed percentage differs significantly from the employee’s actual effort, cross out the printed percentage and amount and write the correct percentage and amount to the right under ‘ACTUAL (3)’. Enter any additions in the space provided. This may require a modification to the salary charged.

To modify the salary charged, an Online Labor Redistribution (OLR) must be processed with the properly certified Effort Report. Note that the reviewer will require a cost transfer justification as part of the OLR comment.

Once certified, the approver will return the original document, along with any additional documentation or justification, to the departmental administrator or designee, who should retain a copy for departmental records. The departmental administrator or designee will forward the effort reports, along with any additional documentation, payroll redistributions, and / or justifications, to RCA.

Each report is printed with a due date. Reports are considered overdue if they are not properly completed, certified, and delivered to RCA by the due date. RCA will notify department chairs, deans and PIs about overdue Effort Reports within 20 days after the effort reporting deadline. Overdue reports not returned to RCA within 30 days after the effort reporting deadline will be considered delinquent.

As properly certified Effort Reports are returned to RCA, the analyst dates each report when it is received and reviews each report for the appropriate signature(s) and dates. If payroll redistributions are required, RCA will monitor the process to ensure redistributions are processed as soon as possible.


Certifier / approver: responsible individual who has first­hand knowledge of the work performed using a suitable means of verification, which can be obtained by documented discussion with the employee or PI.

Principal Investigator (PI): primary individual responsible for the technical and financial management of his/her research grant, cooperative agreement, training award, public service project, contract, or other sponsored project.

Total effort: defined as all professional activity for which the University employs an individual, whether on a full­ time or part-­time basis, including students who are working as teaching or research assistants. For reporting purposes, effort is calculated in percentages, not hours, with the total of all Rice effort equaling 100%. For faculty, total effort includes, but is not limited to, teaching, office hours, student advising, research activities, committee service, departmental meetings, professional development and community service at Rice or to Rice. 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. Specific short-­term assignments, such as teaching a continuing education course, that are not a routine part of an individual’s employment and are compensated separately, are not considered part of “total effort” and are excluded from the effort reporting requirement.

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