Effort Reporting and Effort Certification

Effort Certification: A Brief Introduction

    • Required reading for all faculty, staff, and students who receive salary funding from grants
      • All new employees and students whose salaries are (at least partially) supported by grants must sign a statement acknowledging that they have read, and they understand, the information describing Vanderbilt's effort certification policy, and they understand the meaning of their signature (or electronic approval) of certification statements.
      • Signed acknowledgment form is to be kept in departmental personnel file.

Understanding Reporting of Effort by Faculty and Other Exempt Employees

  • Essential reading for all faculty who charge salary to grants
    • What should and should not be included in the measure of a person's "total effort" when calculating percentage effort allocated to sponsored projects
    • How to treat external consulting, proposal development and writing, administrative duties, and vacations
    • Links to crucial Government policies


Effort Certification Policy for Faculty: Administrative Work, Vacations, Effort Devoted to Proposal Development

  • February 2008 memo from (then) Dean Richard McCarty summarizing VU policies concerning:
    • limits to effort on grants by faculty with significant administrative duties,
    • vacations and limits to effort that can be charged to grants during the summer
    • effort spent on grant proposals


Maximum Effort that can be Charged During Summer

Faculty with academic-year appointments are expected to charge no more than 85% of three months effort to Federal grants and contracts during a summer. This leaves the equivalent of two summer weeks for vacation and/or other activities.

An exception to this general rule may be granted if the faculty member certifies that she/he will take no vacation and will devote the proper level of institutional effort exclusively to the grant-supported or contract-supported work during all three summer months. To receive permission to exceed the 85%-of-three-months limit in a given summer, the faculty member must submit to the Office of the Dean a form requesting permission and certifying that no vacation will be taken that summer.


Writing Proposals While One has Grant Support

Employees and students generally are not permitted to charge salary to grants or contracts for time spent writing proposals. Any effort during the summer by faculty (on academic-year appointments) spent writing proposals must either be charged to a non-grant source of funds or must be uncompensated effort. Postdoctoral scholars, research faculty or staff, and any others supported 100% throughout the year via grants or contracts may not spend time writing proposals during time they are being paid to work on a grant or contract. This prohibition also applies to graduate students generally, but it does not apply to postdoctoral scholars and graduate students supported by federal training-grant stipends that require no specific service in return for that support.

The College of Arts and Science provides limited salary support for its faculty's and postdoctoral scholars' effort spent writing proposals. See the links below for details.


Official VU Effort Reporting Policy