2.1.6 Minimum Effort

Policy No: RESEARCH 2.1.6 
Type of Policy: Administrative
Effective Date: April 2013    
Last Revised: April 2013

Policy Owner: OSP
Policy Contact: Duane Hutchison, Director of Sponsored Programs, Duane.Hutchison@osp.gatech.edu

1. Policy Statement

Georgia Tech policy is that a Principal Investigator (PI) or other senior researcher must devote at least 1% effort – or a level of effort as required by sponsor – on an ongoing basis over the term of a sponsored project award. After the award is granted and accepted, the PI and key personnel are committed to provide that proposed level of effort over the budget period unless the sponsor permits otherwise. The committed effort, whether mandatory or voluntary, will be separately budgeted and accounted for by way of either the sponsored project or a companion cost sharing account.

What does ongoing basis mean?

Ongoing basis means per budget year over the life of the project.

Why do I need to put at least 1% effort on my projects?

The federal government expects a commitment of some effort on the part of the principal investigator for conducting work, over-seeing students, preparing deliverables, etc. during each project year. This effort may be expended during the academic year or summer and may be charged to the project or paid by the Institute and treated as cost sharing.

Can another investigator on the project satisfy this requirement?

Any senior researcher on the project can satisfy the requirement for the entire project.

Are there any exceptions?

This requirement does NOT extend to:

  • equipment grants
  • dissertation support
  • limited-purpose awards, such as travel grants, conference support, etc.

How are Calendar, Academic, and Summer months treated?

Cost shared effort is calculated the same as sponsor paid effort, so it is very important to use the calculation that pertains to your faculty appointment.

For faculty on academic year contracts, months are expressed as either academic or summer months. The academic year is defined as a nine month period. Summer is defined as a three month period. The monthly rate for AY faculty is their salary divided by 9. One month = 1/9 = 11.11%. (This also explains why faculty can earn up to 33.33% of their AY salary in summer.) To express 1% in academic or summer months, divide 1% by 11.11%, which equals 0.09 academic or summer months.

For faculty on fiscal year contracts, months are expressed as calendar months, never academic or summer. The calendar year is a 12-month period. The monthly rate for 12-month faculty is their salary divided by 12. One month = 1/12 = 8.33%. To express 1% of a 12-month contract in calendar months, divide 1% by 8.33%, which equals 0.12 calendar months.

Are there any special considerations I need to know for NSF?

Unless stated otherwise in the solicitation, cost sharing (match, in-kind, institutional commitment, etc.) is unallowable.

Are there any special considerations I need to know for NIH?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Grants Policy Statement notes that “‘zero percent’ effort or “as needed effort” is not an acceptable level of involvement for Key Personnel. Those that may contribute to the scientific development or execution of the project, but are not committing any specified measurable effort to the project, should be described as Other Significant Contributors (OSC) rather than as a co-investigator.

If cost shared, how is this tracked?

If the PI chooses to cost share the 1% minimum effort instead of charging it to the sponsored project, a formal companion cost share account must be established. Voluntary cost sharing of this nature will not be reflected on the invoices or financial reports submitted to our sponsor.

Is the cost share reflected on the effort report?

Companion cost share accounts are established in the official Institute records and are reflected on the employee’s Workload Assignment Report E-mailed each month from the Salary Planning & Distribution Office in Grants and Contracts Accounting.

2. Scope

This policy applies to all Georgia Tech faculty and staff members.

3. Definitions

PD/PI Project Director/Principal Investigator, individual responsible for the overall design, conduct and reporting of the research or other externally funded sponsored activity.
Ongoing Basis Ongoing basis means per budget year over the life of the project.

4. Procedures

Reporting Minimum Effort
Committed Effort Budgeting The committed effort, whether mandatory or voluntary, will be separately budgeted and accounted for by way of either the sponsored project or a companion cost sharing account. See information on the Plan Confirmation System.
Minimum Effort Training Video PD/PIs should watch the Minimum Effort Training Video, for more information on minimum effort requirements

5. Enforcement

Optional: To report suspected instances of noncompliance with this policy, please visit Georgia Tech’s EthicsPoint, a secure and confidential reporting system, at: https://secure.ethicspoint.com/domain/en/report_custom.asp?clientid=7508

6. Related Information

Resource Link
Plan Confirmation System http://policies.gatech.edu/business-finance/personal-services-reporting-using-plan-confirmation-system
Minimum Effort Training Video https://t-square.gatech.edu/access/content/group/fdd7696a-6e4b-4707-800b-bb24b208cfb7/Policy%20Folder/Minimum%20Effort/MinEffort.htm

7. Policy History

Revision Date Author Description
12-31-2013 OSP Rev 1.0