Personnel Activity Reports (PARS) and the new Effort Reporting System

This fall, the UW-Madison will launch a new effort reporting system to replace the current Personnel Activity Reporting (PAR) system. The new Effort Certification and Reporting Technology (ECRT) system is Web-based, so there will be no more chasing down those paper PAR forms. The rollout of the ECRT system will affect you in several ways.

The PAR system was launched more than 24 years ago. Federal requirements pertaining to effort have evolved significantly in recent years, and our technology has not evolved at the same rate. To improve our ability to comply with federal requirements, we need to upgrade our systems and business processes. Faculty and staff will be able to sign into ECRT with a UW-Madison NetID from anywhere in the world. The Web-based software is faculty-friendly and fully compliant with current federal regulations. It frees us from having to route pieces of paper, and it improves our ability to track certification completeness and identify situations that need follow-up.

This month you will receive the last PAR forms to be printed and distributed. These are the PAR forms for classified staff for the second quarter of 2007 (payrolls for 4/1/07 through 6/23/07). You will not receive any more PAR forms for A-basis or C-basis faculty, academic staff, graduate students, or postdoctoral trainees.

All faculty and staff except for classified staff will certify effort twice a year, for six months at a time. The new effort periods for all faculty, academic staff, graduate students, and postdoctoral trainees are (a) January through June and (b) July through December. Certification for classified staff will continue on a quarterly basis.

Certification with ECRT will begin on November 1, 2007. At that time:

* Faculty and academic staff will certify their own effort for January through June 2007.
* PIs will certify the effort for their graduate students and postdoctoral trainees for January through June 2007.
* PIs will certify the effort for classified staff who work on their sponsored projects for July through September 2007 (payrolls for 6/24/07 through 9/29/07).

Certification will be required for all effort on federal and non-federal sponsored projects. This increases the number of certifiers, as the PAR forms showed information for federal sponsored projects only.

The responsibilities of an effort coordinator will be significantly different than those of a current PAR coordinator. RSP is working with each college, school, and non-academic division to plan for a successful transition to new ways of doing things.

Training will be provided for all effort coordinators, starting in mid-September. Training will also be provided for all faculty, academic staff, and PIs who work on sponsored projects, starting in November when certification commences.

Because of the transition to the new effort periods for 2007, you did not receive spring semester PAR forms for C-basis faculty, staff, students, or postdoctoral trainees. We apologize for not informing you sooner, and we hope this clears up any confusion about things you expected to receive but didn’t.

If you have questions, please contact your dean’s office or send email to Also, please refer to the Effort Reporting page on the RSP Web Site (, which we update with new information as it becomes available.

Thank you in advance for working with us to ensure a smooth transition to a new system. Our goal is to help the University community be aware of, interpret, and comply with all applicable policies regarding sponsored projects administration, including effort certification. It’s a handful, and we appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with you in supporting the University’s research mission.

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