New system and policies regarding effort on sponsored projects


In fiscal year 2007, the UW-Madison received over $1 billion in awards from external sponsors. As one of the nation’s leading research institutions, we recognize the important stewardship responsibilities associated with managing extramural funds. These responsibilities include complying with federal requirements to certify faculty and staff effort on sponsored projects.Effort certification is our means of assuring sponsors that (1) the salaries charged to the sponsor are reasonable in relation to the work performed, and (2) faculty and staff have met their commitments to externally funded projects. Currently, effort certification is a subject of intense scrutiny by federal auditors. This is a serious issue for the university; a failure to take it seriously may jeopardize the university’s federal funding for research.

To ease the administrative burden, the university is launching a new Web-based information system for certifying effort. This fall, the university will provide training for faculty and staff, as well as for the effort coordinators who will assist with the certification process. Because success in the effort realm results from attention to a number of issues throughout a sponsored project’s life cycle, the training will address both effort certification and how to manage effort from the proposal phase through award closeout.

Many faculty, staff, and campus leadership groups have provided input regarding the new system, the university’s updated policies, and the training programs, including a Web-based training option. Training for researchers will begin in November; all faculty and academic staff who work on sponsored projects are expected to complete the training by January 31, 2008. More information about effort certification and the new system will be coming your way during the next several months.

When the new system debuts in the fall, please familiarize yourself with both the system and the university guidelines regarding effort commitments and certification. We recognize that the transition to the new system requires an investment of your valuable time and attention, and we appreciate your making this investment to maintain the university’s status as a premier research institution.

If you have questions in the meantime, please contact the CALS dean’s office or the office of Research and Sponsored Programs (, or visit the Effort page on the RSP Web site at:

John Wiley, Chancellor
Martin Cadwallader, Vice Chancellor for Research & Dean of the Graduate School
Robert Mathieu. Chair of the University Committeey
Susan Crowley, Chair, Academic Staff Executive Committee