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ECRT for Departmental Effort Coordinators

Effort Coordinator Overview: ECRT is an electronic reporting tool to provide a sponsoring agency with reasonable assurance that salaries charged to a sponsored project are appropriate and reflect a reasonable estimation of the actual time spent towards the project (relative to the individual’s total activities performed for the university).  This process is commonly referred to as “effort reporting or effort certification” (Additional information is available in our Effort Guidance Document).

In DEFINE, salary appointments are approved before or as services are actually performed.  “Effort Coordinators” are those within a department that initiate PAFs onto sponsored projects (26 accounts) as well as process corrections/cost transfers to PAFs.  ECRT provides an “after-the-fact” confirmation that the salaries paid to individuals reasonably reflects the actual amount of effort expended on a sponsored project (a confirmation that PAFs were accurate).  Individual effort is expressed as a percentage of the total amount of time spent on an individual’s work-related activities (teaching, research, service administration, etc.) for which the University compensates an individual.

For Example:  A faculty member is appointed 20% to a sponsored project for 3 summer months and 0% time during the academic year.  At the time of Effort Certification (September), the faculty member would review their effort for the prior 6 month period (March to August) as being 10% based on the appointment data averaged over the entire certification period (6 months).  In this case, the average effort equates to 10% (60% total effort over 6 months).  If the certifier agrees 10% is reasonably accurate in relation to their 100% total effort (time spent towards instruction/service/administrative duties/other projects) for this period of time they can certify their effort.  If they certify their effort was actually 5% during this period of time a change to the appointment (PAF/salary charged) will need to be processed in order to correct the salary charged to the sponsored project.

Effort Coordinator Role:
The Effort Coordinator (EC) Role in relation to ECRT complements the appointment (PAF) process.  ECRT is a tool to assist department admins/ECs
in the Effort Certification and appointment review process.  Faculty and ECs should periodically review appointments to ensure time be charged to sponsored projects are accurate.  With ECRT, ECs will be able to review online and in one place all of the appointments for the entire department by project and account.  Adjustments should be made to appointments in order to minimize the need for cost transfers

ecrt proc

During the Effort Reporting Period (before Certification)

  • Departmental Effort Coordinators (EC) will receive email notifications  at the 90- and 180- day marks during the Effort reporting period. ECs should review all effort cards in ecrt for accuracy and make any appointment corrections that are necessary using established institutional procedures. (Payroll Data in ecrt is updated via DEFINE  through the appointment information)
  • EC should take note of new projects and existing project end dates and make any necessary notifications and appointment revisions.  

During the Pre-Review Period

  • During the two-week pre-review period, ECs should make a final review of all effort cards. Adjustments should be minimal at this point as prior reviews and corrections should have occurred at the 90- and 180- day marks (during the Effort Reporting Period).
  • All effort cards should be checked to ascertain that previously requested appointment changes are reflected on the effort card.
  • Any newly found necessary changes in payroll/effort should be immediately requested.
  • If requested changes are not reflected in ecrt prior to the beginning of the Certification Period, the EC should make the requested changes in the Revised Payroll column and save the card.
  • Ideally, the Primary Individual (PI) should not need to make any modifications to an Effort Card.

During the Certification Period  

  • Faculty and Staff effort cards with no Sponsored Effort or committed cost shared effort will be automatically certified.
  • PIs and ECs will receive an email notification from ECRT that the Certification Period is open. 
  • Assist PIs with questions about their Effort Card and/or the ecrt/certification process.
  • If any changes are requested by the PI, review and make necessary modifications. 
  • Remind PIs (when necessary) that the review period is coming to an end.
  • Make sure all your department PIs have certified their Effort Card during the 30 day Certification Period. 

Helpful Hints!

  • The Manage Department link under Data & Workflow will be your main entry point.
  • From the Manage Department landing page you can tell the status of each effort card (certified/not certified).
  • Most screens contain a help icon in the upper right corner.
  • Three characters must be entered into search boxes and the intended result must be selected.