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Commitment Entry General Guidelines

Directive Statement

The University collects commitments through UFIRST at a person level as it was specified to the sponsor.  Each person provides his or her commitment over the appropriate sponsor-defined budget, project, or award period.  The commitment data is translated to job level by Cost Analysis and entered into myUFL.

Commitment Guidance is a hands-on guide to assist departments with all aspects of effort commitments.

Reason for Directive

A commitment is reflective of the promise of time/effort made to the sponsor.  This time can be designated over the life of the award, a project period, a budget period, or to specific terms.  Most federally funded research programs should have some level of committed effort, paid or unpaid.  This effort can be provided at any time within the fiscal year (summer months, academic year, or both).

Who must comply?

All University Departments.

General Entry

Commitments are at the AWARD level, not the project level.

  1. Not every project under an award requires a commitment, even if the project’s type is not exempted.
  2. If no key personnel’s effort is tied to that project, then no commitment is to be entered.
  3. All awards should have at least one commitment or a clear indication in the UFIRST award smart form why none was entered.

If the award (or submitted proposal) includes a quantified commitment for key personnel in both calendar months and a percent of effort, to guarantee sponsor requirements are met UF will track and manage the larger of the two.

Generally, one commitment line per person per budget period should be entered.

  1. For example, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funds each budget period separately.  To account for this requirement one line will be entered for each budget period even if the commitment is the same expected amount each year.
  2. If the sponsor does not require breaking the award into budget periods and the commitment effort remains constant throughout, one commitment for the life of the award may be entered

Cost Analysis enters the following into myUFL:

  1. For 9-Month Employees, assume full summer FTE – 3 months denominator.  For example, a one-month commitment would be entered as 33%
  2. Academic term commitments should be entered on the FA09 appointment and summer appointments should be entered on the FASU

UFIRST General Guidance

For awards set up in myUFL prior to the inception of UFIRST (July 1, 2016) and then converted into UFIRST, it is not necessary to enter all historical information.  Only the current budget period and forward should be entered.  The sole exception is no-cost extensions where the final budget period and extension period should both be entered.

myUFL General Guidance

A change to a commitment for a certified term will trigger an error in the myUFL system.  If an adjustment to an effort commitment is required for an effort term that has already been certified, a complete review of the project and the commitment must be performed by Division of Sponsored Programs (DSP), Contracts and Grants (C&G), and Cost Analysis.

Changes to previously certified terms will require a recertification of the effort record.

Personnel

Individuals – Commitments to be entered for award level:

  1. Principal Investigators (PI)
  2. Co-PIs or Co-Investigators with quantified commitments
  3. Any other individual identified in the award (or if silent then in the proposal) as key personnel with quantified commitments
  4. Individuals used to meet voluntary committed or mandatory cost sharing requirements

Zero FTE Personnel – No individual with a 0 FTE should be proposed with a quantified commitment. If a faculty member has made a commitment but is retired or under a non-pay appointment (i.e. Courtesy), a commitment cannot be entered and effort cannot be tracked in the system.  If no other individuals meet the requirements for a commitment for this project no commitment will be entered.  If the budget includes a specific commitment, Cost Analysis will notify DSP to ensure appropriate resolution with the sponsor.  If the PI is an Emeritus Faculty they can remain the Award PI and/or Project Manager but must have a Courtesy (CTSY) appointment and cannot have a quantified commitment

Minimum Effort

Although PIs might reference a specific period of effort (summer months), they cannot be absent from the project for all other periods.  Per UF guidelines, a 1% voluntary committed cost share commitment will be entered for the other terms.

Exception to the above:

  1. If the faculty has a nine-month appointment, a summer commitment does not need to be entered if (1) there is no expectation of effort during the summer, (2) there is no budget for summer and, (3) there is no summer appointment for the PI

In cases where the overall award commitment for the PI is not quantified, a minimum of 1% voluntary committed effort must be entered in UFIRST and also in myUFL.  No such entry is required for other key personnel. See: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/omb/memoranda_m01-06/.

Some programs have standard minimum commitments such as NIH Career (K) or R35 awards.  Most NIH K awards have a minimum 75% commitment.  However, levels of effort and salary reimbursement limitations vary among types of K awards and within NIH divisions.  Consult the award, including the original solicitation, for confirmation of the appropriate minimum commitment.  This documentation should be attached in the UFIRST Award Attachments.

Exceeding Tolerance Levels

If a full-time faculty member is committed over 90% on sponsored projects, a review of his or her other University activities must be performed to determine if the faculty member can meet the sponsored requirement and other duties as assigned by the department.

  1. Cost Analysis will enter the commitment and notify Contracts & Grants, who will in turn contact the department to review the situation and determine what, if any, action needs to be taken
  2. If the individual exceeding 90% is an NIH K award recipient and the faculty has no courses other than dissertation or mentoring courses, no communication to C&G is necessary as long as there is no teaching

If a faculty member’s commitments exceed 100%, the pending commitment cannot be entered in myUFL.  It should be entered into UFIRST to track the actual sponsor commitment.

  1. Cost Analysis will notify Contracts & Grants and the Division of Sponsored Programs, who will work with the department and committed individual to review the commitments made during the effort term and determine how to resolve

Definitions

Commitment

A commitment is reflective of the promise of time/effort made to the sponsor.  This time can be designated over the life of the award, a project period, a budget period, or to specific terms.  Most federally funded research programs should have some level of committed effort, paid or unpaid.  This effort can be provided at any time within the fiscal year (summer months, academic year, or both).

Effort

Effort is the time devoted to a particular activity, expressed as a percentage of the total time spent on UF activities.

Mandatory Cost Sharing

Mandatory cost sharing is required by statute or as condition of a specific solicitation or program announcement.  It will normally appear in the award document from the agency.  Mandatory cost sharing expenditures are tracked and accounted for and will be reported back to the sponsoring agency in a Financial Report.

Principal Investigator (PI)

Principal Investigator on a grant, contract or cooperative agreement.  This person bears the main responsibility for costs that are charged to that agreement.

Voluntary Committed Cost Sharing

Voluntary committed cost sharing is created if a proposal includes cost sharing where none was required. If funded, the PI and the University are “committed” to providing the project with the indicated support.  Voluntary committed cost sharing expenditures are not normally reported back to the sponsoring agency, however, it is still required that the University track and document these costs as they are subject to audit.

Last Reviewed

05/01/2020: reviewed content

Resources

Effort Report Flow – How Does the Effort Report Receive Information?

Effort Reporting Activity Categories

Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200

2 CFR 200 Quick Reference Guide

Toolkits

UF HR Toolkit – Adjusting Committed Effort

UF HR Toolkit – Understanding the Salary Cap

Contacts

Contracts & Grants: (352) 392-1235

Cost Analysis: (352) 392-5778

Division of Sponsored Programs: (352) 392-1582

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