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Handling Special Award Types

Directive Statement

This directive establishes the proper methods of handling special award types when entering commitments.

The University collects commitments through UFIRST at a person level as it was specified to the sponsor. Each person provides their committed effort 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

Special types of awards, including no commitments, internal awards, fixed price awards, and advance release awards have specific commitment entry guidelines.

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.

No Commitments

If there is no explicit commitment, the de minimis 1% does not have to be entered on the following types of projects (note that if there is an explicit commitment, it will STILL be entered):

  • Equipment Grants
  • Multiple sponsors
  • IFAS Faculty Service Program projects
  • UF Foundation funding where there is no non-UFF Prime Sponsor listed
  • Student Augmentation Awards – Programs that are primarily for the benefit of the student.  If the student leaves the lab or University, the funds do not remain with the UF faculty for general furtherance of their program.  This includes doctoral dissertation programs and undergraduate and graduate fellowships. Faculty fellowships are not student augmentation.
  • Mentors on Institutional Training grants
  • Principal Investigator (PI) on IPA (Intergovernmental Personnel Act Assignment) award if the PI is not the recipient of the IPA award. If the PI is the recipient, commitments will be entered as normal. Commitments will be entered for the IPA recipient
  • Pilot Projects on existing awards (unless effort is a condition of the funding)
  • Non-federally sponsored clinical trials (generally managed in fund 214)- note Federal clinical trials without a quantifiable commitment will have the 1% de minimus entered and tracked.
  • Per sample contracts where the number of samples is not known at the time of agreement and the contract is paid based on number of samples that are run
  • Unrestricted donations where there is no explicit statement of work

Internal Awards

Internal Awards are generally not managed in UFIRST and in myUFL for funds 201, 209 and 214. Due to the institutional nature and the cost sharing requirements, the following internal awards are managed in UFIRST and expected to have commitments:

  • Office of Research Opportunity Funds
  • CTSI pilot awards

Fixed Price Awards

If an award is reimbursed at a total set upon price rather than reimbursed based on actual costs:

  1. Government and non-profit sponsors: The prices are negotiated based on expectation of services.  Any determination of price should be considered a commitment by the University.  Even if no detailed cost breakouts are included and no quantifiable commitment was made to the sponsor, the effort for the PI and Co-I’s that comprised the price determination will be entered into UFIRST and myUFL based on calendar months, as this aligns with the UFIRST proposal budget workspace. If the agreement contains a commitment, effort will be tracked according to the submitted budget or the budget incorporated into the agreement.
  2. Industry: The price is determined based on acceptable market value and if NO explicit statement of commitment is made in the contract, budget or budget justification agreed to by the sponsor, only the de minimis amount of effort (1%) required by UF Effort Procedures and Directives is required for the PI. If commitments are explicit in the contract, budget or budget justification approved by the industry sponsor, it will be included in UFIRST and myUFL

Advance Release Awards (Temps)

Commitments at the time of a temp are optional.  There is no legal obligation to enter effort commitments as the University does not have an award to which it can be held accountable.  If the department wishes to log anticipated commitments, commitments can be entered.  When processing the UFIRST modification finalizing the temp, any commitments entered will be scrutinized confirming they remain accurate.

Awards with Protected Time

  1. Some awards fund protected time for a person rather than execution of a specific scope of work (NIH K or R35 awards).  Others are for a UF employee to be on detail to another entity (IPA or faculty fellowship).
    1. In general, the amount of intended protected time (i.e. K award 75%, R35 award 51%, IPA may be 100%) will be entered into UFIRST as the effort commitment.  If effort was proposed at a level greater than the minimum, the larger amount will be tracked in UFIRST.
  2. If the protected time explicitly allows for other projects to be executed during that period (e.g. NIH K award in the last two years, IPA with Independent Research and Development (IR/D) program, Faculty Fellowship where UF sponsored projects are part of the expected work of the fellowship), then commitments will be entered in UFIRST on each additional project awarded.  Adjustments for overlap will be updated only in myUFL.
  3. 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.
  4. The NIH NCI policy on the minimum level of effort for NCI-funded grants (R01, U01, P01, and R21 mechanisms) will be reviewed at the time of award. Unless effort is committed at a higher level, the minimum level will be entered in UFIRST.
  5. R35’s generally have a minimum of 51% of total research effort required. During award setup, DSP will set up a UFIRST deliverable to prompt DSP to perform a case by case review of the individual’s research effort each semester. Notification will also go to the PI and PUAC. This review will allow DSP to confirm that the 51% threshold will be met. Any necessary updates will be entered in UFIRST.

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).

Committed Effort

The amount of effort proposed in a project application and accepted by the sponsor, regardless of whether salary support is requested. Committed effort may be adjusted with the approval of the sponsoring agency.

Cost Sharing

The portion of the total costs of a project borne by the University of Florida and not borne by the Sponsor.

Effort

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

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.

Last Reviewed

07/31/2021: 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

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