Effort Management Tools RRT FAQs

Date last modified: 3/29/24
What is the difference between the "Average To-Date" effort and "Projected" effort?

The Average Effort Allocation is the average amount of effort, in person months, that a person worked during the commitment time period. It reflects the average monthly SAP cost distribution (iForm) from the start of the effort commitment period through the latest closed Duke fiscal period. This data is refreshed monthly after the fiscal period close date.  

Projected Effort applies the current iForms effort allocation to the future months and averages the effort across the entire commitment timeframe, both historical and future months. Therefore, the projected effort is what the average rate of effort will be at the end of the commitment period

The project commitment dates can be viewed by selecting the expansion arrows in the average effort allocation column. The Average Effort Details provides the Settlement periods (accounting periods), Effort Percentage and Person Mo/Yr. Note: periods with 0% effort will not display in the average effort details. 

Example:

Settlement Period

Effort Percentage

Person Months

January 2024

10%

1.2

February 2024

10%

1.2

March 2024

20%

2.4

Average To Date

1.6

April 2024 (Future)

20%

2.4

May 2024 (Future)

20%

2.4

June 2024 (Future)

20%

2.4

Projected  

2.0

How is effort calculated for partial months?

Partial months are calculated at a prorated amount based on the number of days left in the month and the rate of effort being currently allocated through iForms. 

For more guidance, please see the Projected Effort guide for effort management tools

The project received a No Cost Extension, but the end dates and commitment are incorrect.

If you have processed a NCE through the SPS NCE tool, check to see if it has been approved and the dates have been extended in the Award Module. If the request has been approved but dates are incorrect, send a message to the Effortmgmt@duke.edu email. The dates will not be updated until the NCE has been approved.   

If you have a NCE that did not process through the NCE tool, provide a copy to AMT for processing.  Once the Award Module has been updated, the dates should populate to the Effort Management Tool.  OASIS and ORA leadership are reviewing ways to improve the NCE process to ensure the Effort Management Tool is managed effectively moving forward.  

Contact the Effort Management Rapid Response Team at EffortMGMT@duke.edu for review and correction within the Effort Management Tools.  

The project is flagged for not meeting the effort commitment but should not have an effort commitment at this time due to an exception to the Measurable Effort Policy.

All active projects that had zero committed effort in SPS were converted to a minimum of 1% (or .12 person months) for the PI role to comply with the School of Medicine/School of Nursing Measurable Effort policy requirements.  

There is a difference between the *current committed* effort and the *current allocated* effort.  Current allocated effort is what is actually being charged to the project via cost distribution in payroll.  Current committed effort is the time that an investigator anticipates spending on the project over a particular period (project or budget).  These definitions were shared in the Research Insider in September 2023.  

For federal sponsored clinical trials, we expect to see committed effort for the PI for each year of the project.  For other individuals designated as Senior Key Personnel, we expect to see committed effort to the project as determined by their specific duties and in compliance with the SOM/SON policy on measurable effort for Key Personnel. Changes in effort commitments need to meet the sponsor guidelines. Allocation of effort, what is charged to the project via payroll, is based on active duties.   

 

For industry sponsored clinical trials, we expect the PI to have committed effort for each year of the project.  We also expect to see effort allocated (charged to the project) at the time the study was open to accrual.  Other research investigators supporting the project should have effort committed or allocated as needed for their assigned duties.  Changes in effort commitments need to meet general institutional guidelines.  

Why is there a 25% effort reduction threshold if the personnel are not named on the Sponsor’s award?

The Duke guidance for appropriate designation of senior and key personnel on sponsored projects (July 2023) stated that changes to the Senior and Key Personnel are maintained in project documentation and reported on throughout the life of the project. With the implementation of the Effort Management tools, we will no longer designate “Duke Key” and “Sponsor Key” terms to manage the approval of effort changes.   

The request for effort changes will be a single process, with approval routing through the Office of Research Administration for all Senior Key personnel designated in the Duke proposal.  If the Sponsor selects individuals or roles that must have prior sponsor approval before changing effort (including established minimum effort levels), then those requests will include the necessary documentation for ORA to review, approve and submit to the Sponsor. Once approved, the Effort Management Tools will automatically update and track the change in effort commitment and adjust the calculations accordingly.  

This change is necessary for tracking all individuals designated as Senior Key personnel in the applications as the Effort Management Tools will provide the data for our new Other Support, Current & Pending, and All Personnel Report tools. 

Why is the PI of a subaward being identified as requiring Sponsor Approval?

The principal investigator on the subaward has the scientific, fiscal, and administrative responsibilities for the conduct of the research at Duke University. The PI/PD is directly responsible and accountable to the University and the sponsor. The sponsor for a subaward is the awarding institution but we must also follow the originating funding agency’s guidelines since they are passed to us through the subaward agreement. Thus, the PI of a subaward will be designated as Senior Key personnel, even if they are not named in the funding agency’s Notice of Award.  

The Duke guidance for appropriate designation of senior and key personnel on sponsored projects (July 2023) stated that changes to the Senior and Key Personnel are maintained in project documentation and reported on throughout the life of the project.

What is PI Approval?

Duke University delegates to the Principal Investigator the authority to adjust/approve changes to non-key personnel effort commitments as necessary to fulfill the scientific activities of the project.   Additional review and approval from ORA are not required for non-key personnel.  

 

How do I request a change of effort commitment in the Effort Management Tools?

A tool for electronic request of effort commitment modifications has been released and can be found in the Projects area of SPS and Effort Management Tools. 

The WBSE is missing for a project. What does that mean?

Records are not linking correctly in SPS due to missing information.  Check the dates to make sure you have an active award.  Check the SPS numbers to see if the correct applications are linked. If the average effort is also showing as TBD, it could mean the linked award record is currently inactive. OASIS is identifying solutions to all of these scenarios but please contact EffortMGMT@duke.edu if you identify records that need to be corrected.

The sponsor minimum effort requirement is not showing for a project. Can that be added to manage the investigator’s effort more accurately?

Yes. Sponsor minimum effort requirements have not been stored in a way we could access to upload into the Effort Management Tools.  If you identify a project or role that has a minimum effort requirement from the Notice of Funding Opportunity, Notice of Award, or NIH policy, send an email to the Effort Management Rapid Response Team (EffortMGMT@duke.edu).  It will expedite the entry if you cite the source of the minimum requirement (PA, FOA, NOA, NCI, etc.). Please review specific award mechanisms or institutes with known sponsor minimum effort requirements such as K awards, NCI awards, and others.

Why is the average effort showing as TBD?

The Average Effort Allocation is the average amount of effort, in person months, that a person worked during the commitment time period. It reflects the average monthly SAP cost distribution (iForm) from the start of the effort commitment period through the latest closed Duke fiscal period. This data is refreshed monthly after the fiscal period close date and should reflect the allocated effort once updated. Any adjustments will impact the Avg and display “TBD” until the next refresh. 

The investigator is meeting the sponsor minimum effort requirement but is still getting a warning insight that they are not meeting their effort commitment.

The current programming for projects that have a Minimum Effort entered for the Project compares the Avg to the Minimum and requires the Avg to be greater than the Minimum.  If the investigator is providing the minimum (=) it will give an insight that they are not meeting the commitment.  Our development team is aware of this issue and is developing a solution.

There is an unusual grey icon and warning box for one of the personnel on a project. What action do I need to take to resolve it?

This insight and warning box indicates an “unvalidated” record. The Effort Management Tools are currently only available to School of Medicine (SOM) and School of Nursing (SON). Personnel that are not part of the SOM and SON have not gone through a validation process to confirm their effort commitments and therefore they have an icon to designate them as unvalidated on the personnel page.  

 

Should we use the Effort Management Tools for non-key personnel?

We do not plan to track or change the committed effort for non-Senior Key individuals. Work assignments for non-Senior Key individuals are the responsibility of the PI to ensure the project is successful within the timeline stated in the project. The work assignments are tracked via the allocation of effort to specific projects in our payroll system, with effort recorded by the individual and approved by the PI/delegate (firsthand knowledge) via scheduled time periods.  

The investigator has cost shared effort commitment, but the Commitment column is showing 0 and they have a warning that they are not meeting their commitment.

Some instances of cost shared commitments were not captured in the Effort Management Tools because there was no commitment entered into the SPS budget at time of proposal. OASIS is working on identifying a solution to this issue. If you identify Senior Key personnel that have cost shared effort, please contact the Effort Management Rapid Response Team at EffortMGMT@duke.edu for review and resolution until a solution is available.  

When should effort allocation begin on a project?

You should start allocating effort when the project is activated, and personnel begin spending time on the project. For industry sponsored clinical trials this includes pre-enrollment activity. 

What if the committed effort does not match the allocated effort?

Projects have a 25% threshold to allow for variances between the committed effort and the allocated effort. If the projected average effort for the commitment period is beyond that 25% threshold a warning insight message will appear that the PI is not meeting their effort commitment on the project, and they should work with their grant manager for resolution. 

There is a difference between the *current committed* effort and the *current allocated* effort.  Current allocated effort is what is actually being charged to the project via cost distribution in payroll.  Current committed effort is the time that an investigator anticipates spending on the project over a particular period (project or budget).  These definitions were shared in the Research Insider at the end of September.

What value should be used in the Other Support document?

The Other Support Tool will use the Projected Effort value for the project person months.

What is the All Personnel Report?

The All Personnel Report is a report accessible via the SPS Project Personnel page.

This report includes all personnel who have contributed effort to the project during the budget period. It lists the amounts of effort each person worked per month and applies their current effort allocation to all future months to calculate the projected effort. ORA will use this report to validate the Participants section of the RPPR.