How should projects track effort during COVID-19 (including idle project effort)?

Effort tracking during COVID-19 is a three-step process that requires researchers and grant managers to collaborate and communicate to ensure accurate and sufficient documentation for each individual’s effort distribution on every award within the PIs portfolio.

Step 1: Collect effort information. An individual (usually the PI, but may also be a lab manager) with first-hand knowledge of project personnel and their ability to complete responsibilities remotely will collect and record individual effort distributions.  *Note, only the PI can record information if using the myRESEARCHhome tool.

Step 2: Verify the effort information. The Grant Manager should confirm that effort information has been received for every individual on every active project, that the information came from an individual with first-hand knowledge, and that no individual has more than 100% of their effort allocated to projects. This may need to be done in collaboration with Grant Managers in other departments.

Step 3: Enter the effort information in iForms. The iForm is intended to appropriately allocate idle effort as a result of COVID-19. Idle effort should be booked using separate payroll G/Ls 604900 or 605900.

Collecting idle effort information contemporaneously provides documentation necessary to:

  1. Validate programmatic delays described in progress reports
  2. Support requests for supplemental funding (if needed)
  3. Substantiate a justification for a future no cost extension request
  4. Confirm effort details when effort is certified later this year

All of these elements together must be in alignment with idle effort that is reported today in case of audit or if the sponsor requests idle effort information for your project.

Effort information for March and April should be provided and entered into iForms by the June iForms deadline.