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NDSU Research Updates
  March 2012  |  Volume 3, Issue 3
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The Top 10 Things a P.I. Should Know About Effort Reporting

Writing grant proposals is hard work, but after you're successful in winning a grant award, there are even more lessons a principal investigator (PI) needs to learn. Effort reporting is one of those areas, a very important part of grant accounting. Effort reporting provides assurance to grant sponsors that: 1. Salaries charged to sponsored projects are reasonable in relation to the work performed, and 2. Faculty and staff have met their commitments to sponsored projects.

Responsibilty for accurate effort reporting lies squarely on the shoulders of the PI. Robert C. Andresen, Assistant Director of Research and Sponsored Programs at the University of Wisconsin–Madison shared the following advice with the National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA), who forwarded the information for grantees at the post award stage.

  1. Effort is your work on a project, whether the sponsor pays your salary or not.
  2. When you write yourself into a grant proposal, you are committing your effort to the sponsor.
  3. If you reduce your effort, paid or unpaid, on a federal grant by 25%, you must have agency approval. If you reduce your paid effort, you may choose to document cost-sharing so that the total effort does not decrease.
  4. Many activities cannot be charged to a federally sponsored project. For example, the time you spend on these activities cannot be charged:
    • Writing a proposal
    • Serving on an IRB, IACUC or other research committee
    • Serving on a departmental or university service committee
  5. If you work on a sponsored project, you must certify your effort.
  6. Certifying effort is not the same as certifying payroll.
  7. Certification must reasonably reflect all the effort for all the activities that are covered by your University compensation.
  8. Effort is not based on a 40-hour work week. It’s not based on hours at all.
  9. Effort must be certified by someone with suitable means of verifying that the work was performed.
  10. In identifying audit findings, auditors look for indications that certification was based on factors other than actual, justifiable effort.

Questions about effort reporting at NDSU should be directed to Mike Schanzenbach, NDSU Grant and Contact Accounting (GCA). GCA is available to answer other post award questions as well. Phone 231-8357 or go to www.ndsu.edu/gca.

Make the Switch to COS Pivot

Have you claimed your COS Pivot profile yet? NDSU faculty, staff, and students who have used COS in the past to look for grants or research collaborators need to make the switch to the new and improved COS Pivot. You can log in to COS Pivot using the same Login information used for your previous COS account. Go to http://pivot.cos.com and log in using your COS login. Once logged in, you will see your name in the upper right corner. If your name is hyperlinked, your COS profile has already been claimed. If it is not, you should see a menu item called 'Claim Your Profile'—click on it. Your saved COS grant searches should transfer over to COS Pivot so you do not need to recreate them. If you've forgotten your COS login, email Kay Sizer, NDSU COS Liaison, to request it.

Go to the YouTube Pivot channel to watch brief tutorials or demonstrations of tasks such as Claiming Your COS Pivot Account and Updating Your COS Pivot Profile, as well as many other specific COS Pivot skills. There is more detailed training available in free one-hour webinars available at your own desktop. If you haven't already done so, make the switch soon, so that COS Pivot can go to work finding grants for you!

NDSU Researchers in the News

Interest continues in research underway at NDSU. Here’s just a sample of media coverage through March. Some links to these news outlets are available for a limited time.

Learning Sweetly: Madison Students Get Screenful of Sugar

Plasma Flows May Shed Light on Predicting Sunspot Cycles

NDSU Research Could Play Role in Oil Exploration

Researchers Exploring New Benefit of ND Oil and Gas Industry

Student Scientist Published in Journal

Antennaless RFID Tags Developed at NDSU

Will the Next Oil Boom be Nanosized?

If you’d like to suggest a story highlighting NDSU research, let us know. While we may not be able to use every suggestion, we would like to hear from you.

Don’t Miss This Resource

Don't miss the companion newsletter that accompanies each issue of this newsletter. Click on Research Development & Grant Writing News in the right hand column and enter your NDSU email log-in. You will have access to valuable tips for developing your research program and winning grants. Graduate student and postdoc opportunities are also included.

Upcoming Events

North Dakota 2.0 Summit
Coordinated by USDA Rural Development
April 16–17, 2012

Radisson Hotel—Fargo, ND
This ND 2.0 capstone meeting in Fargo is intended to gather more input on the future direction of North Dakota and highlight the results from 12 meetings across the state. Due to our economic prosperity, North Dakota is in a unique position to define our destiny. The Fargo summit will feature top speakers including: Adam Davidson and Alex Blumberg from NPR's hit show, Planet Money, and Paul von Ebers, President & CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield North Dakota. The day will also include several interactive sessions with facilitators and a presentation utilizing 'clickers' to give you a chance to vote on a variety of topics and then compare your results with other ND communities. ND State Director of USDA Rural Development, Jasper Schneider will facilitate the event. There is a reduced registration fee for students. All ages are welcome. The fee covers food, the Fargo location, and guest speakers. See more information >>

Renewable Materials Summit: Markets for Building the Biorefinery
Hosted by the Red River Valley Research Corridor
May 15, 2012

Holiday Inn of Fargo—Fargo, ND
Growing demand and advancing technology in the renewable materials industry has created exciting opportunities for businesses to grow across the Upper Midwest and Canada, from agriculture and forest products through manufacturing and retail. The Renewable Materials Summit: Markets for Building the Biorefinery will highlight and explore the companies and markets that are driving opportunities for returns on investment that leverage the emerging bioeconomy. See more information >>

UAS Action Summit 2012: "From Battlefield to Farm Field"
Hosted by the Red River Valley Research Corridor, U.S. Senators Kent Conrad & John Hoeven, and the City of Grand Forks
May 22–23, 2012

Alerus Center—Grand Forks, ND
Join the 6th UAS Action Summit with honorary co-hosts, U.S. Senators Kent Conrad and John Hoeven, to hear from presenters, including industry leaders, policy makers, entrepreneurs and researchers. They will discuss how actions in the region and the nation can foster strong, sustainable growth in the unmanned systems sector. This year’s theme, “From Battlefield to Farm Field,” will examine an entire spectrum of important measures our nation and the industry must consider and prepare for to meet the ongoing use and growth of unmanned, or remotely piloted, systems within the national airspace in defense and commercial applications. Hear from leading experts, industry leaders, and federal policy makers on a range of other important topics including FAA test sites and restricted airspace, emerging UAS training, precision agriculture and other civilian/commercial applications. See more information >>

Office of Research, Creative
Activities & Technology Transfer
1735 NDSU Research Park Drive
P.O. Box 6050—Dept. 4000
Fargo, ND 58108-6050


Phone 701.231.8045
Fax 701.231.8098