Effort Management


When individuals perform a Key role on a sponsored research project, their effort commitments are Sponsor monitored by the Other Support (OS) document. This monitoring ensures their commitments are maintained to complete their responsibilities associated with the scope of work.

Effort commitment and Key role designation are first assigned within an application. The key person's effort commitment indicated in the application budget is referred to as his / her floor commitment. When key personnel alters his / her effort on the project during the NIH Just-In-Time process or by Sponsor prior approval (written request or in response to Question D.2.b of RPPR for Sponsor Key), the altered effort commitment becomes the new floor commitment.

Effort commitment levels are indicated on the application budget by person months. Please refer to the following guidance documents for assistance with percentage to person month conversion. The appointment of the individual will need to be known in order to identify the right person month conversion.

Duke Sponsored Projects System (SPS) identifiers: 

  • Key Personnel designation occurs in the SPS Personnel Roster Notebook, Key check box
  • Effort commitment levels are assigned in the Budget Notebook Salary Worksheet tab

Note on Rebudgeting:

Please remember that rebudgets on key personnel salary support does impact the effort management on each key person's effort commitment. When a rebudget is necessary, it is important to review the key person's effort when it is increased or decreased to ensure it will remain compliant with the rebudgeted project and his / her overall effort distribution.

Note on No Cost Extensions (NCE):

During a No Cost Extension (NCE) please remember that a sponsored research project maintains all the terms and conditions agreed to in the initial awarded performance period. As a result, all effort commitments for key personnel identified on the project will remain at the floor commitments originally approved by the Sponsor. If effort commitments for key personnel will need to be decreased significantly during the NCE to a lower commitment, Sponsor prior approval may be necessary before this change may occur. Refer to project's award terms and conditions for prior approval compliance. NIH awards under Uniform Guidance no longer require Sponsor prior approval for Sponsor Key effort commitment reductions of > 25% or more during NCE.

Other Support (OS)

The OS document is requested at different stages for a sponsored research project depending on Sponsor requirements and specific Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs). Therefore, always refer to the FOA for specific guidance.

Some components of Other Support are: Active support, Pending support, and an Overlap statement.

Active support: Current distribution of effort on active sponsored projects for the Key person.

Duke allows Aggregated Effort for Industry-Sponsored Clinical Trials (federally sponsored clinical research may not be included in aggregated effort). 

Statement to include on Other Support for Aggregated Effort: Duke University lists aggregated effort assigned to the following eligible industry-sponsored clinical trial projects. Each of these individual projects has a varying need of effort depending on the type of activity currently in progress:  protocol development, start-up, patient recruitment, enrollment, follow-up, monitoring, data analysis, publication, and closeout. Faculty determine each project's need and adjust their effort between projects within the total aggregated effort assigned to the clinical projects.

Pending support: Awaiting award determination effort distribution on pending sponsored projects for the Key person.

Overlap: Statement is included in OS when a pending sponsored project is under consideration of award, to identify and resolve potential Effort, Scientific or Budgetary overlap with other projects.

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

NIH applications fall under the following stages for OS request unless the FOA indicates otherwise:

Just-In-Time (JIT) Information: Active and Pending support requested when pending sponsored project is under consideration of award
RPPR: Active support ONLY for Key personnel (required only when there is a project change since the last reporting period - active project expired or previously pending project is awarded)
K series (at proposal): Mentor OS ONLY Active and Pending support at time of submission - format requires effort commitments to be removed 

In accordance with NIH Policy (refer to PHS 398 Instructions and NIH Policy Handout) the OS needs to consider the following criteria:

Other support vs. Research support

OS should include all financial resources, whether Federal, non-Federal, commercial or institutional, available in direct support of an individual's research endeavors, including but not limited to research grants, cooperative agreements, contracts, and/or institutional awards. Training awards, prizes, or gifts are not included.

Research support is part of the Biographical Sketch, and includes selected ongoing and completed research projects for the past three years (Federal or non-federally supported). Briefly indicate the overall goals of the projects and responsibilities of the key person identified on the Biosketch. Do not include number of person months or direct costs.

Key Personnel vs. Other Significant Contributor (OSC)

Key personnel are defined as individuals who contribute to the scientific development or execution of the project in a substantive, measurable way, whether or not salaries are requested. Key personnel MUST devote measurable effort (described in person months) to the project. The PD/PI(s) are always Key personnel.

Key personnel are determined by the PI during the proposal development by naming them as Key on the project.

Sponsor Key personnel (also referred to as NIH Key) in addition to the PD/PI(s), are determined by NIH, and assigned by name in Section IV on the Notice of Award (NoA).
Therefore, all key personnel includes the PD/PI(s), all individuals identified in the proposal as Duke Key, and all individuals named on the NoA as Sponsor (NIH) Key.

Other Significant Contributors (OSC) are individuals who have committed to contribute to the scientific development or execution of the project, but are not committing any specific measurable effort to the project. These individuals are typically presented as "effort of zero person months" or "as needed." Consultants should be included if they meet this definition. As a result of providing effort on an "as needed" basis no salary support should be provided.

Other Support Format 

NIH OS Format:

NIH Other Support Format table

Program Project Grant (PPG) Example - Demonstrating minis under a parent PPG could be listed as follows:

  • Project Number of Composite (should be identical to the mini)
  • Composite PI
  • Sponsor (source of funding)
  • Composite project dates (generally identical to the mini)
  • Mini's Annual Direct Cost
  • Effort commitment (no reduction equal or greater than 25%)

NIH PPG Other Support Format table

NIH OS Format examples 


The overlap statement helps Sponsor staff identify and resolve potential overlap (scientific, budgetary, or commitment) of support. Identifying and eliminating overlap ensures:

  • Sufficient and appropriate effort committed to project;
  • No duplication of funding for scientific aims, specific budgetary items, or an individual's level of effort;
  • Only funds necessary to the conduct of the approved project are included in the award

Commitment overlap:

  • Occurs when an individual's time commitment exceeds 12 person months. While information on OS is only requested for Key personnel (excluding consultants), no individuals may have commitments in excess of 12 person months.
  • Resolution of overlap occurs at the time of award in conjunction with applicant organization officials, the PI, and awarding Sponsor staff.


Overlap Statement Examples:

When role on the project to be reduced is Sponsor Key on U01-AR052186 in this example

  • If the proposal under consideration is funded, Dr. Duke will request Sponsor approval to reduce his effort from 1.8 to 0.6 calendar months on U01-AR052186.

When role on the project to be reduced is Duke Key or non-key

  • If the proposal under consideration is funded, Dr. Duke will reduce his effort from 2.4 to 1.2 calendar months on R01-NR010777.

When roles on projects expire before new effort on proposal in consideration will begin 

  • There will not be overlap since R01-AG020162 and R01-CA076016 will both end August 31, 2013 and the pending project would not begin until December 1, 2013.


Department of Defense (DOD)

DOD Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) applications: Previous (award period of performance ending within the past 5 years), Active and Pending support is requested at time of submission. Format requirements indicate that the funding organization's information must be included for each sponsored project listed. Therefore, allocate more time to prepare OS to ensure it is SPOC approved ahead of deadline.

DOD OS Format Example

School of Medicine (SOM) Maximum Effort Policy

While Sponsors accept up to 12.00 calendar months (100%) for overall Active effort distribution, the SOM maximum effort policy indicates that no Faculty member (tenure and non-tenure) may be externally funded greater than 11.40 calendar months (95%).  Furthermore, any faculty member with an academic administrative role may not be externally funded greater than 10.80 calendar months (90%).  Exceptions require written approval from the Vice Dean for Research.

Furthermore, faculty members with PI status must propose to devote measurable effort on sponsored projects to demonstrate commitment to the project.

Sponsored Effort System (SES)

The Sponsored Effort web app provides departmental users the ability to view active and pending effort for a specific individual in order to verify up-to-date OS. The SES demonstrates projects by Active and Pending sections which are grouped by Included or Excluded in each section.

The Other Support training session explains how to utilize the Sponsored Effort System to create and manage Other Support documents. Please refer to the Resources and Training page for the Other Support training schedule and registration.

OS Review - Single Point of Contact (SPOC)

SoM Other Support SPOC list (Updated May 18, 2018)

  • Individuals designated as Key personnel are responsible for maintaining correct and up-to-date OS.
  • Each SOM departmental SPOC is responsible for reviewing and certifying that OS documents are correct and up-to-date, verifying effort between SES and the individual's cost distribution to ensure compliance. When a SPOC approves an OS, they provide an approval line at the bottom of the document to demonstrate certification. (i.e., Approved by [Initials here] [Date here])
  • The Owning Org of the application is responsible for submitting OS documents for all Key personnel to ORA, ensuring as needed that OS documents have been certified by SPOCs from other departments (campus OS do not have the SPOC certification requirement).
  • ORA is responsible for reviewing and submitting OS documents to Sponsors (or returning to the Owning Org for inclusion with documents going to a Sponsor).


Effort Changes

Effort reductions are considered significant for Key personnel when the commitment level is reduced at 25% or more from the individual's floor commitment.

Sponsor Key personnel will need to receive Sponsor prior approval in order to make the significant reduction. Departments will need to submit requests for approval to ORA for submission to Sponsor.

Duke Key personnel will need to complete the Internal Request for Change in Key Personnel Effort form for submission to ORA to receive approval.

Once Sponsor or ORA approval has been received the approved effort will be updated within the SES for the project in question.

For information on the SOM (School of Medicine) and SON (School of Nursing) Guideline for Cost Transfers after 180 days, please click on the link.

Letter to Campus Associate Deans on the policy for Cost Transfers after 180 days.

Total Professional Effort (TPE)

TPE Calculator - Excel worksheet to use in developing budget justifications to assist when a faculty member has Private Diagnostic Clinic (PDC) and Veterans Administration (VA) time as well as his / her Duke time.

Faculty with < 50% Total Professional Effort (TPE) at Duke

For SOM faculty with less than 50% TPE at Duke, a TPE Statement is required in the budget justification. For example/template language, please see the TPE Calculator (link above).