Effort Reporting


Harvard University has deployed the web-based system, ecrt, to serve as the new tool to facilitate the effort certification and reporting process. Harvard’s previous process – which consisted of paper forms – will no longer be used.

ecrt website

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At Harvard, there are two types of effort certifications: The ecrt system is designed to help comply with the provisions of Harvard’s effort reporting policy, federal policy (Uniform Guidance, Subpart E - Cost Principles §200.430), NIH Salary Limitation on Grants, and other relevant agency policies that govern the need to provide certification of an individual's effort pursuant to his/her sponsored and non-sponsored programs. Please direct any questions to the ecrt help desk: ecrt@harvard.edu.

  • Annual Faculty Effort Certifications: Harvard PIs/faculty and other academic appointees who have effort on federal awards certify their salary (including academic-year, supplemental and summer) on an annual basis (July 1-June 30).
  • Quarterly Project Effort Certifications: Federal projects with non-faculty salary charges are certified by the project PI on a quarterly basis. The quarterly certifications cover July-September, October-December, January-March, and April-June.

Important Dates

FY20 Q4 and FY20 Annual Certification Period:

  • September 01, 2020 – FYQ4 Project Certification and FY20 Annual Certification Review Period Opens*
  • September 22, 2020 – FYQ4 Project Certification and FY20 Annual Certification Period Opens**
  • October 21, 2020 - FYQ4 Project Certification and FY20 Annual Certification Due

*Please note that while a reminder email will be sent out 21 days prior to the certification start date, effort coordinators are encouraged to review their statements frequently (monthly is suggested) as salary data posts to the respective statements within 2 days. Users can log in to view this at any time throughout the period of performance.

**In general, the certification window begins within a month after its corresponding period of performance. Each time a certification window begins, there are 30 calendar days to certify the effort.

FY20 Periods of Work Performed, Review Periods and Certification Periods (PDF)

FY19 Periods of Work Performed, Review Periods and Certification Periods (PDF)

FY18 Periods of Work Performed, Review Periods and Certification Periods (PDF)

Upcoming Training

The ECRT Basics Training Class is scheduled through Zoom for Thursday, April 16, 9:30am – 11:30am.

Please register the training through Harvard Training Portal. If you have any questions about the training, please contact Katelyn Lippman.

Top 10 Things You Should Know About Effort

  1. Effort is an individual's work on a project, whether the sponsor pays their salary or not. When a Faculty/Principal Investigator writes themselves into a grant proposal, they are committing effort to the sponsor.
  2. If effort is reduced, paid or unpaid, on a federal grant by 25% or more of the current commitment, prior approval from the agency is generally required. If paid effort is reduced, cost-sharing must be documented so that the total effort does not decrease.
  3. Many activities cannot be charged to a sponsored project. Some examples of activities that cannot be charged include:
    • writing a proposal
    • Serving on an IRB, IACUC or other research committee
    • Serving on a departmental or University service committee
  4. Any individual who expends effort on a federal project must be certified.
  5. Salary adjustments that affect faculty or staff who work on sponsored projects during the year must include the both the Period of Work Performed (PWP) and the employee’s Harvard University Identification (HUID). The HUID and PWP are required even if the specific entry does not include a sponsored fund or sponsored activity to ensure complete reporting through the effort certification system, ecrt. Since certification occurs quarterly, salary adjustments that span multiple months are required to be broken into fiscal quarters.
  6. Certifying effort is not the same as certifying payroll. Payroll percentages are estimates of how effort is anticipated to be expended. (It would be inaccurate to report effort according to the payroll percentages without regard to how the individual actually worked).
  7. Faculty/Annual certification must reasonably reflect all the effort for all the activities that are covered by an individual's institutional based salary.
  8. Effort is not based on a 40 or 35 hour week. Total effort is defined as the amount of time an employee devotes to fulfill his/her Harvard responsibilities.
  9. Effort must be certified by someone with suitable means of verification that the work was performed.
  10. Effort certification is a part of the University's annual single audit performed by PwC.

Policy & Procedures

  • Harvard University Effort Reporting Policy - Adherence to this policy is required for all effort related to federally sponsored grants and contracts as well as any non-federal awards where the sponsor requires effort reporting and/or salary certification.


  • Designee Approval Form - A designee approval form is required when a PI delegates Quarterly Project Effort Certification responsibility to another individual with first-hand knowledge of  the PI's sponsored award. Designee requests must be approved by the Tub Effort Coordinator.
  • Proxy Approval Form - A proxy approval form is required if a faculty member is unable to sign his/her own Annual Faculty Effort Certification. Proxy requests must be approved by the school's Tub Effort Coordinator and the authorized approver in OSP.
  • Certification of Unpaid Committed Effort Form - This form is used to certify faculty effort when ecrt does not generate an effort statement. It must be signed by the PI or by a proxy approved by the Tub Effort Coordinator and OSP.


Office for Sponsored Programs: The Office for Sponsored programs is responsible for business aspects of the ecrt effort reporting system. For policy questions or help with functions issues, contact the ecrt help desk: ecrt@harvard.edu.

HUIT ATS: HUIT ATS manages security roles/rights for ecrt and provides user access to the system.

Tub-level Effort Coordinators: The tub-level effort coordinators (TEC) at each school oversee school-level compliance with University policy and local-level implementation of effort reporting:

Contact ecrt@harvard.edu for additional questions and resources.