Frequently Asked Questions Related to Effort from
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
For the complete list of questions, please see this link: http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=costsharefaqs
5. Does the new policy suggest that an institution must propose a minimum threshold of paid effort for faculty or senior researchers? If not, how should the institution propose unpaid effort for senior personnel?
The Board’s recommendations did not suggest changes to the existing practice of sharing in the costs of faculty salaries, and NSF has not made any changes to its current salaries and wages policy. In addition, the revised GPG coverage reminds recipients that they remain subject to the provisions of OMB M-01-06, “Clarification of OMB A-21 Treatment of Voluntary Uncommitted Cost Sharing and Tuition Remission Costs,” regarding requirements for committing and tracking “some level” of faculty (or senior researcher) effort as part of the organized research base.
6. If a PI already is charging two months of salary support per year on their active NSF award(s), should they not request support on any new proposals that are submitted? If they are not requesting salary support, would that constitute cost sharing?
As stated above, the Board noted in its report that nothing in the recommendations was meant to change NSF’s current salaries and wages policy. Therefore, PIs should include in their proposals the amount of time they are planning to spend working on the project, should it be funded. Awardee organizations also may, at their discretion, continue to contribute voluntary uncommitted cost sharing to NSF-sponsored projects.
Should a PI have other NSF award(s) with salary support and the new proposal would put them over the two months of support in any one year policy, then per the GPG Chapter II.C.2.g.(i), they will need to justify in the budget justification why support for the pending project is needed. The Program Officer will consider this and determine if it is feasible to support the additional time.
The GPG directs that all organizational resources available for a project should be described in the Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources section of the proposal. The Board’s report defines this to include physical and personnel resources. Since the Facilities section is not part of the budget, it does not meet the definition of cost sharing in 2 CFR § 215.23 and therefore the resources described there would not be considered voluntary committed cost sharing.
9. Would effort shown on the Current and Pending Support section of the proposal that is not reflected on the proposal budget be considered voluntary committed cost sharing?
The purpose of the current and pending report section is to assess possible PI and other senior personnel commitments and get a general sense of what other projects require a portion of their time. The section may include everything from planned, to pending, to current projects and NSF uses it strictly for informational purposes. Current and pending support is not part of the budget and so does not meet the definition of cost sharing in 2 CFR § 215.23. Therefore NSF would not consider effort shown on the current and pending support section to be voluntary committed cost sharing.
11. Can descriptions of the resources available for a project be included in sections other than Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources?
The Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources section should contain an aggregated description of the resources that the organization will provide to the project, should it be funded. Narrative descriptions of the resources available (both physical and personnel) should be included in the Facilities section and not in other areas of the proposal.
In the past, for some doctoral dissertation and fellowship programs, person months for the student/fellow are listed on the budget but no salary. How should this be handled under the new cost sharing policy?
For these types of situations, the student/fellow should be listed on the NSF Cover Sheet but will need to be removed from the NSF budget. This can be done by clicking on their name in the budget format and then clicking “Check to remove”. Because their name appears on the Cover Sheet, their name will still be included in the award notice, should the proposal be funded. The faculty advisor may continue to be listed as PI on the budget with zero person months and $0 salary. The Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources section should contain an aggregated description of the resources that the organization will provide to the project (both physical and personnel), should it be funded.
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