When preparing a proposal for submission, sponsors ask potential principal investigators (PI's) for various pieces of information (e.g. narratives, scopes of work, justifications, budgets, etc.). Within these proposal pieces, it is generally expected that PIs will clearly lay out what they intend to do with the extramural support they receive, and how they will do it. Proposal budgets, for example, should in most instances contain salary support for the time that PIs (and his/her support staff) will spend on the project should it be funded. Effort should be proposed based on good faith estimates and calculated using established procedures.
Should a proposal be awarded, the University accepts the award. Award negotiation may take place for a variety of reasons: if the sponsor requires additional steps, if the awarded funds are less than those proposed, and/or if at the time of award it is necessary for a PI to change the level of effort commitment on his/her sponsored project(s). (For example, if Prof. Smith already divides his time between 50% teaching and 50% research, and his proposal for additional research is funded in which he proposed 25% effort, then it is necessary to contact Prof. Smith's sponsors to renegotiate his awarded effort commitments, and/or decrease his teaching duties).
Once the award is set up and the PI obtains his sponsored project account, the PI's home department must appoint him/her on the grant as per the effort proposed/awarded. (If effort was cost-shared, then separate cost sharing procedures should be followed to track effort). Appointing people on a grant ensures that effort can be tracked and monitored: the salary sources should clearly track with the effort commitments in place and the work that PIs and support staff do. A grant account cannot pay for other non-sponsored work. Effort should be charged at the moment that it is performed. If changes must be to effort commitments, PIs and their departments must communicate this with the Office of Sponsored Programs.
Remember, sponsored project funds should be used for their intended purposes.
Lastly, PIs will certify effort on their sponsored programs every six months. If changes must be made to effort commitments, PIs and their departments must communicate this with the Office of Sponsored Programs.