Faculty Effort on Research Projects

Research Foundation (RF) employees who contribute to sponsored projects submit their timesheets via the RF system and as per the timesheet submission and approval policy. However, the process is different for faculty members.

This procedure aims to provide faculty members with the information necessary to charge effort in a timely and accurate manner. The process varies depending on whether the effort is spent during the academic year or the summer.

How to Calculate Academic Effort

The effort that a faculty member charges to a sponsored project during the academic year (September – May) is calculated based on the following:

  • The individual’s annual base salary;
  • The duration of the budget period; and
  • The time required to complete the approved scope of work.

Some elements to keep in mind:

  • Sponsors such as NIH have a salary cap that cannot be exceeded;
  • CUNY salaries are subject to a 2% annual increase every Fall;
  • Faculty members could be on a 9 or 12-month appointment; and
  • If key personnel need to deviate from the approved percent effort, prior approval from the sponsor may be required. Please contact your GO if you have any questions about effort changes.

Here is an example of effort calculations using:

  • The 2023 NIH annual salary cap, $212,100; and
  • A 12% effort over 6 academic months.

(212,100*6/12)*12% = $12,726

With a 9-month annual salary of $125,00, the calculations would be:

(125,000*6/9)*12%= $10,000

The GO will work with you on these calculations.

How to Charge Academic Effort to a Sponsored Award

In order for our school to receive reimbursement from sponsored funds for faculty academic effort, a Staff Effort Notice (SEN) must be emailed to the RF.

The SEN will be populated with the following information:

  • RF account #;
  • Name of PI;
  • Budget period;
  • Name and annual salary of faculty member charging time to the account; and
  • Use the information on salary calculations explained above.

If the sponsored project cannot absorb the full cost of the time a faculty member spends on the project, the cost-sharing cell of the SEN will need to be completed and provide the amount that the project could not cover.

The completed and GO-approved SEN is sent to Victor Sekelsky at the RF to be signed and processed. The GO is responsible for this submission.

SEN submissions should be submitted by semester. The Effort Reporting System tracks semesters as follows:

  • Fall Semester: September 1 – January 15 (4.5 months, 1/2 academic year)
  • Spring Semester: January 16 – May 31 (4.5 months, 1/2 academic year)
  • Summer period: June 1 – August 31 (3 months, only eligible for 12-month staff)

If the SEN is submitted after the allowed period, the RF requires the submission of a late justification.

What is Summer Salary

Summer salary is compensation paid in addition to the faculty member’s annual salary for work performed during CUNY’s summer semester (June 1 – August 24).

Faculty members on a 9-month appointment will be able to receive up to three-ninths of their annual base salary between what they receive for their academic and research work.

Faculty members who charge effort to a sponsored project subject to a salary cap and whose annual salary exceeds the cap will need to calculate their summer payments according to the cap amount.

Faculty members on a 12-month appointment are not eligible for summer salary and will charge summer effort to a sponsored project using the SEN, as described above.

How to Charge Summer Effort to a Sponsored Award

Faculty members eligible for summer salary will charge their summer effort to a sponsored project via a 2- step process. The first step will consist in creating an appointment, and the following step will be to submit a payment authorization.

Faculty members will complete these steps in the RF summer salary system accessible through the RF website. Instructions to complete each of these two steps are below.

STEP 1: Create an Appointment

The appointment is entered as a one-time lump sum amount per employee per account.

  1. Log in to www.rfcuny.org
  2. Scroll over E-Services and click on Summer Salary
  3. Click on Appointment
  4. Click on Add New Appointment
  5. Begin to type your project number in the Project field and then select it by clicking on it when it appears in the drop-down menu
  6. Begin to type the employee’s Last Name, First Name in the Employee field and then select it by clicking on it when it appears in the drop-down menu
  7. Enter the encumbrance amount to be paid for the entire summer period from this RF project account
  8. Click Preview
  9. Click Approve

STEP 2: Submit Payment Authorizations

The encumbrance total should be divided across the six “Pay Periods” covering the entire summer period.

  1. Log in to www.rfcuny.org
  2. Scroll over E-Services and click on Summer Salary.
  3. Click on Payment Authorizations.
  4. Click on the employee name to create a Payment Authorization.
  5. Check off the boxes corresponding to the periods for which summer salary was/will be earned.
  6. Enter the amounts in the text boxes per pay period.
  7. Click Save Selected.
  8. Then check the boxes for those period(s) already completed and click Submit Selected. You can save payment authorizations at any time, but you will only be able to submit them on or after the period’s end date.

Early in the summer, the RF shares the calendar with the dates the system opens to submit payment authorizations. The Office of Sponsored Programs and Research (SPaR) will remind you of these dates a few days before the system opens. For timely payments, faculty members should submit payment
authorizations per the RF calendar.

Related Resources

Effort Certification

Timesheet Submission and Approval