Effort Certification

As a recipient of federal funds for sponsored projects, Emory is accountable for the amount of time committed to work on sponsored projects. This committed time is generally referred to as effort. Effort reporting is the strategy to confirm that effort promised on a sponsored project has actually been delivered.

Emory certifies effort for all employees on a semi-annual basis (SEP-FEB & MAR-AUG). Once forms are created in the effort system (ERS), they should be certified within 90 days of the end of the effort period. For tracking and certifying effort, Emory uses a web-based system called ERS. Effort certification forms are reviewed and certified within ERS and reporting is then available from the system.

For help, please send an email to effort.help@emory.edu

To Certify Effort Reports

  1. In the center of the screen, click on the PENDING number for certifications.
  2. Click on each form in the list and review your effort.
  3. If a change needs to be made, click the NOTIFY button.
  4. If the percent of time spent on each of your projects appears correct, click the CERTIFY
  5. For additional help, see the Certifier Guide.

To Pre-Review Effort Reports

  1. Go to the ERS Website and sign in.
  2. In the center of the screen, click on the PENDING number for Pre-Review.
  3. Click on each form in the list to review the effort.
  4. If distribution of payment is correct, continue to pre-review form.
  5. If there are any over-the-cap lines, it is necessary to increase cost-share or transfer costs off.
  6. If costs need to be moved between projects, click on the INITIATE CT button to save the form, then create the RST in Compass. Wait for RST changes to update form before continuing pre-review.

Roles in the Effort System

Central Administrator (CA)

It is the role of the Central Administrator to oversee the entire effort reporting process and the effort system. The CA creates new effort forms on a bi-annual basis and assists departments with any needs.

Division Head (DH)

The Division Head is responsible for effort certification at the school (Operating Unit) level. The DH should regularly run reports to ensure that all forms within the school are certified by deadline. The DH can also reassign Department Coordinators if they need to change a DC in their area.

Department Coordinator (DC)

The Department Coordinator is responsible for effort certification at the department level. The DC should run reports for their department to ensure that all forms are certified by the deadline, following up with Pre-Reviewers and Certifiers to ensure that the task is complete. The DC should ensure that all forms have the correct Pre-Reviewer and Certifiers assigned to them. The DC should also make sure that pre-reviewers attend training and that certifiers are aware of available training.


The Pre-Reviewer is responsible for ensuring that each effort form under their purview reflects the work performed to the best of their knowledge. They should adjust the form using cost transfers (RSTs) or cost-share if any adjustments are needed. They should work closely with the certifier to verify that it does match actual time spent on the sponsored project. Pre-review of forms should be done early enough to give the Certifier sufficient time to certify before the deadline.


The Certifier should ensure that the time spent on each sponsored project is accurately reflected on the effort form. If it is, they click the certify button. If not, they contact the Pre-Reviewer and discuss an adjustment to the form. The Certifier should complete the form by the deadline.