Your Input on Reducing Administrative Burdens and Costs


You may remember back in June I asked for your input regarding revisions to the current OMB Circular A-21. Many thanks to all those who responded to the request for information. We have now posted a summary of the public comments, along with other information about the A-21 Task Force on the Research Business Models website. 

As you can see from the summary, we received 154 comments. The majority of which were from institutions of higher education, with some responses from medical centers, research institutes, associations, and individuals. Overall, the comments indicated that universities are highly affected by the burden of Circular A-21 and other federal requirements. The most prevalent topic addressed was the significant administrative burden to the scientific staff due to the effort reporting requirement and lack of ability to directly charge administrative and project management support staff. The responders were also greatly concerned with the consistency of overhead costs as well as consistency of regulatory and compliance burdens among various regulations and agencies.

The task force considered this input and is preparing its recommendations for actions to the reduce administrative burden, enhance the productivity of researchers, and streamline federal requirements, while maintaining sound stewardship of federally sponsored projects awarded to institutions of higher education.


  1. Regarding effort reporting and salary restrictions according to A-21 — is there a FTE requirement for the PD/PI? More specifically, does a PD/PI need to be a full time employee??

    1. No, the PD/PI does not need to be a full-time employee. You can find out more in the NIH Grants Policy Statement section 2.1.2. However, each PD/PI must have measurable effort (greater than zero), and the level of effort must be adequate to achieve the proposed goals. Some funding opportunity announcements include a specific minimal level of effort for PD/PIs, and in those cases, the specifications apply.

  2. Am I reading your links correctly? I think it says we should have a general idea of what the effort reporting requirement changes will be by early (1st qtr?) 2012.

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