Faculty Effort


Effort is the proportion of time spent on an activity, expressed as a percentage of total time. It cannot be more than 100%. 

100% effort does not equate to any set number of hours, e.g., 40 or 50 hours per week; it equates to the totality of University compensated effort. Stanford University requires a commitment of effort on the part of the PI during the period in which work is being performed. A few exceptions are detailed in the RPH 3.1. 

Stanford University requires a commitment of effort on the part of the Principal Investigator during the period in which the work is being performed. This effort may be expended during the academic year, summer quarter only, or both.

Effort committed in a proposal, awarded by the sponsor, and expended on the project must be matched with an equivalent salary charge either directly to the sponsor, or to a cost sharing account, or to some combination of these.

The requirement of PI effort does not extend to:

  • equipment grants

  • seed grants for students/postdocs where the faculty mentor is named as PI, dissertation support, training grants, or other awards intended as "student augmentation"

  • limited-purpose awards characterized by Stanford as Other Sponsored Activities, including travel grants, conference support, etc. 

Stanford Base Salaries

Stanford Base Salary (SBS) is the annual compensation paid by Stanford to individuals whose time is spent on research, teaching and/or other activities.

Stanford Base Salary:

  1. Includes regular and supplemental salary

  2. Excludes honorarium, vacation accrual, bonus payments and extra compensation such as faculty housing allowance, tuition reimbursement, etc.

  3. Excludes any income that an individual is permitted to earn outside of their Stanford responsibilities (e.g., consulting payments)

Key Points

  • Percentage of committed to the project (% Effort) x (Stanford Base Salary $) = Charge to a Sponsored Project

  • No one has more than 100% FTE, and most Schools require that a specified percent be reserved for non-sponsored activity.  

  • Research-only faculty on 12-month appointments may typically charge up to 95% to sponsored projects year-round and must reserve a minimum of 5% effort for non-sponsored activities.

  • Individual schools may have their own thresholds for how much FTE faculty members must reserve for non-sponsored activities.  

  • Faculty on 9 month appointments can charge up to 90% to sponsored projects during the summer.

  • In the School of Medicine, all faculty (UTL, MCL and NTL) must reserve effort commensurate with their non-sponsored activities (e.g., clinical, administrative, teaching, proposal writing); 5% being the minimum level of effort which must be reserved for non-sponsored activities.

  • PIs may submit proposals on the assumption that not all will be awarded, but, at the time of award, a reasonable representation of time to be devoted to the project, whether that effort will be paid for by the sponsor or by Stanford, is necessary.

  • Salary charged to sponsored projects must be supported by documentation of the corresponding appropriate level of effort. LD (Labor Distribution) schedules must be completed accurately and salary charges reviewed and certified by the PI.

PI Absence or Reduction in Effort

The Uniform Guidance recognizes that a PI can be absent from campus but fully engaged in his or her research team by means of video, computer or other means of communication.