Instructions for Completing the VA Memorandum of Understanding Form
VA MoU Form
Effort calculation worksheet
- All Northwestern University investigators who also hold salaried
VA appointments1 must complete a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
when applying for NIH funding. The investigators' home department
is responsible for maintaining a copy of the current MoU. NIH
requires that the MoU be updated at least annually.
- A copy of the most recent VA-MOU must be submitted to OSR at the
time of proposal submission and with each non-competing renewal
application. OSR will also request a copy of the most current VA-MOU
at the time just-in-time material is requested for NIH applications.
Instructions for completing specific sections of the MoU
- A new MoU should be prepared by January 1st of each year.
- If significant changes occur during the calendar year
(i.e., changes in VA appointment terms or significant changes
in research commitments), then a revised MoU should be prepared
at that time.
- Indicate the investigator's VA title ("Staff Physician"
for most) and Northwestern University faculty title (e.g.,
"Associate Professor", "Assistant Professor") where requested.
- Effort percentages should be based on a reasonable,
justifiable work week, representing the professional
responsibilities of the applicable appointments for the
investigator. In most instances, a 65-hour work week
should be used.
- Total VA effort (A) is based on a 40-hour work week;
therefore, the percentage of total professional effort
dedicated to VA activity can be obtained by multiplying
the individual's VA appointment (in 8ths) by 40 hours,
and then dividing by the individual's reasonable work
week estimate. For example, an individual with a 5/8
VA appointment and a 65-hour work week would have a total
VA effort of 38% ((5/8*40)/65).
- Total University/NMFF effort (B) should equal 100%
minus total VA effort.
- In order to delineate between "Sponsored Research"
and other effort within the VA and University/NMFF categories,
general estimates of effort, based on commitments, should be
used. The following sources of information may be helpful
in determining these commitments:
- VA Sponsored Research (C) - award documentation for
research projects administered by the VA (e.g., VA Merit
- VA Clinical activities (D) - VA employment agreement
- University Teaching, university administration, and
service (E) - teaching schedule, list of committees and
other administrative responsibilities, other non-sponsored
- University Sponsored Research (F) - the individual's
inventory of commitments on active sponsored projects,
including clinical trials. Since the basis for effort
in this VA MoU differs from the basis used for effort
commitments made in University proposals and awards
(total professional effort vs. total institutional effort),
a conversion must be performed to express commitments
on active University sponsored projects in total
professional effort terms*. The sum of the effort
commitments on the individual's active sponsored projects
should be multiplied by (B) in order to determine the
percent for (F). A separate spreadsheet has been provided
to assist you with this conversion.
- NMFF Clinical activities (G) - clinic schedule
An Associate Professor has a 2/8 VA appointment, and two
existing NIH grants through Northwestern, each with a 30%
effort commitment (based on total institutional [NU+NMFF]
effort). The VA commitment is for clinical activities only.
He spends, on average, 10 hours/week on NMFF clinical
activities. The remainder of his time is spent on
University administrative activities. His VA MoU should
be completed as follows:
Total effort dedicated to:
The percentages were determined as follows:
- (A) = 2/8 * 40 / 65 = 15%
- (B) = 100% - 15% = 85%
- (C) = 0% (VA responsibilities are clinical activity only)
- (D) = 15% - 0% = 15%
- (F) = (30%+30%) * 85% = 51%
- (G) = 10/65 = 15% (average clinical schedule is 10 hours/week)
- (E) = 85% - 51% - 15% = 19%
Note that, in this example, (E) is derived as the balance of available
University/NMFF effort. This calculated amount should reasonably reflect
actual teaching, administrative and service responsibilities.
|Teaching, university administration, service
||Appointment = 2/8ths
||VA hours/week = 10
Department chairs, deans, VA personnel, or others may request details
on how the percentages were determined, e.g., the number of hours used as
the basis for the total work week. Please retain documentation that supports
the MoU, including the completed spreadsheet.
1Investigators who have "without compensation" (WOC) or other
arrangements with the VA, please work with OSR to ensure that your arrangement
is appropriately disclosed to research sponsors.
If you have questions while completing this form, please contact:
Bruce Elliott - Director, Chicago Office for Sponsored Research
3-1780 (312-503-1780) or
Jennifer Wei - Project Manager, Effort Reporting
7-2473 (847-467-2473) or firstname.lastname@example.org