NSF Suspends 18 Awards, Receives Repayments Related to Foreign Ties, Research Misconduct

Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA)

Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA)

Report on Research Compliance Volume 20, no. 7 (July 2023)

One university lost 14 awards; another, four. An investigator was suspended governmentwide. A public institution paid back more than $850,000, while two others returned nearly a million dollars.

Institutions and investigators are experiencing award suspensions and other costly repercussions for failing to report foreign support or connections to the National Science Foundation (NSF) and, to a lesser degree, for research misconduct.

In recent years, such actions most often involved NIH funding. For example, the Van Andel Research Institute paid $6.6 million related to NIH-funded investigators’ undisclosed foreign support from China in violation of the False Claims Act (FCA). However, NIH generally does not publicly disclose details of award suspensions and terminations, whether related to foreign involvement or not.

Although the new actions were taken by NSF, they were described by the agency’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) in its most recent semiannual report to Congress, which covered the six-month period ending March 31.[1] As is its policy, OIG did not reveal the names of the universities or principal investigators (PIs), with the exception of cases involving the Department of Justice (DOJ).

In this report, OIG detailed an FCA settlement with The Ohio State University (OSU), which paid the government $875,689.

In a Nov. 10 news release, DOJ alleged that the unidentified OSU investigator with funding from the Army, NASA and NSF from 2012 to 2020 “failed to disclose funding that he was receiving from a foreign government in connection with: (1) employment at a foreign public university; (2) participation in a foreign talent plan, a program established by the foreign government to recruit individuals with knowledge or access to foreign technology intellectual property; and (3) a grant from the foreign government’s natural science foundation.”[2]

This case had the largest penalty of those included in the report and was the only one involving FCA allegations. NSF’s portion of OSU’s repayment was $63,000, OIG said, a fact DOJ did not mention in its November news release.

OIG is conducting a broad “review to determine if U.S. institutions are complying with NSF’s requirements that PIs and Co-PIs disclose all forms of current and pending sources of funding.”

[View source.]

Written by:

Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA)

Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA) on:

Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
- hide
- hide