Sneak Preview: COGR Blasts NSF OIG’s Data Collection Plan

January 4, 2013 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

(The following was excerpted from an article in the Federal Grants Management Handbook.) A coalition of research universities is balking at a plan by the National Science Foundation’s Office of Inspector General to collect data to determine if awardee institutions are adequately training researchers to meet NSF’s policy on responsible conduct of research.

In its Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide, NSF developed policies for institutions to meet the statutory requirements of Section 7009 of the America COMPETES Act of 2007 (Pub. L. 110-69) by requiring an institution to certify at the time of application that it has a plan in place to provide appropriate training and oversight on the responsible conduct of research to NSF-supported undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral researchers; has designated an individual to oversee compliance; and is able to verify the delivery of the training.

The NSF OIG in September 2012 sought comments on a proposal to assess awardees’ plans regarding training on responsible conduct of research. It said the proposal was necessary to enable it to review the institutional compliance with the requirements and to determine whether to strengthen them. It also would enable OIG to develop a responsible conduct of research oversight plan.

In a comment letter to OIG, the Council on Governmental Relations, which represents 190 research universities and affiliated academic medical centers and research institutes, said that the information collection exceeds what is necessary to evaluate recipients’ compliance with NSF’s policy and creates an unnecessary and excessive burden on the recipients.

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