Jump to:Page Content
The National Science Foundation (NSF) presented their plans to improve oversight of grants using data driven, risk-based methods as a way to identify institutions that may not be using federal funds properly and also to discover questionable expenditures. NSF plans to use their own internal resources for getting at this data plus some external websites and, of course, recipient financial systems and other records (general ledger, effort reports, equipment and property records, travel and purchase cards, subrecipient monitoring).
This presentation covered approaches used by the National Science Foundation Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Georgia Institute of Technology for university grant oversight. Universities can enhance program and financial oversight of grants by using automated techniques to save time and to extend their overview of program execution.
Two new faculty members, both from top graduate programs, start as assistant professors. A few years later, one has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in external grants, while the other has won only a small internal award. What was Professor No. 1's secret? As a university grant officer and occasional Chronicle columnist, I've talked with senior professors at my own institution about how to kick-start a successful research career.
The New York City-based Ford Foundation has announced that its most recent Center for Effective Philanthropy-issued Grantee Perception Report rates the foundation highly in most areas and shows improvement compared to the results of its 2008 report.
Based on survey responses from nearly two thousand grantee organizations, Grantee Perception Report: Ford Foundation 2012 gave the foundation high scores for advancing knowledge in its grantees' fields and for its level of involvement in the development of grantees' proposals, rating it higher in both categories than the median score for comparable large private funders as well as the foundation's 2008 scores.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is the nation’s preeminent federal agency that funds basic science and engineering (S&E) research across all disciplines. For more than 60 years, NSF has been a significant catalyzing factor that has figured prominently in improving everyday life for millions of Americans and people around the globe. Central to that effort is NSF’s research portfolio in the social, behavioral and economics sciences. NSF’s Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) funds more than half of the university-based social and behavioral science research in the nation, basic research that offers unique contributions to many areas impacting human behavior, society and survival. This publication brings people into focus by highlighting human elements through examples of basic SBE research that address critical national needs.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) released a summary brochure today that shows how important human-focused research is to critical national needs. Titled "Bringing People Into Focus: How Social, Behavioral and Economic Research Addresses National Challenges," the brochure provides examples of the ways in which NSF-funded, basic, social and behavioral science research bears on national security and economic interests.
Congress took a giant step on Wednesday toward easing the threat of another budget stalemate, but the price of securing that compromise will continue to be felt at research universities and especially at those involved in political science. The Senate, by a vote of 73 to 26, approved a measure to finance the government through the end of the fiscal year, on September 30. The bill is expected to win approval in the House of Representatives. But the legislation would restore very little of the 5-percent cut in the budget of the National Institutes of Health that took effect on March 1 as a result of a process known as sequestration.
After nearly two years of effort, a bid to rewrite the federal rules governing research involving human subjects appears to be stuck, with little optimism for a way forward. Universities and researchers pressing for changes in the Common Rule, which governs the ethics of biomedical and behavioral human-subjects research, gained an apparent breakthrough in July 2011, when the federal government's Office for Human Research Protections formally outlined some proposed revisions and asked for public comment.
The time seemed ripe. Social scientists, in particular, were frustrated by rules that often left simple attempts at public-opinion surveys bogged down in bureaucracy for months. And the Obama administration, upset by recent revelations that federal scientists in the 1940s intentionally infected Guatemalans with gonorrhea and syphilis, was also eager for changes.
As you may know, since passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, the President has been working with Congress to reach agreement on a balanced deficit reduction plan. If an agreement is not reached by the end of this month, the President will be required to issue an order on March 1, 2013 that will implement across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration. As a result of this expected sequestration order, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 appropriations of the National Science Foundation (NSF) will be reduced by 5 percent. We intend to make the necessary FY 2013 reductions with as little disruption as possible to established commitments, and are using the following set of core principles to guide our sequestration planning activities.
The Obama administration announced on Friday a major new policy aimed at increasing public access to federally financed research. The policy, delivered in a memorandum from John P. Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, applies to federal agencies that spend more than $100-million a year to support research and development.
In the memo, Mr. Holdren directed those agencies to develop "clear and coordinated policies" to make the results of research they support publicly available within a year of publication. The new policy also requires scientific data from unclassified, federally supported research to be made available to the public "to search, retrieve, and analyze." Affected agencies have six months to decide how to carry out the policy.
For museums and other institutions confronted with the sometimes onerous restrictions that donors place on major gifts, forever can be a very long time. In Boston, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum still keeps most of its galleries illuminated at the equivalent of candlelight because that’s how Mrs. Gardner wanted it when she died in 1924. In Tennessee, Fisk University, facing possible closing, needed court permission to sell a stake in an art collection that the artist Georgia O’Keeffe had donated with the proviso that it never be sold.
See the link below for updated pdf of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) On Proposal Preparation and Award Administration - January 2013.
The National Science Foundation is making changes in its submission process that will affect grant proposals turned in on or after January 14. The changes are not earth-shattering, but you won't be able to submit your proposal online if you don't follow the new rules. Following are some key changes in the NSF's Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (you can read it in its entirety here. The foundation received nearly 49,000 proposals in fiscal year 2011-12 and awarded money to 24 percent of them. Don't become part of the 76 percent simply because you weren't aware of the new rules.
More than two generations since university physicists helped win World War II, the marriage of academe and spycraft remains a matter of profound unease. For some colleges and professors, classified research promises prestige and money. Powerhouses like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Johns Hopkins University have for decades run large classified laboratories. But most other universities either don't allow such research or conduct it quietly, and in small doses. The feeling—often reinforced by student protests—has been that secrecy is intolerable on campuses dedicated to free and open inquiry. Now, for a combination of reasons, the balance may be shifting. The September 11, 2001, attacks bolstered the national-security industry and public acceptance of it. Students are less likely to stage demonstrations. And in recent years, with the government tightening its spending, the remaining stockpiles of research money are attracting greater attention.
If you watch true-crime television shows, you know that technology has made it harder for culprits to get away with their misdeeds. The bad guy is nailed after being captured on the bank's surveillance video or is identified as the killer through DNA. The bad guys of academe—at least the ones who plagiarize in grant proposals—are now subject to the same technological scrutiny. It's not news that software exists to check undergraduate papers for plagiarism. What is less well known is that some federal grant agencies are using technology to detect plagiarism in grant proposals. That variety of research misconduct is a growing problem, according to federal experts I talk with in my work as a university grant officer.
The National Science Foundation released a report today showing that university spending on research and development in all fields continued to increase between fiscal years (FY) 2010 and 2011, reaching $65 billion in FY 2011. This figure represents a 6.3 percent increase from the previous year and includes $4.2 billion in expenditures associated with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The majority of university R&D was concentrated in the life sciences, which grew 6.6 percent to $37.2 billion. Engineering was the next largest broad field and showed a 7.7 percent increase to $10 billion in fiscal 2011.
As Robert Gallucci settled into his job as president of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, he quickly became dismayed by how much his old home of Washington, where he’d spent a long career as a foreign-policy expert, followed him to Chicago. Virtually every problem the MacArthur foundation tried to tackle would find itself snarled by inaction in the nation’s capital, says Mr. Gallucci, who joined the philanthropy in 2009.
Take America’s fiscal situation. MacArthur paid for a big study by the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Public Administration that raised alarms about the mounting national debt and proposed a variety of solutions. But deficit talks have stalled in Washington. So Mr. Gallucci became one of a handful of foundation leaders who are investigating how to use philanthropy to help, as he calls it, “strengthen democracy.” “I think we are in trouble as a country, and I don’t think that’s hyperbolic,” he says. But, he adds, “I want you to know I am not depressed. There are ways of improving the situation.”
Spurred by concerns about big money in politics, infringements on voting rights, a shrill and divisive political climate, and the failure of a polarized Congress to pass legislation on a range of issues, philanthropies including the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Omidyar Network are also exploring what kind of a difference they could make in the political process.