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NSF Award Mismanagement, Publication Ban Among Costly Actions by Researchers

During the second half of fiscal year 2021, which ended Sept. 30, the National Science Foundation (NSF) collected more than $2.5 million from six universities and a spinoff firm for a panoply of (sometimes alleged) mistakes and misdeeds. In four cases, NSF has either debarred the investigator involved or has been recommended to do so by OIG.

The paybacks and settlements are broadly outlined in the most recent semiannual report (SAR) to Congress of NSF actions and Office of Inspector General (OIG) investigations.[1] The report spans from April 1 to Sept. 30, 2021, and also includes six cases for which OIG is recommending NSF make findings of misconduct.[2]

As is its practice, OIG does not reveal the names of investigators or institutions. To learn more, RRC has filed Freedom of Information Act requests and will report additional details if they become available.

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