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December 2015

holly_corner_largeThe Research Express

December 2015

Volume #4 Issue #11
Grant Award Winners

Congratulations to:

Susan Sanders, from the School of Nursing in the College of Health and Human Sciences, who received a research grant from the Board Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN).

National Science Foundation (NSF) Webcast Presentations from the Fall 2015 NSF Grant Conference

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is streaming presentations from the 2015 NSF Grant Conference that was held November 2-3 in Arlington, Virginia. The website viewing is available here and registration is required. If you previously registered, you can log in with the registered email to view the presentations. In addition, the NSF has posted the presentation slides on the Policy Office website located here.

If you have any difficulties streaming the conference presentations, please email Any grant conference or NSF policy questions can be emailed to

The next NSF Grant Conference will be February 29-March 1, 2016 in Portland Oregon. Please visit the NSF Grant Conference website to be placed on the mailing list to receive updates about upcoming events.

University of Florida to Pay Government $20 Million to Settle Audit Findings

The University of Florida has agreed to pay $20 million to the government in order to resolve claims that it wrongly charged the Department of Health and Human Services for costs on hundreds of federal grants. Prosecutors indicated the university overcharged the government without documenting the contributions, inflated the costs of services, and sought compensation for supplies and equipment that were not originally covered by the grant.

The university stated the findings stemmed from difficulties with bookkeeping that was discovered during an internal audit over nine years ago that has since been corrected. The vice president of research at the university indicated they were fully cooperative with the investigation and have put systems in place to prevent any additional issues. To read more about this, please click here.

Audit Red Flags

The Offices of Inspectors General (OIG) of federal agencies have increased their focus on compliance and efficiency of operations at institutions of higher education.  Below are a list of “red flags” that could potentially cause an institution or transaction to be selected for audit.

  1. General ledger data differs from the drawdown requested/performed by the institution.
  2. Anomalous draw down patterns, particularly including:
    • Costs incurred prior to award start date.
    • Costs incurred after award end date.
    • Spending pattern indicating attempt to expend remaining award funds in the final month (or two) prior to award end date.
    • Large spike in spending compared to standard/expected curve.
  3. Higher than expected project burn rate.
  4. Spending beyond award budget and/or outside of budgeted categories.
  5. Excessive salary charges
  6. Cost transfers, especially from one sponsored account to another or from a non-sponsored account onto sponsored funds.
  7. Riskier cost types:
    • Administrative or clerical type charges, or other types of charges normally treated as indirect costs.
    • Subcontracts and/or consultants.
    • Travel – especially foreign.
    • Equipment purchases.

*This information came from NCURA magazine, August 2015. Authors: Nikki Normandy, Adrienne N. Larmett, and David Clark*

Enhancing Trust in Science Through Proper Standards

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has been discussing how to collaborate with the research community to address issues related to scientific rigor and transparent reporting in order to produce high quality research, as well as enhance the public’s trust in the process of research. One of the goals of the NIH was to encourage researchers to consider scientific rigor and transparency throughout each stage of the research process.

Updated instructions and questions that apply to research grant and career development applications (due Jan. 25, 2016 and beyond) have been recently published. Updates include new research strategy instructions, an attachment to discuss biological and/or chemical resources, and rigorous or transparent questions reviewers will be considering in application reviews. It is encouraged researchers read this information carefully and consider how these instructions may change thoughts related to the project or the preparation of a grant application. The NIH guide will also update instructions related to fellowships and training grants in the next few months.

For additional information, as well as resources, please click here.

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The Research Express is a monthly newsletter provided by the Office of Research Services and the Office of Research Integrity to provide the Faculty and Staff of Georgia Southern University with the most current sponsored research and compliance information.  Please feel free to contact our office at 478-5465 or visit our websites at ORSSP and Research Integrity. “Like” us on Facebook.
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Last updated: 12/7/2015