NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL OFFICE OF INVESTIGATIONS CLOSEOUT MEMORANDUM Case Number: A11050034 Page 1 of 1 We assessed an allegation of potential conflicts of interest in NSF's evaluation of proposals (technically, "expressions of interest") solicited for potential future uses of excess NSF equipment 1 used in previous research and scheduled for disposal. Experts2 from a large external organization3 were asked to perform an initial technical assessment ofthe submitted proposals. The potential conflict arose because the organization itself was listed as a partner in one of the 4 proposals. We interviewed the NSF Program Officer5 to gain a perspective of the process of solicitation and assessment. We concluded that the solicitation of the technical evaluation from the participating organization did not constitute an unmanageable conflict of interest, and that the effects were mitigated by the organizational separation between the personnel conducting the technical evaluation and the personnel involved in the organization's proposal. We note that additional information from each of the proposers was sought by NSF Program Officers, who combined that information with the technical evaluation, and who independently made the final determination. We found no evidence that any proposal was inappropriately excluded from consideration, or evaluated on anything other than the announced criteria, or that conflicts of interest tainted the outcome. This case is closed with no further action taken. 2 The specific individuals performing the technical evaluation were scientists with direct previous experience in of the · for NSF research. NSF OIG Form 2 (11102)
COI (Non-NSF) COI (NSF)
Published by the National Science Foundation, Office of Inspector General on 2014-08-28.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)