NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL OFFICE OF INVESTIGATIONS CLOSEOUT MEMORANDUM Zase Number: I02030011 11 Page 1 of 2 We received an allegation that a Division ~irector'encouraged the fbnding of a mediocre grant2 and then took a position at the research institution that the grant funded3. On Thursday, October 3,2002, an interview was conducted with the Program Officer (PO) to ' discuss the details regarding the grant. The Program Officer stated that a Principal Investigator (PI) submitted a proposal, which &s assigned to one of several panels. The five panelists were instructed to rate the top 10% of the proposals as "highly competitive", the second highest 10% of the proposals as "competitive" and the remaining proposals in the "do not consider" category. After all of the panel had completed deliberations, a coordinating committee of program officers met to review panel recommendations and to finalize funding recommendations. The PO strongly encouraged funding the grant in question. The PO felt that the proposal had great merit because the PI and Co-PI were considered excellent researchers and that the grant promoted empirical research. Although he stated that he normally followed the recommendations of the panel, this program may have seemed too high-risk. The PO scheduled a meeting with the assistant director of the division5andstrongly encouraged it's funding. The PO explained that he felt the researchers had a strong background in the area and their research involved an important area in which that few people were interested. According to the PO, the Division Director, was not involved with decisions regarding this proposal. The PO provided us with an email dated June 30,2000 written by the Division Director in which he disclosed that he had a conflict with the proposal. The email advised that he was negotiating future employment with the PI; therefore the final decision should be based on analysis of the proposal and what was believed to be best for the discipline. The Designated Agency Ethics Official (DAEO) was contacted to discuss the concerd ' Foot note redacted * Footnote redacted Footnote redacted 4 Footnote redacted Footnote redacted Footnote'redacted Investigator Attorney Supervisor , AIGI Sign 1 date NSF OIG Fom 2 (1 1/02) 11 ." 6 I NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL OFFICE OF INVESTIGATIONS CLOSEOUT MEMORAND'CTM Case Number: Page 2 of 2 regarding conflict of interest issues. DAEO further advised that no conflict of interest existed because the subject recused himself from matters involving the entity. Accordingly, this case is closed.
Published by the National Science Foundation, Office of Inspector General on 2003-01-13.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)