- - NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL OFFICE OF INVESTIGATIONS f CLOSEOUT MEMORANDUM I I Case Number: I02050020 11 Page 1[of 1 I/ In May 2002, we received information that identified that a company' may have submitted proposals to the NSF Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program, that were similar to proposals submitted to SBIR Programs at Department of Defense (DoD) and Depdment of Energy (DOE). We also learned that National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) OIG had started an investigation of the company based on a referral from thJ Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA). DCAA had identified questionable salary charges between DoD and NASA SBIR contracts. Our office then joined the multi-agency investigation led by NASA-OIG Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH. I1 On September 3 and 4,2002, a multi-agency investigative team involving NSF-OIG, DOE- OIG, NASA-OIG, Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA), reviewed documents from 41 different research awards to the company from NSF, NASA, DOD, DOE, and the /I Department -ofCommerce from 1994 t02002. While we found-the m-any- awards had'kimilar or the same title and abstracts, the proposals were not identical and the research results reported to the various agencies were different. Based on our review, we found no evidence of duplicate research submitted. At that meeting, DCAA also provided the preliminaryI results of an investigative audit focusing on labor charges for calendar years 1999 and 2000. DCAA found that employees regularly charged their time to one or two projects and administrative time, which could result in higher indirect labor cost. DCAA had not completed the review of salary charges to SBIR awards and agreed to provide the resdts in January 2003. In January 2003, DCAA reported that on several SBIR awards from NSF, NASA and DOE, the Principal Investigators (PIS)for the company had charged significantly less time tc! the awards than were initially proposed and reported in progress reports. The NSF SBIR Program Officer said that PIS' lack of official time charged to NSF's SBIR awards was worrisome but not a serious issue because the PIS were involved in the research projects and actively communicated with NSF. The company also has a good reputation for completing SBIR projects and commercializing the research products. In March 2003, DCAA reported that the review of salary practices was continuing, however, DCAA had found no evidence of fraudulent charges. The multi-agency investigative team agreed to close the investigation and allow DCAA to resolve the remaining issues through the audit process. Accordingly, this case is closed. /I /I NSF OIG Form 2 (1 1/02)
PI Misconduct SBIR
Published by the National Science Foundation, Office of Inspector General on 2003-05-01.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)