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The National Institutes of Health Has Controls to Mitigate the Risk That Grantees Receive Duplicate Grant Funding

Why OIG Did This Audit

This audit is part of a larger body of Congressionally directed work to conduct oversight of National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant programs and operations. OIG was directed to examine NIH's oversight of its grantees' compliance with NIH policies, including NIH efforts to ensure the integrity of its grant application and selection processes.

Our objective was to determine whether NIH's internal controls were effective in ensuring that grantees did not receive duplicate NIH grant funding.

How OIG Did This Audit

We held discussions with NIH officials and reviewed NIH's policies and procedures for identifying duplicate grant funding. In addition, from a sampling frame of 51,168 research grants active during our October 2017 through September 2018 audit period, totaling $26.3 billion, we selected a nonstatistical sample of 116 grants totaling $33.1 million.

For each sampled grant, we used text recognition software to identify similar grants. We then reviewed the grant documentation of each similar grant to determine if grantees received duplicate NIH grant funding.

What OIG Found

NIH's internal controls were effective in ensuring that grantees did not receive duplicate funding. Specifically, the 116 grants in our sample did not duplicate other grant activities funded by NIH during our audit period.

NIH receives approximately 80,000 applications for grant funding each year. NIH checks all applications to identify instances of duplication. If duplication is discovered during the application phase, NIH resolves the overlap prior to awarding funds through communication with the applicant institution to ensure that the duplication is removed by adjusting the research plan, budget, or commitment of personnel, as necessary.

After it awards grants, NIH conducts post-award monitoring using data mining technology to identify awards with potential duplication. If similar awards are identified, subject matter experts review them to determine if there is any duplication. If actual duplication is identified, the duplicate award will be terminated and the identified duplicate funding will be returned to NIH.

What OIG Recommends

This report contains no recommendations.

Filed under: National Institutes of Health