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ResourcesResearch Integrity(US) NIH probe of foreign ties has led to undisclosed firings-and refunds from institutions – Science (Jeffrey Mervis | June 2019)

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

(US) NIH probe of foreign ties has led to undisclosed firings-and refunds from institutions – Science (Jeffrey Mervis | June 2019)

 


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An aggressive effort by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to enforce rules requiring its grantees to report foreign ties is still gathering steam. But it has already had a major impact on the U.S. biomedical research community. A senior NIH official tells ScienceInsider that universities have fired more scientists—and refunded more grant money—as a result of the effort than has been publicly known.

Since August 2018, Bethesda, Maryland–based NIH has sent roughly 180 letters to more than 60 U.S. institutions about individual scientists it believes have broken NIH rules requiring full disclosure of all sources of research funding. To date, the investigation has led to the well-publicized dismissals of five researchers, all Asian Americans, at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, and Emory University in Atlanta.

But other major U.S. research universities have also fired faculty in cases that have remained confidential, according to Michael Lauer, head of NIH’s extramural research program. And some have repaid NIH “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in grants as a result of rule violations, he says. “I can understand why [the universities] aren’t talking about it,” Lauer says. “No organization wants to discuss personnel actions in a public forum.”

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