National Institutes of Health Extramural Research Grants: Oversight of Cost Reimbursements to Universities

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Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the nation's leader in conducting and sponsoring biomedical research. More than 80 percent of NIH's budget, which totaled over $28 billion in fiscal year 2006, is used to support extramural research, which is primarily conducted at over 500 universities nationwide. NIH reimburses universities for direct costs that can be specifically attributed to research sponsored by NIH grants, including costs for labor and materials used solely to carry out the research. It also reimburses universities ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. January 31, 2007.

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Description

Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the nation's leader in conducting and sponsoring biomedical research. More than 80 percent of NIH's budget, which totaled over $28 billion in fiscal year 2006, is used to support extramural research, which is primarily conducted at over 500 universities nationwide. NIH reimburses universities for direct costs that can be specifically attributed to research sponsored by NIH grants, including costs for labor and materials used solely to carry out the research. It also reimburses universities for indirect costs, which include various facility and administrative expenses incurred by the universities for the shared support of such research. To be reimbursed for direct and indirect costs, universities must properly identify and claim them in accordance with federal guidance. Because indirect costs cannot be specifically attributed to a particular research grant, they are charged via an indirect cost rate that is applied to the direct costs for each grant agreement. The oversight responsibilities of NIH's institutes and centers (IC) include the financial management of grants as well as ensuring that grantees comply with the terms of the grants. Audit responsibility for NIH research grants is shared between nonfederal auditors and HHS's Office of Inspector General (OIG). Because any incorrect allocation or claiming of costs could put federal funds at risk, Congress asked us to review indirect costs associated with NIH extramural research grants and oversight of direct and indirect costs claimed by universities receiving these grants. In response, we (1) describe the trends in indirect costs for NIH extramural research grants awarded to universities for fiscal years 2003 through 2005, (2) describe HHS's current key controls to ensure that grantees comply with federal guidance in claiming costs, (3) determine the frequency and scope of single and OIG audits of grantees, and (4) determine what actions NIH has taken to address auditors' findings of improper claiming of direct and indirect costs."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • January 31, 2007

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. National Institutes of Health Extramural Research Grants: Oversight of Cost Reimbursements to Universities, text, January 31, 2007; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc297757/: accessed October 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.