Grants monitoring system will

David Anderson

In working to shake the shackles of probation from its single largest research grant donor, the University developed a $12 million electronic grants monitoring system, which it also plans to share with other universities.
University officials announced Thursday the replacement of the NIH’s “exceptional” status with “conditional” status. The change returns some decision-making powers to the University on its hundreds of sponsored-grants projects.
“This action really begins to lift a cloud we’ve had over our heads for four-and-a-half years,” said Frank Cerra, director of the Academic Health Center. “The new systems have set the pace of the bar that the rest of the research institutions have to meet.”
Other universities have already approached the University about the new system, said David Hamilton, who directed its development. The University has made details of the system available on the Internet.
“Most of the things we needed to do to comply are basically behind us,” said Bob Bruininks, executive vice president and provost. “We will have to spend money every year, but most of the initial expense is behind us.”
Maintaining the new system and educating faculty members on its use will cost $1.5 million to $2 million each year.
The University still has a number of requirements to meet in order to have the “conditional” status lifted by Sept. 30.
“Even with full removal of exceptional status, we won’t be content,” said Christine Maziar, vice president of research.
The NIH put the University on probationary status after a 1995 Food and Drug Administration investigation revealed the University had misappropriated $80 million more than 23 years.
Since then, University management of research grants had been subject to NIH oversight from Washington, D.C., until the University implemented a number of NIH-recommended changes to the way it monitors its research projects.