Items Requiring Special Monitoring
[Return to Table of Contents]
Fraud, Waste, and Abuse
1: Accurate proposal data; provision of false information
Most Federal grant applications require the official signing on behalf of the institution to certify that the factual statements made in the application are true and correct. For example, the National Science Foundation application face page states:
By signing and submitting this proposal, the individual applicant or the authorized official of the applicant institution is: (1) certifying that statements made herein are true and complete to the best of his/her knowledge; and (2) agreeing to accept the obligation to comply with NSF award terms and conditions if an award is made as a result of this application. Further, the applicant is hereby providing certifications regarding Federal debt status, debarment and suspension, drugfree workplace, and lobbying activities (see below), as set forth in the Proposal Preparation and Submission Guidelines (GPG) NSF 08-1 . Willful provision of false information in this application and its supporting documents or in reports required under an ensuing award is a criminal offense (U.S. Code, Title 18, Section 1001).
False, fictitious, or fraudulent statements or claims may result in criminal, civil, or administrative penalties.
The civil penalties alluded to are contained in the Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act, which provides for significant economic penalties (to which the University has already been subjected in one case) in the event this certification is signed and then intentional falsehoods are found to have been stated anywhere in the grant proposal. The same penalties would apply to the willful provision of false information in reports submitted in connection with the award.
Standard Form (SF) 424B, Assurances - Nonconstruction Programs; Federal grant application forms (e.g. NIH and NSF)
(a) Institutional Certification: At least once every two years, a campus official should coordinate a review of campus compliance with the certifications in Lists A-C and inform the Contract and Grant office staff that this certification may continue to be signed.
(b) Principal Investigator Certification: Each campus should give Principal Investigators a statement of what their duties and responsibilities are with respect to not providing false or misleading information in proposals, particularly with regard to the scientific claims made, the estimates of costs, and other items covered by the certifications in Lists A-C. A model statement that may be used for this purpose is being developed by the Office of the President.
Most Federal granting agencies have adopted the common rule called "New Restrictions on Lobbying," published in the Federal Register on February 26, 1990 (55 FR 6736). Applicants for both Federal contracts and Federal grants over $100,000 must certify that no Federal funds were used to pay for lobbying activities. Any non-Federal funds so used, with certain exceptions, must be reported on Standard Form LLL, Disclosure of Lobbying Activities, along with the application. In addition, OMB Circular A-21 mandates that the costs of lobbying activities cannot be charged directly or indirectly to Federally-sponsored projects. For further information, see C&G Memos 90-2 (2/9/90), 90-2 Supplement 1 (5/21/90), 90-2 Supplement 2 (7/12/90), and 90-2 Supplement 3 (6/26/95) on Lobbying Restrictions.
FAR 52.203-11; Federal grant application forms (e.g., NIH and NSF); OMB Circular A-21 Section 28, Lobbying; and Section K.2.b., Certificate of Indirect Costs. [See also A-21, Section J.1., Advertising and Public Relations Costs.]
(a) Separately identify unallowable lobbying activity costs and exclude such costs from campus Federal indirect cost proposals and from expenditure reports on Federal awards.
(b) Enforce the University proscription on the use of University funds (Federal and non-Federal) in efforts to secure earmarking of Federal appropriations for non-competitive awards to the University.
(c) Provide notification to Principal Investigators and other campus officials concerning Federal lobbying restrictions and reporting requirements.
3: Conflict of Interest
Applicants for Federal financial assistance from certain agencies (currently NSF and NIH) must certify that the campus has a written and enforced conflict of interest policy; that if potential conflicts exist they will be reduced or eliminated; and that the campus will make pertinent information available upon request of the awarding agency. In addition, proposals for certain Federal consulting agreements may contain certificates with respect to organizational conflicts of interest.
(a) Financial Conflicts of Interest
NIH and NSF grant application forms; NIH grant award terms (42 CFR 50 Subpart F and 45 CFR 94); NSF grant award terms.
(b) Organizational Conflicts of Interest
(a) Financial Conflicts of Interest
Implement the Universitywide " Policy on Disclosure of Financial Interests and Management of Conflicts of Interest Related to Sponsored Projects." At least once every two years, selectively review NIH and NSF awards to confirm: that disclosures have been filed; that the NIH awarding component has been notified in cases where conflicts have been disclosed; and that disclosed conflicts have been managed in accordance with Independent Substantive Review Committee recommendations. Continue to enforce University rules pertaining to employee-vendor relationships (in Business and Finance Bulletin BUS-43, Part 7).
(b) Organizational Conflicts of Interest
If the certifications are required, solicit information from the Principal Investigator on whether he/she believes that performance of the service under a Federal contract may give the Principal Investigator an unfair advantage in competing for other government contracts, or that because of other activities or relationships the Principal Investigator is unable to render impartial advice or assistance to the government.
4: Scientific Misconduct
Both NSF and NIH impose extensive procedural requirements on grantees for handling cases of alleged scientific misconduct, including, in the case of PHS, filing of an annual report in addition to certifications on each grant proposal. In response, the University has promulgated a policy on "Integrity in Research." For further information, see C&G Memos 87-26 (8/6/87), PHS Grant Application Form PHS 398, Assurance on Scientific Fraud (Misconduct); 90-1 (1/16/90), Integrity in Research: NSF and PHS Regulations and Proposed University Policy; and 90-1 Supplement 1 (6/26/90), University Policy on Integrity in Research.
42 CFR 93; 45 CFR 689
Submit the annual report on misconduct on Form 6349 to the Office of Research Integrity; implement the University policy on Integrity in Research (including making sure that current copies of local guidelines and procedures have been sent to the Provost and Senior Vice President--Academic Affairs). At least once every two years, review local guidelines for conformance with 42 CFR 93 and confirm that misconduct inquiries and investigations (if any) were conducted in compliance with local guidelines. Inform Principal Investigators, in an investigator handbook or similar document, of the importance of accuracy in the statement of work submitted with the proposal, and expected standards for the conduct of research.
5: Debarment and Suspension
Summary: Certify whether the offeror or applicant, or any of its principals, is currently debarred, suspended, proposed for debarment, or declared ineligible to receive Federal awards; whether within the past three years the offeror or applicant, or any of its principals, has been convicted of or had a civil judgment rendered against it for, or been indicted for, commission of fraud or certain criminal offenses; and whether the offeror or applicant has had any Federal award terminated for cause or default in the past three years. Require similar certifications in subcontracts over $30,000.
Reference: FAR 52.209-05; 2 CFR Part 180; Federal grant application forms (e.g., NIH and NSF), 52.209-6
Guidance: The campus proposal routing sheet (or equivalent internal document) for any federal grant application over $25,000 or any federal contract proposal over the simplified acquisition threshold (currently $150,000) should state that the Principal Investigator: (a) has not been debarred or otherwise declared ineligible to receive federal awards; and (b) has not, within the previous three years, been charged with committing an action that may be a cause for debarment. Actions that may be cause for debarment include: (i) commission of fraud or a criminal offense in connection with obtaining or performing a public contract or subcontract; and (ii) commission of embezzlement, theft, forgery, bribery, falsification or destruction of records, making false statements, tax evasion, or receiving stolen property. Contract and Grant Directors should require office staff to report whenever any federal award to the campus has been terminated for cause or default, and the date of termination. For further information, see C&G Memo 88-19 (11/8/88), Certification of Nondebarment Status for Federal Assistance. The UCOP Office of Ethics, Compliance and Audit Services monitors the Federal debarment list and will notify campuses if the University or any officer of the University appears on the list. Subawards over $25,000 and subcontracts over $30,000 are required to provide this certification as well.
1: Human Subjects
Applicants for Federal financial assistance for work involving human subjects must certify that they will comply with applicable agency rules for protection of such subjects. Most Federal agencies have adopted the common rule called "Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects," published in the Federal Register on June 18, 1991 (58 FR 28001). The Department of Health and Human Services' codification of this common rule is at 45 CFR 46. In addition, Federally-funded research protocols involving human subjects must be reviewed by a campus Institutional Review Board (IRB). The operating procedures and composition of an IRB must conform to the campus "Assurance of Compliance" as approved by DHHS.
SF-424B, #14; grant application forms (e.g., NIH)
(a) All proposals involving non-exempt use of human subjects must be reviewed by a campus IRB.
(b) At least once every two years, IRB staff should review relevant procedures for conformance with 45 CFR 46 and the campus "General Assurance of Compliance" (or equivalent).
2: Laboratory Animals
Applicants for financial assistance for work involving live, vertebrate animals must certify that they will comply with all applicable State and Federal regulations. The principal Federal regulations are contained in Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (pdf), which in effect requires that all research protocols involving such animals be reviewed by a campus Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and that the institution use the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals as a basis for developing and implementing an institutional animal care and use program. Additional applicable regulations are published in the USDA Animal Welfare Regulations. The operating procedures and composition of an IACUC must conform to the campus "Animal Welfare Assurance" as approved by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
SF-424B, #15; grant application forms (e.g., NIH); Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals; 9 CFR Chapter 1– Animal Welfare
(a) All proposals involving use of live, vertebrate animals must be reviewed by a campus IACUC.
(b) At least once every two years, IACUC staff should review relevant procedures for conformance with the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals and the campus "Animal Welfare Assurance" (or equivalent).
3: Research on Transplantation of Fetal Tissue
With NIH funding that involves research on the transplantation of human fetal tissue, the applicant certifies that required physician statements and informed consent are available for audit. Research on human fetal tissue requires a Principal Investigator certification regarding the source of the tissue, that it was donated for research and other requirements in set forth in the NIH Grant Policy Statement.
NIH Grant Policy Statement; Federal statute, sections 498A and 498B of the PHS Act, 42 U.S.C. 289g-1 and 298g-2: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not93-235.html; and FDA guidance at: http://www.fda.gov/cber/ltr/fetal113000.htm.
Human fetal tissue is defined as tissue or cells obtained from a dead human embryo or fetus after a spontaneous or induced abortion or stillbirth. This definition does not include established human fetal cell lines. Research involving the transplantation of human fetal tissue must be conducted in accordance with applicable State and local laws as well as the following NIH guidance. In addition, FDA has jurisdiction over fetal cells and tissues intended for use in humans. Investigators need to contact FDA to determine whether any planned or ongoing clinical research involving fetal cells and tissues would require submission of an IND application.
1: Direct Cost Expenditures
Campus officials who submit requests for reimbursement of direct costs incurred on Federally-funded projects must certify that "to the best of my knowledge and belief this report is correct and complete and that all outlays and unliquidated obligations are for the purposes set forth in the award documents."
OMB Circular A-21, Sections D. Direct Costs, J. General Provisions for Selected Items of Cost, and K.1., direct cost certification; SF-269
(a) Institute controls that prevent unallowable costs, as identified by object code, from being charged to Federal awards.
(b) Complete the annual financial closing step that requires identification of unallowable expenditures not identifiable by object code, and institute controls that prevent such costs from being charged to Federal awards.
(c) Conduct random sample testing of direct charges to determine whether only allowable costs, as identified by description of the charge, have been charged to extramural funds sources, and whether expenses have been recorded accurately.
(d) Give guidance to Principal Investigators, in an investigator handbook or similar document, on what constitutes allowable and appropriate charges to extramural fund sources, and information concerning the PI's responsibility to charge or approve only allowable and appropriate costs, with particular attention to salaries of departmental administrative and clerical staff, office supplies and postage, telephone charges, and membership costs (see C&G Memo 94-5, Operating Guidance on OMB Circular A-21 Revision Affecting Departmental Direct Charging of Designated Categories of Expense, dated March 1, 1995).
(e) Implement any University-accepted auditor recommendations in this area.
2: Indirect Cost Expenditures
A University official must sign the following certificate in conjunction with the submission of any Federal indirect cost proposal:
This is to certify that to the best of my knowledge and belief:
(1) I have reviewed the indirect cost proposal submitted herewith;
(2) All costs included in this proposal [identify date] to establish billing or final indirect costs rate for [identify period covered by rate] are allowable in accordance with the requirements of the Federal agreement(s) to which they apply and with the cost principles applicable to those agreements;
(3) This proposal does not include any costs which are unallowable under applicable cost principles such as (without limitation): advertising and public relations costs, contributions and donations, entertainment costs, fines and penalties, lobbying costs, and defense of fraud proceedings; and
(4) All costs included in this proposal are properly allocable to Federal agreements on the basis of a beneficial or causal relationship between the expenses incurred and the agreements to which they are allocated in accordance with applicable requirements.
I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.
OMB Circular A-21, K.2.b., Certificate of F&A Costs
The University official who makes this certification is the Associate Vice President--Business and Finance. Such certifications are, and have been, predicated upon similar certifications from campus officials. Campuses should continue to follow those procedures that have in the past given assurance that the certification may be made.
3: Cash Disbursements
Campus officials submitting Federal cash transactions reports (SF-272) must certify that "to the best of my knowledge and belief this report is true in all respects and that all disbursements have been made for the purpose and conditions of the grant or agreement."
Follow the same procedures as for Item 1, Direct Cost Expenditures, in this section.
4: Proposal Budgets - Certification of Cost or Pricing Data
In some proposals for Federal contracts over $650,000, the authorized official signing for the University must certify that the budget information is accurate, complete, and current as of the date of submission.
When this certification is required, the Contract and Grant office should confirm with the originating department or unit: (a) that the cost estimates in the proposal conform with established campus guidelines (including guidelines for estimating costs of salaries, benefits, travel, and subcontracts); and (b) that the documentation of costs submitted to the government is accurate, complete, and current. When the University must submit the certification as the prime contractor, then similar certifications must be obtained from subcontractors when the amount of the proposed subcontract will exceed $650,000. For additional information see C&G Memo 76-19 (2/4/76), DHEW Audit Agency Finding on Supporting Documentation for Proposal Budgets.
[Return to Table of Contents]