Management of a National Science Foundation Office of Energy Research and Development Policy Grant to the George Washington University:

Questions, Answers, and Recommendations

HRD-77-38: Published: Jan 25, 1977. Publicly Released: Jan 25, 1977.

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The National Science Foundation's (NSF) Office of Energy R and D Policy awarded a 1974 grant to George Washington University for energy policy research. The initial grant to the unsolicited proposal and a 12-month renewal were awarded for a series of discussion papers on Federal gas and oil policies and consultation.

Evaluation of the research proposal was not done by qualified personnel, or under established guidelines. Some of the reviewing personnel had a prior employment relationship with the principal investigator (Dr. William A. Johnson). Additional outside funding came from two interest groups of oil marketing companies. The broad grant objective of preparing the papers and maintaining contact with the NSF were met, but their quality or utility were not determined.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: NSF should issue a policy directive on how outside funding should be considered in a grant award decision to guard against potential conflicts of interest. It should establish formal policy for evaluating research, including peer reviews of proposals, and timely postevaluation; make its research available through the National Technical Information Service; formally evaluate discussion papers; determine the need for formal evaluation of other recent policy research; require a statement of Foundation support and a disclaimer on its publications; and disclose all funding sources of NSF supported research. Grantees should get formal approval for commercial publication of research and the Foundation should fix the disposition of moneys from the sale of publications.

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