Decision Not To Fund Study of a Dyslexic Brain

B-193947: Published: Mar 6, 1979. Publicly Released: Mar 6, 1979.

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In response to a letter regarding the decision of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development not to fund a doctor's unsolicited proposal for the study of an individual diagnosed as having dyslexia, the contracting officer informed the doctor that his proposal had not been selected for funding because the Institute was concerned that the data gathered might be relevant to only one patient, rather than to dyslexia in general. The doctor considered the decision both unfair and arbitrary. Upon review of these comments, GAO determined that no evidence existed that the contracting officer, the only official authorized to request, accept, or award contracts, indicating that an award would be made for the study. The only question raised was one pertaining to the fact that the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) allowed more than a year to elapse between informally requesting the proposal and notifying the doctor that it would not be funded. GAO planned to advise the Secretary of HEW of their views that these actions were not consistent with the policy of encouraging unsolicited proposals.

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