Federal Research:

Guidance for Equipment Acquired Under Grants and Cooperative Agreements

RCED-99-73: Published: Mar 24, 1999. Publicly Released: Apr 1, 1999.

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Victor S. Rezendes
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on: (1) the guidance the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration used to ensure that the recipients of grants and cooperative agreements for scientific research provide management controls over the equipment they acquire with federal funds; and (2) whether four NSF recipients from the Washington, D.C., area had acquired equipment under 14 awards of varying dollar amounts.

GAO noted that: (1) each of the three agencies generally allows the recipients of grants and cooperative agreements to have title to the purchased equipment, but also provides some guidance on how recipients are to account for this equipment; (2) after the grants and cooperative agreements are awarded, these agencies do not maintain records showing which equipment was actually purchased; (3) however, the agencies have some assurance that the equipment was in fact purchased because these organizations have audits to ensure compliance with the award agreements, and these audits, together with the recipients' proposals, identify the equipment that the recipients proposed acquiring; and (4) GAO reviewed the documents showing that the recipients GAO visited had acquired the equipment specified in their proposals, and GAO saw the equipment either being used or awaiting installation.

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