Grant fraud charges brought against a researcher at Pennsylvania State University are prompting some observers to call for stricter regulations to prevent investigators from accepting duplicate funding for the same research. In January, electrical engineer Craig Grimes pled guilty to charges that he accepted grants from both the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy for the same study investigating conversion of carbon dioxide into hydrocarbons by solar energy, reports Nature.
Though Grimes had received funding from the NSF in 2009, he also applied for an Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) grant from the DOE, maintaining that he was without other funding sources. Grimes is not the only researcher accused of grant application misconduct. In 2010, electrical engineer Guifang Li of the University of Central Florida in Orlando was barred from applying for NSF funds for two years after the NSF and US Air Force found duplicate text in separate applications he'd submitted to win grants for the same research.
Some US lawmakers see these missteps as evidence that more care needs to be taken to spot plagiarism or duplicate grant applications long before funds are awarded.