Deciding when to pull a grant for any reason is one of the most difficult tasks any funding agency faces. It is not a decision that is taken lightly, and is usually a last resort. But it happens. Scientists who falsify data or misuse funds or even fail to show satisfactory progress do, from time to time, lose their funding.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) admits to the occasional termination of basic research grants, emphasizing the rarity of such a drastic measure. But how rare is rare? I wanted numbers. To my surprise, they don't seem to exist. I started with the obvious -- an email to a press officer with a simple question: How many grants had been terminated? The response (attributed to NIH's Office of Extramural Research, OER): "...enforcement actions are taken on a grant-by-grant basis and are not captured centrally in NIH's electronic...
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