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.
Image: Wikimedia commons
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...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?