DOJ and University of Washington resolve claims researcher falsified grant application

2 mins read

Seattle – The U.S. Department of Justice and the University of Washington have settled allegations that a professor in the College of Engineering falsified documentation provided to the National Science Foundation associated with a grant that UW received from the Foundation.  The University will pay the government $801,756, to resolve allegations under the False Claims Act, which includes restitution and a penalty.

According to settlement documents, between August of 2018 and September 2019, the principal investigator on the grant submitted false documents regarding the grant to the National Science Foundation.  The grant was part of the highly competitive “Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer our Future” program. 

“Academic integrity demands accurate reports to grant funders,” said U.S. Attorney Nicholas Brown.  “This is an expensive, but critical, lesson that researchers must accurately report who worked on a project, as well as the results from their research.”

“The National Science Foundation Office of Inspector General is committed to ensuring the integrity of our grant recipients by holding accountable those who choose to engage in false claims and misrepresentation schemes. We appreciate the efforts of the Department of Justice in pursuing this matter and will continue to vigorously pursue oversight of taxpayer funds devoted to scientific research,” said Inspector General Allison Lerner.

The investigation began with a whistleblower complaint regarding work performed under the grant and the grant application.

Assistant United States Attorneys Ashley Burns and Kayla Stahman handled the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. 

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