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NFS Suspension of Grants for the University of Puerto Rico System

NFS Suspension of Grants for the University of Puerto Rico System

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Published by: Dania Warhol on Mar 12, 2013
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NFS Suspension of Grants for the University of Puerto Rico System There is a situation affecting National Science Foundation

(NSF) grants awarded to the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), and eligibility of UPR to compete for future awards. Grants for active projects and eligibility to compete for future grants are at risk. Two years ago the NSF made a routine site visit to UPR to evaluate and inspect financial control measures in place at UPR. The NSF team found significant shortcomings and as result a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) was prepared by UPR and submitted to the NSF. The NSF accepted this Corrective Action Plan (CAP) on February 3, 2011, and has been periodically monitoring its implementation. On April 23, 2012, the NSF determined that UPR failed to make the agreed upon corrections detailed in the CAP. Because of inadequate grant time and effort reporting systems put in place at UPR, NSF decided to indefinitely suspend all awards and grants to Central Administration and the Mayagüez Campus (UPRM). The NSF gave the UPR Administration a period of 60 days from the date of this notification—which lapsed on June 22, 2012—to prove that implementation of the CAP was on schedule. NSF stated if it did not receive satisfactory proof of CAP implementation by the deadline, it would move to a full termination of all grants. Dr. Muñoz subsequently requested an extension, which the NSF granted on June 21, 2012. The NSF stated at the time of the extension that it would give UPR an additional opportunity to demonstrate its implementation of a compliant time and effort system for the fall 2012 academic period. The NSF advises UPR it must respond to the following deficiencies found in the documentation previously submitted:  Inability to determine if institutional base salaries (IBS) were established before the new systems were put in place; and Existence of significant timing inconsistencies between the execution of effort and the billing submitted to the NSF.

 These financial accounting standards NSF requires be adopted by all grantees are derived from OMB Circular A-21: Cost Principles for Educational Institutions of May 24, 2004. Provided the documentation and explanations are found to satisfy all outstanding issues, the NSF will conduct a site visit in early 2013 to complete the process and return UPR to the normal grant status. If issues remain unresolved, then the NSF will suspend the ability of UPR to compete for future grants and also stop payment on grant projects in progress. There are currently 72 NSF-funded projects in progress across the UPR system amounting to a total value of $100.7 million in NSF grants. Seven of these projects valued at $16.8 million are being administered by Central Administration; 25 others valued at $13.4 million are being administered by UPRM. There is 1

a combined total of 32 grants valued at $30.2 million that could be lost if UPR does not satisfactorily respond to NSF requests for information. A table detailing all active NSF grants within the UPR system that I prepared is attached. The NSF was established by Congress in 1950 as an independent federal agency. Its purpose is to increase the Nation’s base of scientific and engineering knowledge and strengthen its ability to conduct research in all areas of science and engineering; to develop and help implement science and engineering education programs that can better prepare the Nation for meeting the challenges of the future; and to promote international cooperation through science and engineering. The UPR system represents about 78% of all NSF grant awards to eligible institutions in Puerto Rico. The other private universities have sponsored research projects that have been funded with NSF grants.

NSF Grant Profile for UPR System
Campus UPR - Río Piedras UPR - Central Administration UPR - Mayagüez UPR - Medical Sciences UPR - Humacao UPR - Cayey TOTALS Number of grants 31 7 25 6 2 1 72 Expiring Total Amount 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 $60,819,374 6 14 2 4 4 1 $16,815,285 2 2 2 1 $13,432,240 5 16 3 1 $4,677,223 1 2 1 1 1 $4,677,223 2 $296,635 1 $100,717,980 14 34 10 6 6 2


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