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Policy

Success Rate Of Office Of Science Grants May Drop

by Susan R. Morrissey
February 17, 2014 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 92, ISSUE 7

Over the next three to five years, the success rates of grants and cooperative agreements awarded by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science are expected to fall because of a funding policy change imposed by Congress. That is the message of a recent memo from Patricia M. Dehmer, acting director of the Office of Science. A requirement in the omnibus budget law passed last month means the office must now account for the total award in the year that award is made instead of spreading the outlays over the term of the award, which is typically three to five years. Because awards made moving forward will be fully obligated in the year they are awarded while the agency also fulfills its funding obligations to existing awards, the agency will have to reduce the number of new grants it can award as a function of total applications received. Award recipients will still need to comply with all terms and conditions to continue drawing the funds over the awards’ lifetimes. After award accounting is transitioned to the new system, Dehmer says, “success rates should return to historic norms.”

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