University of Washington settles DOJ claims of grant fraud

SEATTLE (AP) — The University of Washington has agreed to pay greater than $800,000 to settle Justice Department allegations {that a} professor submitted false documentation referring to a extremely aggressive grant.

The grant paperwork had been submitted to the National Science Foundation by Mehmet Sarikaya, a professor within the college’s Materials Science and Engineering Department, in keeping with NSF data and the settlement settlement, which was made public by the Seattle U.S. Attorney’s Office on Tuesday.

The paperwork misrepresented the involvement of two researchers who in actuality weren’t concerned within the work, the college stated in an emailed assertion.

That might have made the grant application extra engaging. The college was awarded about $1.4 million for the work, which involved how biology interacts with man-made solids on the molecular stage, in keeping with NSF data.

“The UW takes very seriously the responsibility of stewarding public funding of scientific research,” college spokesman Victor Balta stated in an e mail. “We are grateful this issue was brought to light and pleased to have it resolved.”

Sarikaya didn’t instantly reply to an e mail despatched after business hours Tuesday.

The college declined to say whether or not he had been disciplined in reference to the case. He stays a professor.

The settlement consists of about $400,000 in restitution and $400,000 in penalties.

“Academic integrity demands accurate reports to grant funders,” U.S. Attorney Nicholas Brown stated in a information launch. “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 problem was first raised by a whistleblower who expressed considerations concerning the grant application and work carried out below it.

The grant was issued below the NSF’s “Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer our Future” program.

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