Audits of Sponsored Research: The Post-Award Process

Authored by Adrienne Larmett, Frank Bossle and Kim Ginn

Funding scientific pursuits is not a new phenomenon. However, the evolution of the “funder” is. Until the 20th century, scientists typically were individual inventors who either self funded or were supported by individual patrons. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution and World Wars in the early 20th century, corporations and the federal government recognized the importance of investing in, or sponsoring, research.

Today many scientists and their home institutions or organizations receive the bulk of research support from governmental sources. As such, robust oversight of sponsored research, particularly federally funded research, is essential for maintaining public trust in research results and outcomes, participants, and how funds are expended.

This article gives an overview of the financial post-award process and award management structure, identifies those activities in the post-award process that commonly pose challenges and risks, and presents approaches for internal audit support.

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