ARRA Reporting Permanent?

Oh joy. Joe Biden’s office likes the ARRA transparency so much that he wants to make the quarterly reporting permanent:

“We’ve never followed the dollars the way we are now and this should be the start of a new way of doing business rather than the implementation of a single program.”

I’m sure he’d find some interesting spending practices if he followed every dollar of every NIH grant … and of course not spending every dollar the way you said you would (or were advised to) can be a good thing, as in the case of Nobel laureate Mario Capecchi. Imagine a world without transgenics.

By way of reminder, NIAID has a nice collection of information and links on the what, why, and how-to of ARRA reporting. Have fun.



  1. BB said

    Can you hear my groan all the way to BICO?
    OTOH, it might prevent the sort of stuff that goes on here at Ethically Challenged U.
    Hmm, something to mull about over a drink.

  2. writedit said

    With all those padded NIH grant budgets, no wonder Joe is worried about wasteful spending … just imagine if Defense and Transportation contractors had to work as hard as NIH applicants for their awards and make them stretch as far.

  3. D said

    I love the possibly related post (automatically generated). It concerns which sucks the most. I can’t see any other connection to this post.

  4. While I don’t have an opinion on this matter as I have yet to need to submit a report to the NIH, I *am* curious about the “possibly related posts” that the wordpress robot automatically generates:

    Samsung’s Furot II robovac wants a piece of your Roomba

    erm … what’s that ‘big sucking sound’?

    • writedit said

      Yes, I think we’re all a bit bemused by this (see D above). Like your interpretation though …

  5. As I understand it, the ARRA reporting has nothing to with “following dollars” in any sense that NIH awardees would be concerned with, and is just about “how many people did you hire?” and “how did you stimulate the economy?”


    • D said

      Currently that is true. But, imagine a Senator deciding that it is important to know how much gov’t money is spent on say….nondomestic stuff. And voting to add a line to the ARRA reports to track the money spent on foreign goods. And then another deciding it is important to know how “green” the equipment purchases that are made with gov’t $ are. Or,….you get the point.

      Currently the reports are not that bad. It is the future possibilities that scare me. Especially since the NIH budget is small potatoes (= to 10, F22 fighters) compared to defense spending. I’d hate to get lumped in with the war boys.

      • DrugMonkey said

        NIH budget is $30.5B and I see F22 estimates at $365M per copy so your estimate is a little off ..

      • D said

        Opps. My mistake. I guess it isn’t such a bad deal after all. 😉

      • writedit said

        Gee, DM, you haven’t been shopping at beauty supply shops lately, have you?

  6. Seriously if they start some type of green initiative into the whole NIH process that’s it I’m going leave science and learn how to drive the fucking big rig. As a grad student having been through two audits already and dealing with all this regulatory bullshit its hard not to get discouraged.

  7. My institution is making the ARRA reporting process extremely easy for PIs. Our grants administrators fill out the Web form provisionally and e-mail the departmental business offices and PIs a screenshot of the Web form. We e-mail them any corrections–or just the go ahead that it’s fine–and they submit the fucker.

    And the idea that ARRA reporting is somehow going to make it any easier for Congress to demand more detailed financial reporting from PIs is ridiculous. We already submit annual progress reports and there is no less reason for Congress to mandate detailed financial reporting in normal progress reports than in ARRA reports.

  8. writedit said

    The Scientist reports, shockingly, that ARRA reporting is a burden for institutions receiving these funds! They describe them as “hidden costs”, though the NIH made it clear these would be borne by the institution and not covered by direct cost requests.

    • SaG said

      Maybe CPP should have his school contact WashU and Stanford and show them how easy it can be to do these reports.

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