Duke University, a university located in Durham, North Carolina, agreed to pay $112.5 million in research grants back to the federal government. The university employed an individual who was found to have falsified research on federal grants.
The Department of Justice made the announcement and detailed how the university received research grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) between 2006 and 2018, a period of twelve years. The university received grants each year, but the university administratorsknew that the research was falsified.
The university admitted fault and guilt, having submitted thirty grants with “falsified or fabricated data or statements.”
The Department of Justice credited former Duke lab analyst-turned-whistleblower Joseph Thomas. He originally sued the university over the claims about research grant fraud under the Fair Claims Act, which allows whistleblowers to file lawsuits on behalf of the government. The Department of Justice then took on the case.
This news comes on the heels of recent satirical research articles being published as real articles in academic journals, which have embarrassed several academic journals for failing to vet these article submissions.