Colleges Cite Burden of U.S. Conflict of Interest Rules

August 18, 2010

New regulations proposed by the National Institutes of Health in May to restrict conflicts of interest in biomedical research sponsored by the agency would significantly increase universities' administrative burden and their costs of complying with federal research rules, four higher education groups argued in jointly submitted comments Tuesday. In their formal response to the proposed regulations, the groups -- the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Association of American Universities, the American Council on Education, and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities -- recommended that the NIH alter several provisions that they argued would require excessive, unnecessary reporting. They also argued that to help institutions meet the costs of the rules, which will require them to "add personnel and expand their infrastructure to meet [their] unfunded federal mandates," the government should provide direct "implementation" grants and increase the rates at which institutions are reimbursed for the indirect costs of research awards.

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