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OIG Audit Targets Include Compliance With NSF Harassment Requirements

While it doesn’t have the cachet of a New York Times bestseller, research compliance officials, auditors and others involved in federal pre- and post-award oversight know that the annual fiscal year (FY) work plan issued by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Office of Inspector General (OIG) is required reading.

The FY 2022 work plan, issued Nov. 15, is no exception.[1] Like others, it signals where extra diligence might be required by awardee institutions. Applicable to the FY that began Oct. 1, the plan includes some noteworthy new initiatives.

Although OIG makes clear that discretionary projects are subject to change based on “higher priority issues that may arise or to respond to requests from Congress or other stakeholders,” they are still worthy of review. As is typical, the work plan provides more detail about the topic of the audits than how OIG will undertake them.

For example, according to the work plan, OIG expects to audit “NSF’s harassment policies and its oversight over institutions.” OIG also “may conduct additional audit work, such as testing compliance at selected awardees.” The plan provides no other details about these audits but explains at length NSF’s harassment-related requirements.

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