Washington: Increasing administrative workload because of excessive regulations are driving the focus of scientists away from their research work and also leading to waste of taxpayers` money, a significant report says.
“Excessive and ineffective requirements take scientists away from the bench unnecessarily and divert taxpayer dollars from research to superfluous grant administration,” said Arthur Bienenstock, chair of the US National Science Board (NSB) task force that examined the issue.
NSB is the policymaking body of the National Science Foundation and advisor to Congress and the US president on science and engineering policy.
For the research, the NSB task force requested thousands of scientists to identify requirements they believe unnecessarily increase their administrative workload.
The responses raised concerns related to financial management, grant proposal preparation, reporting, personnel management, and institutional review boards and animal care and use committees.
"Escalating compliance requirements and inconsistent audit practices directly impact scientists and the time they have to perform research and train students and staff," said Kelvin Droegemeier, NSB vice chairman and a member of the task force.
The report titled `Reducing Investigators` Administrative Workload for Federally Funded Research`, recommended limiting proposal requirements to those essential to evaluate merit; keeping reporting focused on outcomes; and automating payroll certification for effort reporting.
Calling streamlining research regulations, the task force recommended the creation of a permanent high-level, inter-agency, inter-sector committee to help standardise the implementation of new requirements affecting investigators and institutions.
"Streamlining research regulations and making requirements more consistent across federal agencies is in the best interest of scientists and taxpayers," said Bienenstock.