The Government Accountability Office has called on the Office of Management and Budget, the Energy Department, NASA, the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation to explore strategies to standardize budget or procurement requirements.
GAO said Friday it interviewed officials from universities and stakeholder organizations and they pinpointed factors that contribute to the increase in their administrative workload and costs for requirements compliance.
The government watchdog said that opportunities remain in various areas such as variations in agency implementation of requirements, assessment of pre-award requirements to identify those that can be canceled and oversight of high-risk areas where funds could be subject to improper use.
“Further efforts to standardize requirements, postpone pre-award requirements and allow more flexibility for universities could help ensure agencies do not miss opportunities to reduce administrative workload and costs,” GAO added.
“They said that these factors add to universities’ workload and costs in various ways, such as by causing universities to invest in new electronic systems or in the hiring or training of staff,” GAO said.