Fraud reimbursement requests may lead to institutional funding deduction: MOE

The China Post news staff

If any cases of educators profiting from inflating research funding requests were to reoccur in the future, the universities that supervise the educators will face severe funding deductions, the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced yesterday. Meanwhile, Taiwan’s top universities said they would respect judiciary investigations and reflect on their management policies.

A total of 22 professors and 26 research assistants from National Taiwan University (台灣大學), National Chengchi University (政治大學), and National Taiwan Normal University (台灣師範大學) were summoned by the Taipei District Prosecutors Office on Monday over suspicions they forged receipts to profit from inflated research funding.

Ho Cho-fei (何卓飛), head of the MOE’s Department of Higher Education, pointed out yesterday that the case the Taipei Prosecutors Office was working on was not a recent development, and had originated two years ago.

A similar case of professors profiting from research funding took place in National Cheng Kung University (成功大學) in March of 2010. Because of the case, a between NT$100 to NT$200 million of the university’s funding from the MOE was deducted, Ho said, warning education institutes to closely monitor their educators lest serious funding deductions be applied to the dysfunctional institutes.

Beginning in 2011, professors are required to sign “self-monitoring checklists” when applying for research funding. Signing the form indicates taking responsibility over one’s conduct, so any future case of falsely reporting and profiting from research funding indicate management negligence on the universities’ part, Ho said, guaranteeing that the punishment of such negligence would be reflected by deductions in the institutes’ overall funding.

The universities in question yesterday expressed respect for the judiciary investigation. While National Taiwan Normal University said it always reminded its faculty to request for research funding and reimbursement according to legal accounting processes, National Chengchi University promised to hold evaluation meetings on their faculty, and National Taiwan University said it would reflect on improvement strategies on its faculty management systems.

According to the MOE’s funding principles, administrative management fees and utility fees cannot be reimbursed, and nor can souvenirs, presents, or advertising expenses. Presents for international guests, however, are exempted from the limitations.