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Simply amazing

You could knock me down with a feather.  From the VA info email list I'm on:
VA Continues Gulf War Research, Cancels Contract with UTSW Medical Center

WASHINGTON (Aug. 26, 2009) – Citing persistent noncompliance and numerous performance deficiencies, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will not exercise the third year of a five-year, $75 million contract with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UTSWMC) to perform research into Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses (GWVI).

“Research into the illnesses suffered by Gulf War Veterans remains a priority for VA,” said Dr. Gerald M. Cross, VA’s Acting Under Secretary for Health. “As part of our commitment to this vital effort, we must make certain that our resources are used to support effective and productive research.”

VA listed several reasons for not exercising the contract option, including UTSWMC’s persistent and continuing noncompliance with contract terms and conditions and detailed documentation by the contracting officer of performance deficiencies. VA also noted that its Office of Inspector General documented severe performance deficiencies in a July 15 report and recommended that no further task orders be issued under the contract.

VA will meet with UTSWMC contract staff on today to provide guidance for completing work in progress and submitting adequate documentation to allow payment. UTSWMC will be allowed to fulfill task orders already in progress if it corrects all performance deficiencies. .

The decision not to continue the contract means VA’s research program will be able to redirect funds to support additional research into GWVI. In 2010, that research will include a genomic study to identify susceptibility factors and markers of GWVI; studies of similarities and differences with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia; studies of new diagnostic tests; identification of sub-populations of ill Gulf War Veterans; and studies of potential new treatments.

The redirected funding for these new VA research initiatives will be in addition to the substantial support VA already provides for GWVI research--$7 million in 2008 and $4.8 million so far in 2009.

Simply amazing. The gov't actually cancelling a contract - with a university no less - for non-performance.

I've managed gov't contracts with universities and companies in the modeling and simulation world (nothing with UTSW, to make that clear) that were worth hundreds of thousands to millions - with exactly the same kinds of problems, but couldn't find anyone with the courage to cancel for non-performance.

Some universities are just notorious for taking your money and doing what they want with it, as if it was an entitlement, vice a contract for service. Deliverables are just an interesting appendix to the contract that aren't important if the faculty involved doesn't think they're important.  And contract administration rules?  Please.  That's for the common people, not the Professoriate.

Heh. I learned how to write deliverables that led to publishable data - that kept the Prof's nose to the grindstone and feet to the fire.

Assuming the accuracy of the press release, good on VA.


 It's nice to know that some Inspector Generals' advice is actually taken!
YES!!!  Accountability...dare we hope?
Well that's interesting.  My time in uni showed all sorts of interesting accounting and research redirection games.