Skip to main content

Technical Reports Reminder

As a preface to this post, we want you, our valued Boise State investigators, to know that we recognize you have many competing obligations and must manage various administrative burdens to complete your work. It’s our ongoing mission to reduce these barriers and make research and creative activities as efficient as possible for you. As you read below, please know we appreciate you and see your efforts to compliantly perform your sponsored projects. Thank you.

Recently, there was an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education titled “One Scientist Neglected His Grant Reports. Now U.S. Agencies Are Withholding Grants for an Entire University.” As the title implies, the National Institutes of Health, Office of Naval Research, and U.S. Army decided to withhold all awards to University of California San Diego (UCSD) because one investigator failed to submit final technical reports for two awards. As described in the article, UCSD wrote the following message to its research and creative activity community:

“If you are a PI receiving a new or continuing award from one of these agencies you will receive a notice that the award will be delayed.”

The government’s actions here may seem harsh, but from its perspective, technical reports are the primary deliverable documenting the work performed, people involved, project accomplishments, resulting inventions and creative works, and publications and other dissemination activities, etc. In essence, technical reports demonstrate the government’s return on investment, and they are useful when communicating with other stakeholders, including senior agency leaders and Congress during the annual budget cycle.

Due to our size differences, it may seem unlikely that Boise State would be targeted like UCSD. The reality is, however, that federal sponsors and external auditors are monitoring compliance for all recipients. Boise State has had instances where federal sponsors have delayed issuing new awards and continuation funding due to late technical reports, and a few years ago, we also received a “Single Audit” finding for the same reason. The latter required Boise State to develop a management plan clearly outlining how we’d ensure that technical reports are submitted in a timely manner going forward. In case you haven’t seen it before or it’s been a while since you last read it, please take a few minutes to review the resulting technical reporting guidance at:

If you happen to receive a late technical report notice from an Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) staff member, please give them a little extra grace and remember that OSP applies this guidance uniformly to ensure compliance and avoid damages to investigators’ and Boise State’s reputations. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at