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Conditions to Be Removed

The US National Institutes of Health is removing some of the conditions it placed on Duke University in 2018 following high-profile instances of research misconduct there, Retraction Watch reports.

Beginning in March 2018, the agency required Duke researchers it funded to receive prior approval before making any changes to new or existing grants and for those seeking a grant of $250,000 or less to provide a detailed budget justifying the cost, as Retraction Watch reported at the time. This move came after allegations of misconduct were levied against former Duke researchers Anil Potti and Erin Potts-Kant.

Potti, a colleague, and the university were sued in 2011 by patients or their family members, who alleged that a clinical trial they participated in was based on questionable research, a suit that ended in a settlement in 2015. Potti resigned from Duke in 2010 after questions about his research arose, and Retraction Watch noted in 2015 that the Office of Research Integrity found that he had committed research misconduct

Potts-Kant, meanwhile, was arrested on embezzlement charges in 2013, and in 2016, a whistleblower brought a suit that accused her of using fraudulent data in projects involving about 60 grants. Earlier this year, Duke agreed to pay a $112.5 million settlement to the federal government in that case, and Potts-Kant earlier this month agreed to a lifetime ban from receiving federal funding.

In a new memo, Lawrence Carin, the vice president for research at Duke, says NIH plans "to restore Duke's Expanded Authority and [lift] the special award conditions imposed" so long as Duke completes its outstanding commitments under the plan and remains focused on research integrity, as Retraction Watch reports.