Would you hire someone found to have faked data on federal grant applications as a “grant services consultant?”
You may have been without knowing it, if you had gone to Washington, D.C.-based Strategic Health Care for help with your grants. There, you would have found Michael Miller — page removed today, more on that in a moment — whose bio described him as an “internationally known neuroscientist.”
He has more than 30 years of experience in obtaining federal support for his research and that of collaborators. This includes individual grants (R01′s and R03′s) and fellowships for himself and pre- and post-doctoral trainees from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), merit reviews and research career awards from the Department of Veterans Affairs, and support from private foundations. In addition, Dr. Miller successfully orchestrated and competed for a $9 million NIH center (P50) grant that coordinated research at five different institutions.
What Miller’s bio failed to mention was that in addition to successfully orchestrating and competing for that P50 grant, he was also found by the Office of Research Integrity to have falsified or fabricated data in the grant application. He did the same thing in three other NIH grants. His Strategic Health Care bio listed a few NIH grants — NIAAA, Experimental fetal alcohol syndrome: cerebral cortex (R01); and NIDR, Plasticity in the trigeminal/somatosensory system Program Project (P01) — although we haven’t confirmed whether either of of them was referenced by the ORI.
We contacted the firm’s senior partner earlier this week to ask about the circumstances of Miller’s employment. Today, we learned that Miller is no longer working for the firm:
We retained Mr. Miller’s services through a contract prior to the imposition of sanctions against him. So, our review of his background and credentials did not reveal the pending action against him. However, he failed to disclose this information to our firm. His last project for us was completed shortly after sanctions were imposed. While our review of this issue continues, we have removed Mr. Miller from our company website and we will not utilize his services. We take these matters very seriously and appreciate you bringing them to our attention.
We’ve been following Miller’s case since we came across one of his two retractions early last year, and you can read all of our coverage here.
Miller, who neither admitted nor denied committing research misconduct, had a one-year exclusion from “contracting or subcontracting with any agency of the United States Government and from eligibility or involvement in nonprocurement programs of the United States Government” beginning on February 6, 2012. It’s not clear whether consulting on grants would violate that exclusion, but it’s now been more than a year in any case.