Fedwire Briefs

Group calls for more IT funding

Biomedical researchers are starving for computing resources, and the National Institutes of Health should spend more money on computer hardware, software, training and computer science research to support them, an NIH advisory group said last week.

A report by the Working Group on Biomedical Computing warns that "if NIH does not act, change could take another five, 10 or 20 years." The report does not recommend any specific amount of funding but suggests doling out grants to universities and other research institutions, as NIH spends most of its budget now. One of the group's proposals is for NIH to fund five to 20 National Programs of Excellence at $1.5 million to $8 million each. The programs would enable scientists to develop better software and would increase collaboration between biologists and computer scientists.

The report also suggests that NIH provide more support to the National Science Foundation's supercomputing centers.

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GEIA asks for audit relief

The Government Electronics and Information Technology Association (GEIA) last week filed a petition asking the Office of Federal Procurement Policy to stop the General Services Administration from conducting post-award audits.

GSA, through price-adjustment clauses in its multiple-award schedule program, can examine a contractor's documents for up to three years after a contract is awarded to check for overbilling and other billing errors. GSA can ask vendors to reduce the contract price if the contractor failed to provide accurate information when the contract was negotiated.

But GEIA argues that the audits and price adjustments conflict with the Federal Acquisition Regulation and the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act, both of which require consistency with commercial business practices on commercial-item contracts. The clauses impose enormous business risks and require vendors to maintain a huge amount of information, said James Serafin, director of marketing and government relations for GEIA.

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Katzen nominated for OMB deputy

Sally Katzen, former administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, has been nominated to become deputy director of management at the Office of Management and Budget.

Katzen has served as deputy director of the National Economic Council at the White House since early last year.

Deidre Lee is acting deputy director of management in addition to her job as administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy.

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