September 30, 2013
The Department of Energy's Energy Innovation Hubs
The Department's Energy Innovation Hubs (Hubs) initiative addresses research challenges with potentially high impact on our national energy security that have proved the most resistant to solution by conventional research and development management structures.
We found that the Hubs initiative was generally satisfying the specific Federal, Department and programmatic requirements that we evaluated during our review. Although our review did not identify material concerns regarding Hub operations, we identified several areas warranting management attention by the Department. Specifically, the Department had not effectively managed conference and meeting costs and had not always ensured conflict of interest certifications were obtained and/or retained for all external merit reviewers and Federal employees participating in the Hub selection process.
Excessive conference and meeting costs occurred because the Department had not provided sufficient oversight over these costs. The missing conflict of interest certifications were due to poor recordkeeping practices. Management concurred with our recommendations and indicated that it had completed or initiated corrective actions designed to address our concerns. Management's reported corrective actions were responsive to our recommendations.
Topic: Management & Administration