Plagiarism in a Grant Proposal


A scenario about a researcher who figures out that a different research group in her lab plagiarized her work for a now approved grant proposal.


You are making steady progress on the research for the doctorate working in Large Lab and have written a report for Large Lab on some of that experimental work. Another group in Large Lab has been desperate for grant support to allow another student to finish up a master's degree. After one of their proposals is funded, you note that what they proposed to do is exactly what you already did and described in your report for Large Lab.

  • What can or should you do?
  • What is the relative seriousness of plagiarism in a proposal and plagiarism in a publication?
  • How, if at all, might some of the damage be remedied?

Caroline Whitbeck introduced methods and modules for discussing numerous issues in responsible conduct of research at a Sigma Xi Forum in 2000. Partial funding for the development of this material came from an NIH grant.

You can find the entire sequence on the OEC at Scenarios for Ethics Modules in the Responsible Conduct of Research. Some information in these historical modules may be out-of-date; for instance, there may be a new edition of the professional society's code that is referred to in an item. If you have suggestions for updates, please contact the OEC.

Caroline Whitbeck. . Plagiarism in a Grant Proposal. Online Ethics Center. DOI: