• ACFE Research Institute

    The ACFE Research Institute (ARI) is a multidisciplinary research center that is dedicated to research and education regarding the prevention of fraud, corruption and other white-collar crime. The ARI works with academics and industry experts worldwide to generate research projects that explore the latest fraud trends and developments affecting individuals, businesses and governments.

    In support of its mission, the ARI:

    • Provides funding and data access to support anti-fraud research studies
    • Functions as a central repository of fraud-related knowledge
    • Disseminates key anti-fraud research findings to its members and the general public
    • Serves as a catalyst for the exchange of ideas about fraud prevention, deterrence, and detection

    Research Grants

    The ARI provides two types of grants to support anti-fraud research studies:

    • Monetary support (up to $15,000)
    • Data access to one of two ARI databases

    When evaluating research grant proposals, the ARI’s goal is to award grants to research that will help to improve the ability of businesses and government to combat fraud and to educate the public on effective methods for recognizing and deterring it. See list of past ACFE Research Institute studies.

    Questions regarding research grants should be directed to the ARI Director of Research Dick Riley at richard.riley@mail.wvu.edu.

    Guidelines for Grant Proposals

    • All grant proposals must include a completed Project Proposal Form.
    • The Project Proposal Form is limited to one page.
    • Generally, proposals should only request either monetary support or data access, not both.
    • For requests for monetary support, the proposal must include a budget with sufficient supporting calculations and reflect the total amount requested.
    • The Project Proposal Form must be accompanied by a Research Proposal Overview (RPO) that is limited to a maximum of five pages in length (11-point font). The RPO must address the following items (one page for each item):
      1. The research question
      2. A brief research literature review for the topic under consideration
      3. The research methodology
      4. Why the research question is important to practicing professionals and aligns with the goals of the ARI
      5. An outline explaining how the ARI database will be utilized and, where applicable, what data will be collected and added to the database (FOR DATA ACCESS PROPOSALS ONLY)
    • Each research proposal will undergo a "desk review." Some of those proposals will be selected for further consideration. Researchers whose research proposal is selected for additional consideration must attend an ARI meeting and present their research proposal.
    • The ARI selection committee will make the final determination regarding which proposals will be approved for grants. The ARI makes no commitment to support any projects.
    • Grant recipients are expected to make substantial progress on their project before the next ARI annual meeting and present a progress report at each ARI meeting until the project is completed, as well as to present the results of their study upon completion.
    • Research reports supported by an ARI grant will be listed on the ARI website. Grant recipients will provide a brief practitioner-focused abstract explaining their research and findings.
    • Grant recipients whose research findings are published or publicly presented must acknowledge ARI support. 

    Information for Data Access Requests

    • The ARI offers researchers limited access to two databases:
      • SEC litigation release database including 882 individual financial statement frauds from 1985 to 2009. Each observation is a public company and the dataset includes extensive financial statement data. View a more detailed description of the database.
      • Data observations behind the ACFE's 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014 Reports to the Nations. The database will be received in Microsoft Access format. The variable descriptions are closely tied to the ACFE respondent survey questions. View a more detailed description of the database.
    • Researchers awarded access to an ARI database are limited in using that database solely for the project included in the research proposal. Researchers agree to limit their research of the database to the proposed idea. Additional examinations, extensions or any investigation not specifically included in the research proposal must be included in a subsequent ARI proposal.
    • Researchers awarded access to an ARI database agree that they will not share the database with anyone not explicitly included on the research proposal.
    • Researchers awarded access to the ARI database containing data from ACFE Reports to the Nations will be required to execute a nondisclosure agreement prior to receipt of data.
    • If a researcher in any way adds to an ARI database, at the 1 year anniversary from the inception of the research effort, the researcher(s) agrees to provide the ARI with any additional observations and/or data items, as well as the supporting documentation (properly organized and documented), so that the ARI can verify the accuracy of the additional data. It is also then understood that after the 1-year anniversary from the inception of the project, that the additional data shall, at the ARI’s discretion, be included in the ARI database and ARI may provide the expanded dataset to other researchers / research teams.