ACFE Research Institute

The ACFE Research Institute (ARI) is a multidisciplinary research center dedicated to research and education on 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 public
  • Serves as a catalyst for the exchange of ideas about fraud prevention, deterrence and detection

The ARI’s goal is to award grants to researchers who will improve the ability of businesses and government to combat fraud, and to educate the public on effective methods for recognizing and deterring it. See a list of past ACFE Research Institute studies.  

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

Questions regarding research grants should be directed to ARI Director of Research Kip Holderness at Kip.Holderness@mail.wvu.edu

2023 Summer Meeting

The 2023 ARI Summer Meeting will be held on Thursday, June 15, 2023. Agenda and further details to follow.

Guidelines for Grant Proposals

Proposals for 2023 consideration will be accepted beginning January 1, 2023. The deadline for submissions is April 1, 2023. Submit grant proposals to Kip Holderness at Kip.Holderness@mail.wvu.edu. Follow the guidelines below to submit a proposal:

  • Include a completed, one-page Project Proposal Form.
  • Proposals should request either monetary support or data access, not both.
  • For requests for monetary support, the proposal must include a budget with supporting calculations that reflect the total amount requested (Note: the ARI does not allow for F&A or other overhead costs in monetary grants).
  • 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)

Proposal Review and Selection

  • Each research proposal will undergo a “desk review.” Researchers whose research proposals are selected for additional consideration must attend an ARI meeting and present their research proposals.
  • The ARI selection committee will make the final determination regarding approval of grant awards. 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. 
  • Grant recipients will provide a brief practitioner-focused abstract explaining their research and findings to be posted on the ARI website.
  • 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: 

  • The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) litigation release database, including approximately 1,100 financial statement frauds through 2015. 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, 2014, 2016 and 2018 Reports to the Nations. The database will be delivered in Microsoft Access format. The variable descriptions are closely tied to the ACFE respondent survey questions. View a more detailed description of the database.

The following terms apply to the use of the ARI databases:

  • 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 the ACFE’s 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 one-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. After the one-year anniversary from the inception of the project, the additional data shall, at the ARI’s discretion, be included in the ARI database, and the ARI may provide the expanded dataset to other researchers or research teams.