Foreign influences on research integrity

Over the past several years, numerous federal investigations have uncovered instances of foreign influence and interference in taxpayer-funded scientific research within the U.S. A small number of scientists have committed serious violations of conflict of interest and disclosure reporting requirements at the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense.

In response, federal funding agencies, universities and research institutions have attempted to address this issue through policy changes, training on research misconduct and extensive collaboration with the FBI and the NIH. Specifically, the NIH is investigating policy breaches by about 189 scientists at 84 institutions.

The ASBMB has been tracking this issue to ensure that the scientific community is engaged with policymakers. We urge federal agencies to coordinate policy changes, offer more guidance to grant-receiving institutions and ensure that international students, foreign nationals and scientists everywhere are protected from being unfairly targeted. See the ASBMB’s full position statement on foreign influences to research integrity.


Protecting American science — and the international collaborators critical to its success

Lawyer and law professor Frank H. Wu discusses the policy landscape as the National Institutes of Health and the Federal Bureau of Investigation crack down on conflicts of interest and intellectual property theft and lawmakers consider legislation to protect American research. Find out about new reporting and disclosure requirements — and unintended consequences, including racial profiling.

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If you have comments or questions for the NIH or other federal funding agencies regarding reporting and disclosure requirements or foreign influences to research integrity, please submit them here.

ASBMB articles
NSF foreign influence probes net nearly two dozen

Meanwhile, feds charge Ohio State researcher with fraud and drop theft charges against Emory professor.

NIH continues to investigate scientists’ foreign ties

The agency has investigated 189 scientists suspected of violating NIH policies and has found a majority of them guilty of failing to disclose foreign affiliations.

Ex-Emory neuroscientist pleads guilty; fired Cleveland Clinic geneticist arrested

Department of Justice continues to pursue scientists who fail to disclose ties to China’s Thousand Talents Program.

Protecting American science and its international collaborators

Lawyer and professor Frank Wu spoke about research integrity, legal cases against scientists and foreign influences on federally funded research.

Lawmakers press FBI and NIH on research-integrity investigations

U.S. Reps. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., and Judy Chu, D-Calif., sent the NIH and FBI letters asking about the agencies’ investigations into scientists with ties to China.

Acting to protect research integrity

The Scientific Research Integrity Act would create barriers to political pressure on federal scientists and the politicization of scientific findings.

Federal agency reports

NIH ACD Working Group on Foreign Influences on Research Integrity

This working group published a report in December 2018 and provided an update to their efforts on June 12, 2020.

Threat to the U.S. Research Enterprise: China’s Talent Recruitment Plans

United States Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations report.