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.

Contact us

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
ASBMB raises concerns about proposed visa changes

Trump administration seeks to limit duration of stay and impose other restrictions on foreign scientists and students

Still unclear why university expelled 15 Chinese researchers

The University of North Texas has said only that the decision followed briefings by federal and local law enforcement.

ASBMB joins amicus brief

Society and other nonprofits raise concerns about racial profiling by federal investigators and prosecutors’ attempts to criminalize administrative errors.

NSF foreign influence probes net nearly two dozen

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

U.S. seeks to kick out and ban foreign students

Harvard and MIT sue government to stop rule change targeting F-1 and M-1 visa holders at or heading to institutions offering only online courses this fall because of COVID-19.

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.

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.