Research security has emerged as a top priority for U.S. institutions receiving sponsored project funds from federal sponsors.

National Security Presidential Memorandum 33 (NSPM-33) on National Security Strategy for United States Government-Supported Research and Development was released in January 2021 with the goal of securing federally funded research and protecting U.S. innovation. NSPM-33 directs funding agencies to require research institutions receiving more than $50 million per year in federal funding to certify that they have established and operate a Research Security Program as a condition of funding. This program, at a minimum, will include four main areas of focus: research security training, cybersecurity, foreign travel security and export control training.

Implementation Guidance for NSPM-33 defines research security as “safeguarding the research enterprise against the misappropriation of research and development to the detriment of national or economic security, related violations of research integrity, and foreign government interference.”


This webpage serves as a resource for guidance regarding foreign influence in research and research security, including sponsor-specific guidance, investigator responsibilities, and steps that Augusta University is taking to develop its Research Security Program. Content will be updated as additional information becomes available.

Town Hall Presentation on Research Security at AU


Foreign Influence in Research

Augusta University seeks to promote principled international collaborations which enable cutting-edge research that no nation can achieve alone, train up minds capable of solving global problems, and strengthen scientific and diplomatic relations.

Federal and state concerns about transfers of federally funded research and other IP from U.S. universities and businesses to foreign entities have escalated in recent years. Such transfers are often not illegal, but the failure to disclose foreign activities can be, especially as federal funders, and particularly the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), are interpreting and supplementing their requirements.

The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and federal sponsors such as the NSF, the NIH, Department of Defense (DoD), and the Department of Energy (DoE) have issued communications with the research community about research security and have expressed concerns regarding foreign influence in research due to:

  1. Failure by some investigators to disclose financial support from other organizations, including foreign governments
  2. Diversion of intellectual property to foreign entities
  3. Sharing of confidential information by peer reviewers with others, including some instances with foreign entities.

If the government can show that a funded researcher failed to disclose foreign activities as part of a grant application, then the government can take (and, increasingly, is taking) legal action against the researcher not because the underlying activity was illegal, but rather because the failure to disclose fully may constitute fraud. This same approach is being used with U.S. universities that receive federal funding. In short, existing, and new disclosure requirements are being interpreted to require more disclosure of foreign activities and research support, and to require universities to have a higher level of awareness about our faculty’s foreign activities than ever before.

Disclosure of Foreign Relationships and Activities & Other Investigator Responsibilities

Transparency in Disclosure

All foreign components of federally funded research should be disclosed during proposals, progress reports, and final technical reports. Investigators with external funding should carefully review the sponsor’s current disclosure requirements and contact the Division of Sponsored Program Administration for assistance or further guidance. In addition, investigators should:

Review and update ‘Current and Pending Support’ information and ‘Other support’ information in pending proposals and active awards per sponsor-specific guidance

Review and update biosketches and ensure all professional appointments and collaborations, both foreign and domestic, paid and unpaid, are disclosed according to sponsor requirements in proposals and reports.

Ensure appropriate disclosure of foreign components for NIH-supported projects.

Faculty and staff should also familiarize themselves with AU’s Individual Conflict of Interest Policy and Outside Activities and Off-Campus Duty policy and be fully transparent in disclosing outside interests and commitments. Please refer to Tools for Researchers for current policies.

The federal government has directed research institutions to exercise extreme caution related to involvement with foreign talent recruitment programs due to the concern they may be used by foreign governments to acquire U.S. government-funded scientific research and valuable intellectual property. Please contact the Director, Research Ethics and Compliance or the Research Security Officer for Restricted Party Screening if you are considering participation in a foreign recruitment or talent program. This proposed activity should also be disclosed to your academic leadership as with any other Outside Activity.

Export Controls

Export controls are federal laws that regulate the distribution of controlled devices, software, and information when such items are designated as “defense articles” or "dual use" commodities. AU adheres to regulations set by the Department of Commerce (Export Administration Regulation - EAR), Department of State (International Traffic in Arms Regulations - ITAR), and the Treasury Department (Office of Foreign Assets Control - OFAC). These regulations apply when there is a transfer of these items overseas and/or to foreign persons within the United States. Export regulations may affect collaborations with international research partners, how research results are disseminated, international travel, and purchase or procurement transactions with restricted countries/individuals. Please contact the Research Security Officer or the Director, Research Ethics and Compliance for export compliance assistance if you plan to:

  • Ship or hand carry research materials, technology, or data outside the country
  • Enter into a research contract or agreement with publication restrictions
  • Enter into a research grant or contract restricted to U.S. citizens
  • Engage with or travel to a sanctioned country
  • Travel outside the U.S. on university business or with AU equipment
  • Ship any item valued at $2500 or more outside the country
  • You suspect a violation of export control laws or regulations has occurred
  • Engage with foreign partners/entities (including sponsoring visiting scholars and researchers).

There are sometimes exclusions to export regulations for “fundamental research.” Fundamental research is basic and applied research…, where the resulting information is ordinarily published and shared broadly within the scientific community. Such research can be distinguished from proprietary research and from industrial development, design, production, and product utilization, the results of which ordinarily are restricted for proprietary reasons or specific national security reasons . . . University research can be considered fundamental to the extent that researchers do not accept restrictions on the publication of scientific and technical information resulting from the research. AU research topics will typically fall within this exclusion, but not always. The FRE does not apply to physical equipment used during fundamental research or to the export of physical equipment or materials. Additionally, a sponsor may provide background technical data that is export controlled for use during fundamental research activities.

If you have any questions or concerns about exports or potential exports, please contact the AU Research Security Officer.  For more information on Export Control Compliance at AU, please refer to the manual in Tools for Researchers

Security of Materials, Data and Confidential Information

Investigators should utilize a Data Use Agreement (DUA), Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) or Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) when sharing or exchanging data or materials.  Note that all agreements must be reviewed and signed by institutional officials with the appropriate signature authority. Accepting controlled information or restrictions under research agreements may require the use of Technology Control Plans (TCP) or heightened cybersecurity. If you accept or anticipate accepting controlled information, contact the Director, Research Ethics and Compliance or the Research Security Officer to request a review and establish a TCP.


AU implements several baseline safeguarding protocols and procedures used to store, transmit, and conduct federally funded R&D. These protocols are designed to protect scientific data from ransomware and other data integrity attack mechanisms. All AU community members have a stake in reducing risks that could impact the university’s financial, reputational, and legal standing. Further information may be requested through AU’s IT department.

Intellectual Property

Investigators should review AU’s Intellectual Property policy and ensure all University IP is appropriately disclosed and protected. Please refer to Tools for Researchers for current policies.

International Travel Policy

Augusta University has established a policy on international travel and is creating travel briefs for researchers traveling outside of the United States. AU’s foreign travel policy can be found in the Tools for Researchers. AU’s Research Security office will maintain records of international travel and export control determinations associated with international travel. Individuals traveling internationally for organizational business, teaching, conference attendance, research purposes, or who receive offers of sponsored travel for research or professional purposes will be required to register their travel with AU. The policy also applies to personal international travel when the individual plans on taking an AU electronic device or accessing AU systems (i.e., via email). Individuals accessing AU networks or taking AU issued electronic devices for business or personal travel will now have a requirement to have a consultation with the Research Security Office and IT prior to travel. As noted in the policy, certain destinations will have different considerations, both in terms of security concerns and actions required of the traveler. More information can be found in the policy, and the Research Security office is available to help.

*Helpful Checklist for International Travel*

International Travel Checklist

Steps to be taken prior to international travel as described in AU’s International Travel Policy and other locations:

If Traveling with AU device such as a laptop, or if you require AU network access (i.e., for checking emails):

  • Information you provided on the InfoED Travel Registry will be shared with IT who will conduct a review of the device and provide feedback.
  • Submit a DUO International Access Request.

If any portion of your travel will be paid by/through AU:

  • Complete a Travel Authorization prior to travel.
  • Supervisor and Executive VP level approval is required for international travel.
  • Review by Division of Sponsored Programs is required if any portion of the travel will be paid with grant funds.

If your travel is related to an outside professional activity:

  • Obtain prior approval from your supervisor for any outside professional activity via an OA-1 form.

If any portion of your travel will be paid/reimbursed by an external entity:

  • Update your conflict-of-interest disclosure to include all travel paid/sponsored by an external entity (possible exceptions include: US federal government and other US Universities).

Insider Threat Awareness

According to the NSPM-33 Implementation Guidance, an Insider Threat is defined as "the potential for an insider to use their authorized access or understanding of an organization to harm that organization. This harm can include malicious, complacent, or unintentional acts that negatively affect the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of the organization, its data, personnel, or facilities."

Specific trainings for Insider Threat Awareness are currently under development.

Contact Us

Jesse White, Research Security Officer

1120 15th Street, CJ-1021 Augusta, GA 30912


Additional Resources

Additional Resources

Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records

Nov. 9, 2021

NSPM-33: Presidential Memorandum on United States Government-Supported Research and Development National Security Policy

Jan. 19, 2021

Research Security at the National Science Foundation(NSF)

JCORE: Recommended Practices for Strengthening the Security and Integrity of America's Science and Technology Research Enterprise (PDF)

Jan. 15, 2021

OSTP Regional Webinar on Research Security | Enhancing the Security and Integrity of America's Research Enterprise (PDF)

June 2020

OSTP Letter to the United States Research Community (PDF)

Sept. 16, 2019

Research Security Training for the United States (U.S.) Research Community

Insider Threats 101 What You Need to Know