Foreign Influence in Research

The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and federal sponsors such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health (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.

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 US 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 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

Contact Us

Laura A. Meyer Chapman, MA, RBP


1120 15th Street CJ-1033 Augusta, GA 30912

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 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

Additionally, please contact 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 US citizens
  • Engage with or travel to a sanctioned country
  • Ship any item valued at $2500 or more outside the country
  • Engage with foreign partners/entities (including sponsoring visiting scholars and 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 to request a review and establish a TCP.

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.

Additional Resources

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

Jan. 19, 2021

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