Foreign Talent Recruitment Programs–Reporting and Restrictions


Participation in foreign talent recruitment programs (FTRPs) can involve risks that warrant careful consideration, mitigation, and–in some cases–complete avoidance. Congress, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other government organizations view aspects of certain FTRPs as threats to the integrity and security of the national research enterprise. The CHIPS and Science Act (the C&S Act) directs federal research sponsors to maintain policies that–

  • require covered individuals to disclose all participation in FTRPs, and
  • prohibit recipients of federal support from participating in any malign FTRPs (MFTRPs).

The National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, and other agencies are rolling these policies out in 2023 and 2024. (A notable exception is the Department of Energy, which has tightly restricted talent program participation since 2019 with DoE Order 486.1A (updated 2020)).

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Foreign Talent Recruitment Program (FTRP) Definition

The White House Office for Science and Technology defines an FTRP as: 

any program, position, or activity that includes compensation in the form of cash, in-kind compensation, including research funding, promised future compensation, complimentary foreign travel, things of non de minimis value, honorific titles, career advancement opportunities, or other types of remuneration or consideration directly provided by a foreign country at any level (national, provincial, or local) or their designee, or an entity based in, funded by, or affiliated with a foreign country, whether or not directly sponsored by the foreign country, to an individual, whether directly or indirectly stated in the arrangement, contract, or other documentation at issue.

Some activities that do not constitute a FTRP include making scholarly presentations and publishing written materials regarding scientific information not otherwise controlled under U.S. law, and participating in international conferences and research projects or other programs that involve open and reciprocal exchanges of scientific information.

Malign Foreign Talent Recruitment Program (MFTRP) Definition 

The C&S Act provides a definition of MFTRP–essentially a talent program requiring one or more problematic actions and having problematic sponsorship. A detailed approach to the definition is available here.

The Department of Defense lists referenced in the last part of the MFTRP definition are available here.

Required Disclosure to Sponsors of Participation in FTRPs

The C&S Act requires OSTP and federal research agencies to implement policies requiring all PIs and senior/key personnel to disclose FTRP participation in the appropriate federal forms (Current and Pending/Other Support, Biosketches, etc.). In practice, this means that foreign appointments are required to be included in Biosketches, and any form of compensation, in-kind or funded research support, or resource provided by the foreign entity must be included in the Current and Pending/Other Support form. Many agencies already have this requirement, or something very similar, so the impact on researchers should be minimal, provided that they are already aware of and complying with the requirements. It is critical that personnel provide complete and accurate information about involvement in any FTRPs, per agency rules.

Prohibition on Participation in MFTRPs

PIs and key research personnel are prohibited from participating in a MFTRP by the C&S Act, federal agency implementing rules, and Board of Regents Policy: Code of Conduct. Grant and contract proposals to federal sponsors will generally need to include individual certifications that covered personnel are not involved in MFTRPs, as well as institutional certifications that covered personnel have been made aware of the MFTRP prohibition.

Additional University Expectations and Local Disclosures

Disclosure and transparency are paramount not only to federal agencies, but also to the University, via the University’s Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitment processes. Conflict of Interest Program staff can assist you by reviewing proposed agreements with foreign universities, governmental entities, and businesses in order to identify potentially problematic terms, and will coordinate with other University offices as needed to protect you and the University.

Representative List of Foreign Talent Programs

See a representative list of Non-Us Talent Programs. The list is not exhaustive as it is not feasible to identify all foreign talent programs.  If a program or contract includes the specific conditions outlined above, it qualifies as an FTRP or a MFTRP as applicable and should be approached accordingly. 

Questions About Foreign Talent Programs

Please contact Export Controls with specific questions about talent programs, relevant University policies, and related federal government rules and expectations.

Additional resources: