Foreign Influence in the News
These are media reports that University of Minnesota research administrators have found useful in tracking and understanding the changing federal regulatory environment around research. Inclusion here does not indicate UMN endorsement of views expressed in these reports.
12/20/19: Foreign Influence on Science Has DOJ Flexing False Claims Act (Bloomberg Law)
An unusual settlement over undisclosed Chinese payments to NIH-funded scientists indicates U.S. authorities are willing to use the muscle of the False Claims Act to clamp down on foreign threats to taxpayer-funded innovation.
12/20/19: U.S. takes aim at foreign influence (Science)
Congress has created two new panels to wrestle with the topic and an influential panel has recommended steps that the National Science Foundation (NSF) should take. But there is no consensus on the core issue of whether protecting national security and U.S. innovation requires new restrictions on basic research.
12/19/19: Van Andel Institute to pay $5.5 million for not disclosing Chinese grants by Eric Tucker (Associated Press)
The Grand Rapids-based Van Andel Research Institute, which was accused of failing to disclose Chinese government grants to two of its researchers, has reached a $5.5 million settlement, the Justice Department announced.
12/12/19: Moffitt turmoil began with national concern over China, stolen research (Tampa Bay Times)
Feds say they are just beginning to understand the scope of foreign involvement in U.S.-based research, at Tampa’s Moffitt Cancer Center and beyond.
12/8/19: China tells government offices to remove all foreign computer equipment (The Guardian)
China has ordered that all foreign computer equipment and software be removed from government offices and public institutions within three years, the Financial Times reports. This directive is likely to be a blow to US multinational companies like HP, Dell and Microsoft.
11/20/19: Colleges, officials try to thaw effects of the US-China chill (The Christian Science Monitor)
The Trump administration has emphasized that Chinese students enrich U.S. universities, but the trade war and other tensions may trickle down to campuses. Schools are struggling to figure out: What now?
11/17/19: U.S. Struggles to Stem Chinese Efforts to Recruit Scientists (The Wall Street Journal)
National security officials say universities are at the leading edge of a plan by Beijing to illicitly gain scientific expertise and leapfrog the technology gap with the West, but prosecutors face challenges proving wrongdoing in court, as new allegations in a criminal case in Kansas underscore.
11/13/19: The Science Security Threat (Inside Higher Ed)
At gathering of university research officers, federal agency officials document foreign governments' efforts to persuade scientists to engage in academic espionage.
11/11/19: Study Quantifies Benefits of U.S.-China Scientific Collaboration (Inside Higher Ed)
Without collaboration from co-authors from China, the number of scholarly articles published by American academics in science and engineering fields would have declined by 2.03 percent between 2014 and 2018.
10/23/19: Trump Officials Battle Over Plan to Keep Technology Out of Chinese Hands (New York Times)
The Trump administration is divided over how aggressively to restrict China’s access to United States technology as it looks for ways to protect national security without undercutting American industry.
10/6/19: U.S. Researchers on Front Line of Battle Against Chinese Theft (Associated Press)
The FBI inspects how universities are taking steps to protect research and monitor suspicious behavior.
10/4/19: NIH Reveals its Formula for Tracking Foreign Influences (Science)
NIH has concluded that the Chinese government uses talent recruitment programs to obtain confidential NIH grant applications and to establish so-called shadow labs in China, where NIH-funded research can be replicated.
9/27/19: NIH could do more to address foreign threats, reports say (STAT)
The National Institutes of Health should do more to ensure that investigators and grant reviewers aren’t susceptible to foreign influence, according to a trio of reports from the Health and Human Services inspector general released Friday. Read the NIH OIG Report Summary, Report in Brief, and Full Report.
9/26/19: How a Chicago college student ended up in the middle of an FBI investigation into Chinese spying (Chicago Tribune)
Federal authorities allege that an international student from Illinois Institute of Technology was secretly working for a Chinese spy agency.
9/26/19: Grassley Presses Influential Universities on Academic Freedom Concerns (Senate Committee on Finance)
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sent letters to the presidents of Duke University, Harvard University, Sarah Lawrence College and Villanova University seeking information on the current culture of academic freedom on their campuses. Grassley also expressed his concerns in an op-ed published today by the Wall Street Journal.
9/25/19: Amid tensions with China, US emphasizes rules around research security (Chemical & Engineering News)
Scientists worry security concerns will taint valuable research collaborations.
9/11/19: U.S. academics, make sure you know the rules about foreign funding and affiliations (Science)
Openness, intellectual freedom, and international collaboration are traditional hallmarks of university science in the United States. Recently, however, federal funding and law enforcement agencies—as well as universities themselves—have been taking steps that some see as counter to these values in the interest of protecting U.S. research and technology from foreign threats, especially from China.
9/11/19: U.S. Border Agents Are Seeking Social-Media Data on International Students (The Chronicle)
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security plans to collect social-media handles of travelers, including students, to the United States. In a notice of a proposed rule published in the Federal Register, the department says such information is needed to validate applicants’ identity and to determine whether they pose a law-enforcement or national-security risk.
9/11/19: Peer pressure: 60 science groups call for end to Washington’s crackdown on foreign-born researchers (South China Morning Post)
While not naming China, groups’ letter to Trump administration officials addresses campaign that has targeted Chinese scientists in the US. The organisations acknowledge national security concerns but seek a ‘balanced approach that enables continued scientific collaborations.’
9/9/19: US charges Chinese professor in latest shot at Huawei (CNBC)
U.S. prosecutors have charged a Chinese professor with fraud for allegedly taking technology from a California company to benefit an unidentified Chinese telecommunications conglomerate, which sources say is Huawei.
9/5/19: Balancing National Security and Scientific Collaboration (Inside Higher Ed)
Over 60 science, engineering and education organizations sent a letter to U.S. science agencies requesting that they consider scientific enterprise when dealing with national security concerns.
9/4/19: DHS Agency Information Collection Activities: Generic Clearance for the Collection of Social Media Information on Immigration and Foreign Travel Forms - Comments Due 11/4 (Office of the Federal Register)
9/4/19: Next Up In China Trade War: Biotech Purge? (Forbes)
If it involves scientific patents, the U.S. has increasingly lost trust in China as a good faith partner. Next up in the China trade war: biotech and Chinese cancer researchers are being put on notice. Are biotech companies really that frightened of China? And if China feels its investments in the sector are threatened by Washington, could they retaliate by making it even harder for American firms to do business there?
8/30/19: Universities Face Federal Crackdown Over Foreign Financial Influence (New York Times)
The Education Department has begun cracking down on universities that fail to disclose donations and contracts from foreign governments, hoping to give far more scrutiny to funding that has washed into the United States’ higher education institutions from countries often at odds with American policies but eager to tap the country’s brightest minds.
8/27/19: How China Uses LinkedIn to Recruit Spies Abroad (New York Times)
Western intelligence officials say Chinese agents are contacting thousands of foreign citizens using LinkedIn, including former government officials.
8/27/19: After blacklisting, U.S. receives 130-plus license requests to sell to Huawei: sources (Reuters)
The U.S. Commerce Department has received more than 130 applications from companies for licenses to sell U.S. goods to China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, three sources said, nearly two months after President Donald Trump said some sales would be allowed.
8/23/19: Professor Indicted for Alleged Undisclosed Chinese Links (Inside Higher Ed)
Kansas professor faces federal fraud charges for allegedly failing to disclose a full-time appointment at a Chinese university held while receiving government research grants. The indictment comes amid rising tension over Chinese scholars and security.