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U.S. Intelligence Appeals to Academic IP Researchers: Watch Out for Chinese Spies

Earlier this year, the Biden administration dropped the “China Initiative” program established by the Department of Justice in 2018 to vigorously pursue IP thieves working on behalf of the Chinese government.

Despite dropping that title, the current administration has been no less vigorous in deterring IP theft.

The recent publication of the Safeguarding Science Toolkit published by the National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) drives that point home. (NCSC is within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI.)

An informed, empowered scientific community is best positioned to assess emerging technologies and their applications and to design measures to guard against the potential misuse or theft of these technologies.

And as explained in the NCSC November 15th press release: “It provides research to stakeholders with a single location to access security best practices from across government and academia and to select those tools tailored for their individual needs.

The Safeguarding Science Toolkit provides guidance to research-academia in protecting the five (5) emerging technologies: Artificial Intelligence (A.I); Bioeconomy; Autonomous Systems; Quantum; and Semiconductors.


Here is the overall theme of the toolkit:

  • Promote a U.S. research ecosystem that emphasizes collaboration, openness, equity, integrity, and security, all of which facilitate innovation
  • Provide curated resources for our stakeholders to support best practices in protecting research and innovation
    • Supplement existing ethics training with security education to provide case studies relating to misuse and exploitation of research
    • Provide inclusive educational opportunities for domestic / international students and faculty that are germane to the fields of research and development
  • Assist academia and industry in developing their own methods to protect research from theft, misuse, abuse, or exploitation.
    • Highlight shared responsibility of scientific community and U.S. government to protect research and innovation in emerging technologies
    • Develop a culture of security awareness to supplement existing compliance measures, fostering scientific citizenship
    • Evolve from a “do no harm” mentality to an explicit “not on my watch” mentality
  • Foster information exchanges to better identify emerging technology security challenges
    • Establish liaison contacts between scientific community and the U.S. government
    • Facilitate tripwire/suspicious activity reporting


This outreach by the U.S. intelligence community to academic research institutions is in collaboration with the National Science Foundation (NSF)National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other federal agencies.


Up to this point, it seems the FBI’s 56 field offices were doing most of the heavy lifting. The FBI was tasked with not only doing outreach to academia in how to protect their research from foreign bad actors, but also, of course, tasked with carrying out their primary mission: to investigate and arrest IP thieves.

I suspect the FBI welcomes this outreach;

I know academia should welcome it.


November 15, 2022, Bloomberg: U.S. Advises Academic Researchers on Stopping Chinese Spying

DisclaimerIPProbe.Global is a service to the professional IP community. While every effort has been made to check information in this blog, we provide no guarantees or warranties, express or implied, regarding the content provided in IPProbe.Global. We disclaim all liability and responsibility for the qualification or accuracy of representations made by the contributors or for any disputes that may arise. It is the responsibility of the readers to independently investigate and verify the credentials of such persons and the accuracy and validity of the information provided by them. This blog is for general information only and not intended to provide legal or other professional advice.

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Ron Alvarez is an IP investigations and protection consultant and writer in New York City. He is a former NYPD lieutenant where he investigated robbery, narcotics, internal affairs, and fine art theft cases. Ron has since coordinated the private investigation of international fraud and money laundering cases, as well as IP-related investigations and research involving the four pillars of IP: copyright, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets. Ron is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and earned a B.A. in Government and Public Administration from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan. He has written a number of articles for various investigative publications, as well as published "The World of Intellectual Property (IP) Protection and Investigations" in November 2021.

2 comments on “U.S. Intelligence Appeals to Academic IP Researchers: Watch Out for Chinese Spies

  1. Pingback: University Chancellor Announces Updated Background Screening Policy for Foreign Students / Lab Researchers – IP PROBE – Blog

  2. Pingback: DOJ Launches the New, “Disruptive Technology Strike Force” – IP PROBE – Blog

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