Rebecca Trager has written a timely article for Chemistry World titled, “US researcher entanglements continue post-China Initiative as worries over IP theft linger.”
The article sheds a bright light on the fortified requirements for researchers to disclose their affiliation with foreign talent programs.
Over the years researchers in the U.S. (often foreign nationals) have claimed to not understand what is required of them in complying with proposal-disclosing procedures for U.S. research funds.
For those of us in the trade secrets protection space, we have often been baffled by this claim. It always seemed very clear cut. If you want U.S. funding you have to tell the U.S. what other funding/support affiliations you have.
Of course, some scientists have stumbled into trouble because they don’t disclose other affiliations.
Why? Well—experience indicates—the foreign government or entity they are affiliated with wants them to keep it a secret.
Why? Well—experience indicates—failure to disclose can mean a conspiracy to steal the research is afoot.
So, as Rebecca Trager points out in her article, the Chips and Science Act signed into law by President Biden wants researchers to disclose their participation with foreign recruitment programs.
Here is an excerpt from the article:
“President Biden signed a law in August that prohibits researchers working on federal agency-funded programmes from participating in ‘malign foreign talent recruitment’ programmes. Scientists will have to disclose their participation in such programmes in their research award proposals.
“The new law designed to bolster US competitiveness is dubbed the Chips and Science Act and explicitly lists characteristics of such ‘malign’ foreign programmes. These include the unauthorised transfer of IP, the establishment of a lab or appointment in a foreign country that violates the terms of an ongoing federal research award, the inability to terminate a contract and failure to acknowledge one’s home institution or funding agency in the US.”
Here is a recent non-disclosure example cited in the article:
“During a 3 March media briefing on competition and research security at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) annual meeting in Washington DC, the head of research security at the US National Science Foundation (NSF) revealed a concerning case that had just come across her desk that morning. The questionable contract was signed between an NSF-funded researcher in the US and an entity associated with the Chinese government, but neither the NSF nor his home institution in the US were aware of it,according to Rebecca Keiser, the NSF’s chief of research security strategy and policy.”
In a November 22nd virtual chat forum, Rebecca Keiser discussed the issues surrounding the new disclosure requirements and answered questions.
By the way, should any reader need a detailed refresher on the commitment and range of the Chinese-State to steal U.S. trade secrets, take the time to read William Evanina’s 2021 statement before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.”
William “Bill” Evanina is the former Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center.
His statement should take your breath away.
The mantra researchers with foreign affiliations should now practice is:
“If You Propose –-You Must Disclose”
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