Foreign Influence on Research Activities


The U.S. Government has expressed serious concerns regarding inappropriate influence by foreign entities over federally funded research. Several federal agencies have indicated that failure to disclose foreign relationships and activities may jeopardize eligibility for future funding.

Michigan Tech and all other US educational institutions must comply with federal reporting and disclosure requirements. Michigan Tech’s Conflict of Interest Policy (Board of Trustees Policy 4.7 Conflict of Interest Policy) and Procedures (Faculty Handbook Appendix B) require the disclosure of activities that may create a financial conflict of interest or more generally a conflict of commitment, whether compensated or not, to your immediate supervisor and, under some conditions, to the Conflict of Interest Coordinator. These activities must also occasionally be disclosed to comply with federal guidelines; the NIH Grants Policy Statement requires such disclosure on all applications and progress reports, and the National Science Foundation requires disclosure on the Current and Pending support documents accompanying proposals.

Any external support or engagement that you would acknowledge in a presentation or publication must generally be disclosed in funding applications and through the University Conflict of Interest Procedures. It is critical for all members of the campus community to be transparent, particularly with respect to any affiliations with foreign entities. Your disclosure is required by University policy and procedures and for the University to be in compliance with federal guidelines. Only through disclosure can the University advise, assist, and protect you and the integrity of your scholarly activities.

If you have any questions regarding federal regulations or internal Conflict of Interest Procedures please contact Jim Baker, Associate Vice President for Research Administration at 487‐2226.

Additional Information

Michigan Tech

NIH Policies 

National Science Foundation

Executive Office of the President

U.S. Department of Energy

Under Secretary of Defense

Office of Private Sector

2019 FBI Academia Summit on October 10, 2019

In The News

Researcher Charged with Illegally using U.S. Grant Funds to Develop Scientific Expertise for China

July 9, 2020

A rheumatology professor and researcher with strong ties to China has been ordered held without bond to face a charge of grant fraud for not disclosing that he was engaged in a sophisticated scheme to use approximately $4.1 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop China’s expertise in the areas of rheumatology and immunology.

Exclusive: US National Science Foundation reveals first details on foreign-influence investigations 

July 7, 2020

The funding agency has taken action in 16-20 cases where foreign ties were not properly reported.

Safeguarding Research on Campuses Against Foreign Threats (Inside Higher Ed) 

March 9, 2020

There's an urgent need for increasing and maintaining good security policies and practices, writes Ted Mitchell (President of the American Council on Education) who recommends some immediate actions to take….Sobering warnings have been delivered to the U.S. higher education community over the past several years by national security and law enforcement officials about the threats to campuses from some foreign governments, notably China, seeking to influence, interfere and, in some cases, steal scientific research and intellectual property. 

University of Tennessee researcher arrested, charged with wire fraud, making false statements about relationship with Chinese university (WBIR) 

February 27, 2020

Anming Hu was booked into the Blount County jail after federal authorities allege he illegally worked with a Chinese university while also doing UT projects.  

Harvard Professor's Arrest Raises Questions About Scientific Openness (NPR) 

February 19, 2020

"This is a big, big case," says Frank Wu, a professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law who tracks Chinese espionage cases. "This is a case that's all about U.S.-China relations. It's about competition. It's about how science should be done."

In Wake of Lieber Arrest, Dean of Science Says FAS ‘Limited’ In Its Ability to Track Unauthorized Research Activity (Harvard Crimson)

February 10, 2020

The charges against Lieber form the latest development in a months-long federal crackdown against “academic espionage,” the process by which scientists pass academic research from American universities to foreign governments.