Foreign Influence

Page Updated: September 16th, 2019

UW-Madison values the contributions of and collaborations with researchers from around the world. Our campus’ diverse research community and the openness of our research enterprise has enabled our institution to make discoveries that create a better nation and world.

RSP wants to raise awareness with the campus community about an issue that is receiving national attention and impacting institutions of higher education around the country. Members of Congress and several federal sponsors have expressed significant concerns about undue foreign influence on the U.S. research enterprise. In August 2018, Dr. Francis Collins issued this letter highlighting areas of concern, which include:

  1. Diversion of intellectual property in grant applications or produced by NIH-supported biomedical research to other entities, including other countries;
  2. Sharing of confidential information by peer reviewers with others, including with foreign entities, or otherwise attempting to influence funding decisions; and
  3. Failure by some researchers at NIH-funded institutions to disclose substantial contributions of resources from other organizations, including foreign governments, which threatens to distort decisions about the appropriate use of NIH funds.

It is clear that all federal agencies take this issue very seriously. The best advice at this point is to be sure to disclose any and all activities that involve a foreign entity.

We expect federal agencies to release further guidance over the coming months, so be aware that information and requirements might change at any time. In the meantime, we encourage faculty and staff to reacquaint themselves with existing policies and procedures. Select information (not a comprehensive list) is included below.

Sponsored research agreements

Performance of work outside the United States (for proposals and progress reports)

Other/Current and Pending Support (also see Other Support Information)

Biographical sketches/outside affiliations

Intellectual property disclosures

Confidentiality of peer review