Background

A statement from Dr. Julie Jordan, Vice President for Research and Economic Development...Photo of Dr. Jordan, Vice President for Research and Economic Development

"Open and collaborative fundamental research has served as a scientific and economic boon to the U.S. and the world. MSU is dedicated to the development of globally competent students and internationally engaged faculty. The research and education enterprises, however, are put at risk when other governments endeavor to benefit from it without upholding the values of openness, transparency and reciprocal collaboration.  To that end, it is critical that our faculty, staff, and students adhere to laws, regulations and disclosure requirements regarding international collaborations."

History

International Risk Management is focused on preventing what the U.S. government terms "foreign influence" in Academia, although ORC&S will investigate or aid an investigation into any malign activity with a foreign nexus involving MSU's research enterprise. The White House’s National Science and Technology Council defines "Foreign Influence" in its January 2021 publication Recommended Practices for Strengthening the Security and Integrity of America’s Science and Technology Research Enterprise as “the actions of some governments to exploit the global research enterprises to circumvent the costs and risks of conducting their own research, thereby increasing their economic and military competitiveness at the expense of the United States and its allies and partners.” These actions can take many different forms, such as:

  1. Recruitment into Foreign Government Talent Recruitment Programs (FGTRPs)

  2. Insider threats

  3. Hacking/Data theft

  4. Corruption of peer review process

  5. Threats to academic freedom and open discourse on campus

These actions can lead to diversion of intellectual property or controlled information to foreign entities, unauthorized sharing of confidential or sensitive research data, and export control violations, among other concerns.

To combat these growing concerns, federal agencies have implemented guidance that expands Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI) and Conflict of Commitment (COC) reporting. The purpose is to ensure that U.S. taxpayer dollars are not being used to support sensitive research that is being diverted or coopted by America's strategic competitors. For now, individual agencies publish their own guidance regarding what information and in what form FCOI and COC information must be disclosed. Further information can be found in the Foreign Influence subcategory "Agency Specific Guidance" on this page, and through the MSU Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP).

On January 4, 2022 the Joint Committee on the Research Environment (JCORE) of the White House National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Subcommittee on Research Security released a document entitled Guidance for Implementing National Security Presidential Memorandum 33 (NSPM-33) on National Security Strategy for United States Government-Supported Research and Development. The guidance document gives federal research agencies 120 days to "develop model grant application forms and instructions that can be used by any federal research funding agency." Rather than the previous ad hoc approach, this new guidance will allow researchers to report the same information in the same way to whichever federal agency is sponsoring a grant. The NSTC also hopes that the new forms and instructions will allow researchers to populate digital CVs from which they can readily export relevant information. This website will be updated as new guidance is published.

Reference Documents

National Security Presidential Memorandum (NSPM)-33: Directs action to strengthen protections of United States Government-supported Research and Development (R&D) against foreign government interference and exploitation

Fact Sheet on NSPM-33

Guidance for Implementing National Security Presidential Memorandum 33 (NSPM-33) on National Security Strategy for United States Government-Supported Research and Development

Recommended Practices for Strengthening the Security and Integrity of America’s Science and Technology Research Enterprise