Is international collaboration encouraged?

The U.S. federal Science and Technology research agencies seek to maintain a vibrant science and engineering community for the benefit of the nation. Participation in this community relies on individuals to uphold core principles and values such as openness, transparency, reciprocity, collaboration and integrity. However, open scientific exchange and research face a challenge from some foreign governments seeking to misappropriate scientific research and data and recruit U.S. researchers through unethical means.

Principled international collaboration is critical to our success. Improper foreign influence is a threat to international collaboration in the Science and Technology enterprise. It is important to distinguish the difference. International collaboration is welcomed and encouraged. Principled international collaboration: enables cutting-edge research that no nation can achieve alone; trains a robust Science and Technology workforce capable of solving global problems; allows for significant contributions from international students and scholars to the U.S. research enterprise; strengthens scientific and diplomatic relations; and leverages resources, including funding, expertise and facilities.

An excerpt from a June 28, 2022 memo from The Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement, Department of Commerce, to all export enforcement employees: “Academic research institutions are an essential component of the scientific and technological success that powers the engine of the American economy. Our colleges and universities are where life-saving medicines are developed, revolutionary technologies are invented and scientific breakthroughs are made. Unfortunately, foreign adversaries know that our academic research institutions, including our universities, are the envy of the world. They also know that universities’ technology and research controls may be quite different from those of a for-profit corporation, even though the technology used in, or developed as a part of academic research can be just as valuable. Foreign adversaries use a variety of techniques, including establishing partnerships between their domestic research institutions and American ones, to gain access to those research developments. In a world in which even the most sensitive and valuable research can be exported or transmitted with the click of a button, academic research institutions present inviting and potentially vulnerable targets.”


Hosting Visiting Scholars from Other Countries?

UT has a systemwide policy on reporting all non-employee visitors engaged in research (VEiR). If the visit is part of a collaborative agreement with another university, or the visitor will be working on your federally funded research, additional disclosures may be required. This policy applies to all J1 visa holders (exchange-visitor visas) and may apply to other visa types such as F1 Student visas depending on the circumstances. Please consult the VEiR policy or contact the University Research Security Program Office for further details.


What Is and Is Not Considered Fundamental Research?

According to The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of The Department of Commerce:

Fundamental Research
Fundamental research means research in science, engineering or mathematics, the results of which ordinarily are published and shared broadly within the research community, and for which the researchers have not accepted restrictions for proprietary or national security reasons.

Non-Fundamental Research
It is not considered fundamental research when there are restrictions placed on the outcome of the research or restrictions on methods used during the research. Proprietary research, industrial development, design, production and product utilization the results of which are restricted, and government funded research that specifically restricts the outcome for national security reasons are not considered fundamental research.


What is a Deemed Export?

Some data or technologies (for instance proprietary data or International Trade in Arms Reduction (ITAR) controlled materials) may require an export license to release the materials or data to a foreign national.The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) defines deemed exports as “any release of technology or source code subject to the EAR (Export Administration Regulations) to a foreign national (Code of Federal Regulations) Part 734.2(b)(2)(ii). This does not apply to permanent residents or protected individuals.”


Shipping Materials Outside the U.S.?

Please contact your campus Export Control Office. They are there to ensure your research endeavors are protected, and to help prevent unintended breaches of U.S. export laws that could result in fines and other punitive actions.


Working with citizens of Cuba, Iran, Syria or North Korea?

These countries are designated by the U.S. Department of State as “State Sponsors of Terrorism.“ You may need special permission from the U.S. government before working with their citizens. Contact your campus Research Engagement Office or University Research Security Program Office for details.


Collaborating with companies located or primarily owned by China, Russia, Venezuela?

An export declaration is required when shipping most items to these countries.


Unsure about the sensitivity, origin, or reputation of a company or country with whom you want to collaborate?

Contact the Research Security Program Office. We regularly conduct due diligence reviews surrounding supply chain issues and can provide recommendations to meet your needs.


What is the Purpose of UT’s Disclosure Policy?

Sponsored funding administrators use outside activities disclosures to identify anomalies in proposals during the submission process that might indicate transgressions such as conflicts of interest and conflicts of commitment; undisclosed research duplication and researcher commitments to research entities outside their U.S. employer; compromises to the merit review system; and unauthorized use of pre-publication data and information. Transparency and disclosure are needed to properly assess risk and are essential for federal agencies to make sound funding decisions. Undisclosed research duplication and researcher commitments to research entities outside their U.S. employer are a threat to securing U.S. federal research. Failure to properly disclose membership in mechanisms such as foreign talent recruitment programs can have criminal or civil ramifications. In addition, federally funded recipients could be affected by financial constraints that could undermine their ability to identify and manage conflicts of interests, commitment and affiliation created by researchers’ involvement with such programs.


What Can federally Funded Researchers Do to Manage and Mitigate Risk?

Federal research agencies are making significant efforts to alert the research community to existing and emerging risks to the global research ecosystem. Through enhanced outreach efforts, federal research agencies have come together at outreach events with researchers and administrators to discuss issues and share information. This effort has led to clarifications of proposal preparation and award administration requirements, as well as the issuance of new policies and directives. In fulfilling their role as stewards of research, including training the next generation of researchers, organizations should demonstrate robust leadership and oversight. They should also establish and administer policies to promote transparency, identify and mitigate conflicts of interest and commitment.