Memo on International Relationships and Foreign Influence on Research and Technology Development Activities
DATE: September 29, 2021
RE: International relationships and foreign influence on research and technology development activities
Wayne State University has a global research mission and encourages international research collaborations. It is essential, however, for investigators to be transparent about their foreign relationships and activities. The United States federal government has conveyed serious increasing concerns regarding the influence by foreign entities over federally funded research.
As a result, foreign influence in federally sponsored research, including peer review, continues to be the subject of investigations conducted by federal agencies and universities across the country. These investigations generally relate to the exploitation of intellectual capital, technologies, research investigators and research programs at universities by foreign governments and external entities for economic and technology development purposes.
We have previously provided members of the WSU community with information, guidance and resources to address this issue at https://research.wayne.edu/fir and to help navigate global engagements, particularly during today’s shifting landscape.
Federal agencies have heightened their oversight and reviews of foreign engagements, occasionally with devastating consequences for investigators and the institutions with which they are affiliated.
Because scrutiny of issues relating to foreign influence on research has continued to escalate, it is imperative that the members of our campus community understand and implement the appropriate preventative measures.
Steps can and should be taken to minimize the risk of foreign influence safeguarding resources, enabling technologies and intellectual property.
Failure to do so may have serious and far-reaching consequences including the loss of federal funding for the individual investigator and the institution as a whole.
Key elements and safeguard steps include the following.
Wayne State University remains committed to welcoming researchers, scholars, and students from around the world and cultivating international research collaborations – two essential elements of our mission.
At the same time, we must be cognizant of the challenges that may arise in this area and the responsibility that we all have to be sure that all aspects of this issue are addressed.
Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or further clarity on any specific item that may arise in this area and we are glad to provide additional guidance.
Stephen M. Lanier, Ph.D., Vice President for Research
Mark L. Kornbluh, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs