UMBC is committed to ensuring open and publicly accessible research and scholarly activities both domestically and internationally. The diversity and inclusive culture of our campus is our strength and is a vital component of our mission to redefine “…excellence in higher education through an inclusive culture that connects innovative teaching and learning, research across disciplines, and civic engagement…by welcoming and inspiring inquisitive minds from all backgrounds.”
As President Hrabowski and Provost Rous affirmed in their July 12, 2019 campus message, entitled “The Meaning of Inclusive Excellence”, “We take pride as a campus in our reputation as a national model for inclusive excellence where students, faculty, staff, and alumni from more than 100 countries learn from one another’s diverse experiences.” See this message for resources available to the UMBC community.
Recently, our VP for Research, Karl Steiner and our Associate VP for Research, Dean Drake have been making campus aware of increased scrutiny on foreign influences as it relates to our federal sponsors. This threat is not a new one, and while we cannot let it impact our mission, there are steps all universities must take to ensure compliance with our federal sponsors.
Foreign influence in federally funded research has been an evolving topic that has expanded over decades. In our communications, we will continue to provide as much factual requirements as it relates to compliance with federal sponsors as possible so the campus community is aware of specific areas of concern and can be transparent in our global relationships.
What do UMBC investigators need to do
Most international collaborations are not problematic and are encouraged. However, researchers are strongly urged to disclose and be transparent regarding their involvement in activities of this nature. UMBC has policies and procedures in place for the campus to comply with export control regulations, reporting foreign research support and collaborations, and personal financial interests associated with both foreign and domestic entities. The OVPR wants to make sure all UMBC faculty, staff, and students are aware of these requirements and to comply with them in submission of proposals and acceptance of awards. Review the below OVPR resources for further information:
The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) has developed a matrix to provide guidance on how to comply with Federal regulations and procedures on Foreign Influence related to Federal proposals and awards. OSP has also created a sample NIH Other Support document that is compliant with NIH Foreign Collaboration requirements.
Planning an international partner on a research project? The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP), UMBC Financial Services and Office of General Counsel created a guidance document to assist in identify if a partner meets federal definitions of a foreign source. This document should be considered a guide. The OSP is responsible for making the final determination regarding if a partner meets the definition of “foreign”.
The Office of Research Protections and Compliance (ORPC) has created FAQs to identify steps required to comply with university and Federal regulatory requirements.
U.S. Governmental/Professional Association Guidance and Regulations
- The National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued a “Foreign Influence Letter to Grantees” reminding the research community that they are required to “…disclose all forms of other support and financial interests, including support coming from foreign governments or-other foreign entities. Additionally, the NIH reminds grantees to “…report foreign activities through documentation of other support, foreign components, and financial conflict of interest to prevent scientific, budgetary, or commitment overlap. (NOT-OD-19-114).
- The U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) issued a Policy Memo on Foreign Government Talent Recruitment Programs stating the DoE would ban scientists from participating in foreign-talent recruitment programs and would restrict them from participating in programs sponsored by China or other countries suspected of using them for sensitive research. In addition, the DoE issued a directive stating those working under a DoE contract are prohibited from participating in a foreign talent recruitment program.
- The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) issued a memo outlining disclosure requirements for all key personnel listed on research and research-related educational activities supported by DoD grants and contracts.
- The National Science Foundation (NSF) issued a Dear Colleague Letter on “Research Protection” stating that U.S. universities must be sensitive to the challenges that affect science and engineering communities. NSF plans to issue a policy that NSF personnel and IPAs detailed to NSF cannot participate in foreign government talent recruitment programs.
- NASA has restrictions on involvement of foreign nationals and the use of NASA funds to enter into agreements “to participate, collaborate, or coordinate bilaterally in any way with China or any Chinese-owned company, at the prime recipient level or at any subrecipient level, whether the bilateral involvement is funded or performed under a no-exchange of funds arrangement.”
- The U.S. Department of Education reminds institutions of the federal requirement (Section 117 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) to report gifts received from or contracts entered into with foreign sources, and ownership or control of institutions by foreign entities.
For more information
Review the ORPC Conflict of Interest website for policies, FAQs, and guidance information.
Review the UMBC Travel Policy and Procedures website for policies, FAQs, and guidance information regarding travel and the ORPC Export Control Management website for information related to international travel security and travel to high-risk countries.
Review the Office of Sponsored Programs website for policies, FAQs and guidance information for all sponsored projects you may be involved in that include any foreign sources of funding.
Review the Office of Technology Development website for policies, FAQs, and guidance information related to disclosing intellectual property to UMBC in a timely manner, including any IP that involves international collaborations or involvement.
Review the International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) website for information on services and advising on visas for visiting international faculty, researchers and scholars both before and during a visit to UMBC.
Review the ORPC Export Control Management website for policies, FAQs, and guidance information related to U.S. export control regulations when your work involves publication restrictions, traveling internationally, participating in international collaborations, restrictions from the sponsor or contract, using proprietary information or software, working with international faculty, staff, or students, hosting international visitors, shipping materials internationally, or engaging in international transactions.