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What is “foreign influence” and why is the federal government concerned about it?

Federal agencies have communicated significant concerns around protecting the American research enterprise from undue foreign influence. While foreign influence has not been completely defined by the federal government, its core concerns involve maintaining the United States’ economic competitiveness and national security.

The FBI and other federal government agencies have expressed concern that some foreign actors, particularly foreign state adversaries, are seeking to acquire U.S. academic research and information illicitly or illegitimately in order to advance their scientific, economic, and military development goals through the exploitation of the culture of collaboration and openness on university campuses.

More specifically, NIH has identified three areas of concern:  diversion of intellectual property; peer reviewers inappropriately sharing confidential information on grant applications; and failure of researchers at NIH-funded U.S. institutions to disclose substantial resources from other organizations, including foreign governments.

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