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Guidelines for International Research Collaborations

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Importance of Increased Vigilance

  • Legal term for theft of IP and U.S. research by foreign countries is now "Technology exfiltration."
  • China's "Thousand Talents Plan" (TTP) is purportedly a program designed to recruit Chinese scientists back to China but in reality is designed to steal American research.
  • TTP award is an award from the Chinese government; if a U.S. scientist accepts that award, he/she is working for two governments, which will lead to prosecution by the Department of Justice.
  • Peer review by foreign researchers can result in theft of U.S. technology.

Best Practices

  • Complete transparency of all foreign research relationships
  • Complete disclosure of all sources of support for research undertaken with a foreign partner
  • Complete disclosure of all sources of compensation for research work carried out in partnership with a foreign institution, including that which is undertaken during a period not covered by the faculty member's employment contract at FAU (e.g., summer employment at a foreign university)
  • Complete disclosure by faculty researchers of all foreign consulting and other outside business activities
  • Review of all active awards and pending proposals by PIs to ensure compliance
  • Prompt disclosure of new intellectual property developed at FAU to the Office of Technology Development

Where to get help: Email: fau.research@fau.edu    Phone: 561-297-0777


How can a previously submitted report that does not include full disclosure of foreign partnerships be corrected?
By reporting the error to name/email address in Division of Research.
Does the sponsored research of international students have to be reported?
In most cases, there is no reason to disclose participation of foreign students or postdocs on sponsored research, especially if all such work will be performed in the U.S. However, classified and export controlled projects will be subject to foreign national restrictions. It may be possible to employ certain foreign nationals on controlled projects after appropriate licenses and/or exemptions are secured. Please contact FAU Export Controls for more information on such cases. There are no foreign national restrictions on Fundamental Research. However, there may be cases where working with a student or postdoc might be considered a "foreign component," if that student or postdoc is performing effort in a foreign country. NIH defines a foreign component as "any significant scientific element or segment of a project outside of the United States, either by the recipient or by a researcher employed by a foreign organization, whether or not grant funds are expended."

Relevant Links

Latest Guidance

Federal Bureau of Investigation, Counterintelligence Division

Foreign Government-Sponsored Talent Recruitment Plans, such as China’s Talent Plans, Incentivize Economic Espionage and Theft of Trade Secrets

July, 2020

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Enhancing the Security and Integrity of America's Research Enterprise

June, 2020

National Institutes of Health

Advisory Committing to the Director Working Group on Foreign Influences on Research Integrity Update

June, 2020

Protecting U.S. Biomedical Intellectual Innovation


June, 2020

 Last Modified 7/20/20