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Foreign Influence

Tulane University Research Security-Inappropriate Foreign Influence

Tulane University strongly supports/encourages international collaboration in both research and scholarly activities and we value our partnerships with universities and other organizations worldwide. To continue the endeavor of ‘support through collaboration', it is important that all faculty and staff members are aware of and understand the concerns and how we can partner together to address them. We will provide you with information regarding the underlying issues and the tools and resources currently available at our university to enable your response to this information should you determine there is a need. Tulane University’s Guidance regarding Foreign Influence and Involvement in University Research is also available for your review at https://tulane.app.box.com/s/woutu8wlt8zk4sezbcb7nv4evhqsykc9.

Issues surrounding research security, foreign influence and international activities in federally funded research have been an evolving topic over the last decade, during which time U.S. Government investigations have has created growing concern. The concerns revolve around three main areas:

  • Intellectual property being diverted to foreign entities
  • Confidential grant application information being disclosed by reviewers to unauthorized third parties
  • Researchers failing to disclose resources and support provided by other organizations, including foreign entities

Federal funding agencies have advised that there will be a heightened focus on ensuring compliance with respect to mandatory reporting of all sources of research support, financial interests and relevant affiliations, as well as steps to reduce risk to IP. All academic research institutions must have a heightened awareness and interest in understanding the relationships faculty working with federal funded research may have with foreign governments or entities.

Pending further discussion at the federal level, we want to ensure that Tulane faculty, staff, and students are aware of these requirements and the resources available in order to comply with them. Policies and procedures are 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. With the heightened sensitivity to these issues nationally, we wish to remind you of your obligations to report on international research and scholarly activities. The following is a list of resources and reporting requirements:

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.

What you should do right now if you are engaged in sponsored research activity:

1.  Be transparent when disclosing to funding agencies

Be thorough and complete in disclosing your foreign affiliations, other sources of support for research (“other support”), and any parts of your research that are to be performed outside the United States (“foreign components”) to funding agencies in your grant applications, Just-in-Time filings, and progress reports. See additional information in the Guidance regarding Foreign Influence and Involvement in University Research at https://tulane.app.box.com/s/woutu8wlt8zk4sezbcb7nv4evhqsykc9.

2.  Disclose financial and non-financial interests and secondary commitments as part of Tulane’s conflict of interest (COI) disclosure system.

Disclose your outside professional activities and your financial relationships, whether compensated or uncompensated, through Tulane’s online COI disclosure system found at https://coi.tulane.edu/.

Comply with all disclosure requirements related to public sharing of your research. These requirements will be detailed by the conflict of interest in research committee if you have a management plan regarding a financial conflict of interest in research. However, many sponsors, journals, presentations and other publications also have expanded requirements for disclosure.

Required disclosures are described in greater detail in Tulane’s Policies on Conflicts of Commitment and Interest and in the Guidance regarding Foreign Influence and Involvement in University Research at https://tulane.app.box.com/s/woutu8wlt8zk4sezbcb7nv4evhqsykc9.

3.  Safeguard University resources and intellectual property.

Promptly disclose intellectual property to the Tulane Office of Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Development (“OTT”) using the OTT Invention Disclosure Form. In your disclosure, be sure to list all funding sources and the names of all individuals involved in developing the intellectual property.

Ensure that any transfer of intellectual property, proprietary data, materials and/or technical information to foreign entities is addressed by an appropriate agreement. To determine whether your agreement is relevant, contact the Tulane OTT Executive Director at jchrist@tulane.edu or 504.988.6962. See additional information in the Guidance regarding Foreign Influence and Involvement in University Research at https://tulane.app.box.com/s/woutu8wlt8zk4sezbcb7nv4evhqsykc9.


4.  Maintain confidentiality in the peer review process

When serving on NIH, NSF or other federal agency scientific peer review panels, you must note and comply with all requirements to maintain the confidentiality of the information in research grant applications. Never share information gained through peer review processes—whether reviewing grant applications or publications. This information is confidential, and failure to adhere rigorously to peer review requirements can lead to disqualification to participate in future peer review or even to apply for U.S. government grants (e.g., NIH grants).

5.  Authorship and Citing sources of Support.

Sponsors regularly review publications disclosing the sponsor as supporting the research underlying the publication to ensure that all foreign components were approved by the sponsor and that other sources of support were disclosed to the sponsor. See additional information in the Guidance regarding Foreign Influence and Involvement in University Research at https://tulane.app.box.com/s/woutu8wlt8zk4sezbcb7nv4evhqsykc9.

6. Comply with import/export controls.

Reach out to the export control compliance officer at exportcontrols@wave.tulane.edu if you would like to review your research to ensure compliance with the research security-export control regulations. Please reference the RCO Export Control website for policies, FAQs, and guidance information.

Comply with 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.

Compliance with these regulations also requires that Tulane will not host visitors, enter into contracts, do business, or engage in any activity with entities listed on a United States Government Restricted Party List. The RCO’s Export Control Compliance Officer can easily and quickly screen people and entities to ensure they do not appear on any such listing.

7. Ask for assistance.

Questions – Information is available at the Tulane Conflict of Interest website  or by reaching out to coi@tulane.edu. Additional information is provided in the Guidance regarding Foreign Influence and Involvement in University Research at https://tulane.app.box.com/s/woutu8wlt8zk4sezbcb7nv4evhqsykc9.

The below guidance also describes how some of the different situations should be approached and help to identify possible concerns:
 

If you….

You should….

…have been invited to participate or are currently participating in a foreign talent recruitment program 

…not proceed or agree to participate until discussed and approved by Tulane University.


…alert your Dept Dean/Chair/Supervisor
 

…report in the online COI/COC disclosure system for guidance

…have been invited to work with Huawei or a subsidiary of Huawei. 

…not proceed or agree to participate until discussed and approved by Tulane University.


…alert your Dept Dean/Chair/Supervisor
 

…report in the online COI/COC disclosure system for guidance

…have travel reimbursed or sponsored by a foreign entity, individual or government 


…comply with Tulane’s travel policy, report in the outside travel system and obtain a Tulane issued ‘tools of trade’ letter where necessary

…disclose the relationship in
the online COI/COC disclosure system

…have a foreign entity propose a consulting relationship with you 

…disclose the relationship in the online COI/COC disclosure system

 

…have an active or proposed secondary, paid or unpaid, position with, a foreign institution 

…disclose the relationship in the online COI/COC disclosure system

…disclose the relationship to the Sponsored Projects Administration  

have been provided with funding by a foreign institution 

…disclose the relationship in the online COI/COC disclosure system

…disclose the relationship to the Sponsored Projects Administration  

…have ownership interest in a foreign company 

…disclose the relationship in the online COI/COC disclosure system

want to host a visiting scholar, student, tour group, or other individual from a foreign entity 

…work with the Office of Global and Regulatory Compliance and the International Student and Scholar Office to complete any necessary pre-visit paperwork 
 

…contact the Export Control Compliance Officer to discuss ‘deemed export’ restrictions

…have concerns or questions about a proposed collaboration or research project 

Contact us at:
EC: 
exportcontrols@wave.tulane.edu
COI: coi@tulane.edu

RCO: researchcompliance@tulane.edu


Once again, Tulane is committed to maintaining an open and robust research environment while complying with applicable laws and regulations and protecting the integrity of your research as well as that of our research enterprise overall. We realize that these requirements are complex. For that reason, we have included resources and links to information to assist you in understanding and complying with these obligations. We also know that we can’t anticipate all of the questions this information will prompt. As you think of other information you need or questions as they arise, please send them to  researchcompliance@tulane.edu.

NIH has posted FAQ questions regarding their requirements and will be updating it as questions come in.  If you have any questions not addressed there, please reach out to the Sponsored Programs Administration as appropriate.
 

Thank you for the important work you do and for working with us to ensure compliance with these issues and concerns. The staff in the offices that support research are dedicated to working together with you to protect the integrity of your research and that of our collective research enterprise. Together, we will continue to advance scientific knowledge while being mindful of our emerging role in ensuring that we understand and comply with the national security landscape.

Once again, further guidance can be reviewed at https://tulane.app.box.com/s/woutu8wlt8zk4sezbcb7nv4evhqsykc9.

Background:

Guide Notice from the NIH issued March 30, 2018 regarding investigator disclosures of foreign financial interests

Letter from NIH director, Francis Collins issued August 20, 2018 alerting the research community to “threats” from foreign entities

Department of Energy talent policy notification issued January 31, 2019 stating that the agency plans to implement a policy which will mandate that “federal and contractor personnel fully disclose and, as necessary, terminate affiliations with foreign gov

Department of Defense memo issued March 20, 2019 that outlines disclosure requirements for all key personnel listed on research and research related educational activities supported by DoD grants and contracts;

Department of Defense memo issued March 20, 2019 regarding protection of Intellectual Property (IP), Controlled Information, Key Personnel and Critical Technologies that outlines new requirements to be included in all DoD Notices of Funding Opportunities;

Department of Defense memo issued to academic universities on October 10, 2019 addresses the importance of international collaborations and the need for universities and their faculty to continue to work to protect the integrity of U.S. research. It also reiterates the need for research personnel to fully disclose conflicts of interest and commitment: “all research and research- related educational activities conducted through DoD research grants, cooperative agreements, Technology Investment Agreements, and other non-procurement transactions require key-personnel to disclose all current and pending projects, time commitments to other projects, and funding sources at the time of application”;

FY19 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes a provision alluding to the restriction of federal funding to institutions doing business with certain Chinese telecommunications companies;

FBI issued public service announcement document (PSA 20200716-2) that provides details regarding what Foreign Government-Sponsored Talent Recruitment Plans involve, so that individuals and institutions can better protect themselves and understand the cons

Notice Number NOT-OD-19-114

Christopher M. Dressler
Tulane University - Export Control Compliance Officer
office phone: 504.988.7919
mobile phone: 616.350.4136
fax: 504.988.1238
email: cdressler1@tulane.edu or exportcontrols@wave.tulane.edu
web: https://research.tulane.edu/compliance
scheduling: kleger@tulane.edu or 504.988.1147
location: 1440 Canal Street, Room 949-H, Mail Stop #8401, New Orleans, LA 70112