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Foreign Influence in Federally Sponsored Research – Guidance

What is Foreign Influence?

“Foreign influence” has not been comprehensively defined by the federal government. However, various government agencies have identified foreign interests and activities that require federal disclosure. The National Science Foundation is the first agency to provide comprehensive guidance about what foreign interests and activities must be disclosed in its pre-award and post-award processes. Also, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)  provides some examples of behaviors that can “increase risk and harm the research enterprise".

Source: OSTP Enhancing the Security and Integrity of America’s Research Enterprise- Strategy Document, June 2020.
Graphic Source: OSTP Enhancing the Security and Integrity of America’s Research Enterprise- Strategy Document, June 2020.

Foreign influence that threatens the integrity of the research enterprise in the United States is a growing concern for Virginia Tech and federal agencies. Despite this concern, Virginia Tech remains committed to its strategic plan to continue its growth as a comprehensive global land-grant university. Virginia Tech values and encourages international research, collaboration, and scholarship where global citizens engage with different ideas, beliefs, perspectives, experiences, identities, backgrounds and cultures. Virginia Tech is equally committed to meeting regulatory compliance in all areas of our education and research activities so that we are responsible stewards of public and private funding.

While external activities including foreign collaborations are encouraged, the integrity of the institution and its research depends on a high degree of transparency regarding relationships with outside entities. Of particular concern are those relationships of individual researchers with foreign governments and other foreign entities that are not disclosed to the institution or to the federal agencies that support work at Virginia Tech. Researchers are required to fully disclose receipt of substantial resources from other organizations (including foreign governments), financial conflicts of interest, and appointments at foreign institutions, as well as other support that may negatively impact their primary commitment to their role at Virginia Tech or funding decisions of a federal agency. Failure to disclose could result in loss of funding or,in extreme cases, termination of employment.

Recently, several departments and agencies of the United States Government have imposed new foreign interest disclosure requirements, restrictions, or provided supplemental guidance related to personnel who participate in foreign talent programs, receive foreign government support (funded or unfunded), and also participate in U.S. Government contracts and other awards:

  • Department of Defense (DoD)
  • Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration (DoE/NNSA)
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • National Science Foundation (NSF)

The requirements are far-reaching. This guidance has been prepared to provide resources to ensure that research and educational activities conducted abroad or involving foreign partners on campus are conducted in compliance with Virginia Tech  policies and procedures, and obligations to federal sponsors.

Any new requirements will be highlighted prominently on this website, in addition to being communicated to all research administrators. Refer any questions to  foreigninfl@vt.edu.

Current Federal Foreign Influence and Foreign Interest Disclosure-related Statutes, Orders, and Guidance

On March 20, 2019 the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment issued a  DoD Memorandum on the further implementation of Sec. 1286 of the FY19 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Initiative to support protection of national security academic researchers from undue influence and other security threats. The memorandum requires proposers for all research and research-related education non-procurement transactions to submit detailed information on other current and pending support for all “key personnel.” The information is to be included in a Senior/Key Person Profile included in all Funding Opportunity Notices (NFOs). The requirement was effective for Non-Federal Organizations (NFOs) 30 business days after issuance of the memorandum. The memo cites use of OMB R&R Form 4040-0001 (Senior/Key Person Profile). Instructions including the definition of “Senior/Key Person” may be found here. For research and research-related educational NFOs (post May 1, 2019), reporting Current and Pending support is not optional.

According to the memorandum, “this information will be used to support protection of intellectual property, controlled information, key personnel, and information about critical technologies relevant to national security. Additionally, this information will be used to limit undue influence, including foreign talent programs, by countries that desire to exploit United States' technology within the DoD research, science and technology, and innovation enterprise.” 

In 2019 and 2020, the Department of Energy enacted two Orders that regulate disclosure of foreign national associations and access to, or participation in DoE sponsored programs. These orders DoE O 486.1 and 142.3 have been revised since being issued, with the most recent versions being 486.1A and 142.3B.

Department of Energy Order DOE 0-486.1A Department of Energy Foreign Government Talent Recruitment Programs

The Department of Energy (DoE), in its September 24, 2020 Order DOE 0-486.1A Department of Energy Foreign Government Talent Recruitment Programs, requires disclosure of Foreign Government Talent Recruitment Programs by any applicable Virginia Tech contract personnel in a DoE Award. The Order requirement prohibiting participating in a Foreign Country of Risk Talent Recruitment Program of a Foreign Country of Risk applies to Virginia Tech personnel if they visit a DoE/DoE Laboratory/NNSA site to perform R&D work.  The restrictions that follow can apply to any DoE/NNSA- funded contract, subcontract, federal flow through contract, including contract modifications, Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) and financial assistance agreements (e.g., grants, cooperative agreements).

Upon acceptance of a new DoE award, Virginia Tech must comply with the Order’s Contractor Requirements Document (CRD) (Attachment 1), which include the following:

  1. Virginia Tech must use due diligence to ensure that no contract personnel performing on a DoE/NNSA sponsored award that involves on-site visits to conduct R&D work are participants in any Foreign Government-Sponsored Talent Recruitment Program of a Foreign Country of Risk.
  2. If Virginia Tech discovers that any of its contract personnel are so participating, Virginia Tech has 30 days to either (a) stop its personnel from participating in a Foreign Government Talent Recruitment Program of a Foreign Country of Risk; or (b) stop the personnel from performing work within the scope of the DoE/NNSA award.
  3. Exemptions may be possible, in consultation with DoE/NNSA.
  4. Virginia Tech must submit quarterly reports with the DoE Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence and cognizant DoE Field Office for each disclosed activity.

 

Failure by Virginia Tech to reasonably ensure compliance may result in DoE/NNSA exercising "contractual remedies" (e.g., termination) in accordance with federal regulations and the terms of the award.

        DoE  0rder 486.1A Definitions

        DoE definitions for Contractor Employee, Contractor Personnel, Foreign Country of Risk, Foreign Country of Risk Sponsored or Affiliated Activity, Foreign Government-Sponsored Talent Recruitment Program, and Scientific and Technical Information are contained within the Order 486.1A (Attachment 2).

Department of Energy Order DOE O 142.3B Unclassified Foreign Visits and Assignments Program

The Department of Energy (DoE), in its January 15, 2021 DOE  Order O 142.3B Unclassified Foreign Visits and Assignments Program, requires U.S. Government review and approval of foreign national access requests to ensure that unauthorized access to DoE controlled or protected information, equipment, or technologies is denied. The restrictions that follow can apply to any DoE or DoE Laboratory- sponsored contract, subcontract, and federal flow through contract, including contract modifications, as well as Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) and financial assistance agreements (e.g., grants, cooperative agreements) involving foreign national access to DoE sites, information, equipment, or technologies. For the purposes of complying with the Order, a “foreign national” is defined as any person who is not a U.S. citizen by birth or naturalization. This Order replaces an earlier Order 142.3A. The new Order 142.3B requires submission of foreign nationals Cirriculum Vitae (CV) as part of the DoE review process.

DOE must specifically include the Order in new agreements or as modifications to existing agreements in order to be applicable. Upon acceptance of a new DoE sponsored agreement containing the Order or terms related to the Order, Virginia Tech must comply with the Order’s Contractor Requirements Document (CRD).

All Contractor foreign national access to DoE sites, programs, information, equipment, and technologies for unclassified purposes must be approved by the Department of Energy. 

Access approval for foreign nationals from countries identified on the U.S. Department of State’s list of State Sponsors of Terrorism must be granted by the Secretary of Energy or the Secretary’s assignee before they can commence any work under an award. 

NETL uses Form NETL F 142.1-1A “Request for Unclassified Foreign National Access (Short Form)”, which can be found under Post Selection Forms/Information. 

In its July 10, 2019 Notice NOT-OD-19-114 Reminders of NIH Policies on Other Support and on Policies  and accompanying FAQs related to Financial Conflicts of Interest and Foreign Components, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reminded the community (including universities) that applicants and awardees must disclose all forms of research and other support and financial interests, including support coming from foreign governments or-other foreign entities.  Support can also include in-kind support such as foreign laboratory facilities (“Shadow Labs”), and other forms of unfunded support. Support is reported as either Foreign Components or Other Support, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement

NIH recently modfied  its Biosketch and Other Support forms, effective May 25, 2021 (see NOT-OD-021-073 and NOT-OD-021-110). Principal changes to the Biosketch form include addition of a Senior/ Key Personnel signature block for the Program Director/Principal Investigator or Other Key Personnel to certify the accuracy of the information submitted.

As defined in NOT-OD-021-073 Other Support includes all resources made available to a researcher in support of and/or related to all of their research endeavors, regardless of whether or not they have monetary value and regardless of whether they are based at the institution the researcher identifies for the current grant. 

If you have questions about what to disclose, refer to the new NSF Pre-award and Post-Award Disclosures Relating to the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support table.

Updated Requirements for Recipients include:

Effective May 25, 2021, NIH requires the following:

  • Supporting documentation, which includes copies of contracts, grants, or any other agreement specific to senior/key personnel foreign appointments and/or employment with a foreign institution for all foreign activities and resources that are reported in Other Support. If the contracts, grants, or other agreements are not in English, recipients must provide translated copies. Note: contact the Associate Vice President for Research and Innovation, Sponsored Programs before producing any documents.
  • Immediate nofication of undisclosed Other Support. When a recipient organization discovers that a PI or Senoir/Key Personnel on an active NIH grant failed to disclose Other Support information outside of Just-in-Time or the RPPR, as applicable, the recipient must submit updated Other Support to the Grants Management Specialist named in the NIH Notice of Award as soon as it becomes known.

NOTE: Based on correspondence with NIH senior staff, use of the updated forms after May 25, 2021 is encouraged by NIH, but not mandatory. After January 25, 2022, failure to follow the appropriate formats may cause NIH to withdraw applications from or delay consideration of funding. 

NIH can and does penalize institutions and researchers who do not disclose all forms of foreign financial interests.  In May and June of 2019, NIH referred 16 cases related to foreign influence of U.S.-funded research to the Office of Inspector General and contacted 160 research institutions about such concerns.  In proposals for NIH funding sent to the Virginia Tech Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP), faculty must be sure to disclose all foreign financial relationships with foreign governments, foreign government entities, and other foreign sources.

  NIH Definitions:

Foreign Components

Other Support

Shadow Lab: NIH has used but not defined the term "Shadow Lab".

On February 25, 2020, the National Science Foundation (NSF) revised Current and Pending Support (C&P) & Biographical Sketch language in a Proposal & Award Policies and Procedures Guide (Current and Pending Support in the PPAG).  The new guidance include NSF-approved formats for the Biographical Sketch; SciENcv and Current and Pending Support fillable pdf forms, and FAQs. In June 2021, NSF released a new Propsal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 22-1). Guidelines include a table of foreign activities  that must be disclosed in its preaward and postaward processes. The table provides helpful reference information regarding preaward and postaward disclosure information in the biographical sketch and current and pending support proposal sections. The table identifies where these disclosures must be provided in proposals as well as in project reports.

Use of the table is encouraged by NSF. Use of the table will become mandatory on the effective date of October 4, 2021.

 Current and Pending Support

Current and pending support information must be separately provided through use of an NSF-approved format, for each individual designated as senior personnel on the proposal.

Current and pending support includes all resources made available to an individual in support of and/or related to all of his/her research efforts, regardless of whether or not they have monetary value. Current and pending support also includes in-kind contributions (such as office/laboratory space, equipment, supplies, employees, students).

 In-kind contributions not intended for use on the project/proposal being proposed also must be reported.

 Current and pending support information must be provided for this project, for ongoing projects, and for any proposals currently under consideration from whatever source, irrespective of whether such support is provided through the proposing organization or is provided directly to the individual.

Biographical Sketch(es)

Appointments: a list must be provided, in reverse chronological order by start date of all the individual's academic, professional, or institutional appointments beginning with the current appointment. Appointments include any titled academic, professional, or institutional position whether or not remuneration is received, and whether full-time, part-time, or voluntary (including adjunct, visiting, or honorary)

Facilities, Equipment, and Other Resources

Proposers should include an aggregated description of the internal and external resources (both physical and personnel) that the organization and its collaborators will provide to the project, should it be funded. Such information must be provided in this section, in lieu of other parts of the proposal (e.g., Budget Justification, Project Description). The description should be narrative in nature and must not include any quantifiable financial information.

Also, in a July 11, 2019 Dear Colleagues Letter, NSF provided the following guidance: it is NSF policy that university personnel subject to an Interdepartmental Personnel Agreement (IPA) with NSF cannot participate in foreign government talent recruitment programs.

In addition to providing information at the proposal stage, faculty are required to provide updated information regarding changes of Current and Pending Support throughout the project.  For further guidance, see New requirements for Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) effective October 5, 2020.

 

Faculty and Staff Foreign Interest Disclosure Responsibilities

How and When to Disclose to Virginia Tech

Employees must disclose additional work commitments and financial interests in accordance with Virginia Tech’s Individual Conflicts of Interest and Commitment Policy (No. 13010). Foreign interests and participation in foreign talent and government recruitment programs should be disclosed in the university's Disclosure and Management System. Please visit the Disclosure Guidelines & Requirements page for more information. Contact the Virginia Tech Research Conflict of Interest (RCOI) Program at COI@vt.edu if you have questions regarding disclosure requirements under this policy. 

Note that disclosing your interests in the Disclosure and Management System does not alleviate your obligation to notify OSP of any disclosure requirements to individual sponsors. Contact foreigninfl@vt.edu regarding questions on individual grant or contract disclosure requirements.  

How and When to Disclose to NIH

See NOT-OD-021-073 and NOT-OD-021-110. Use new Biosketch form and PHS 398/2590 other support form here. Refer to previous guidance herein.

File in the NIH ERA when “Just in Time” supplemental files are required.

File when changes to other support occur via the annual RPPR.

Virginia Tech is obligated to file immediate notification of undisclosed Other Support to the Grants Management Specialist named in the Notice of Award as soon as it becomes known. Notify OSP  whenever new or previously undisclosed Other Support occurs. 

When reporting a donation considered to be Foreign Component support, NIH program staff have requested the following information be provided:

  • The date in which the donation was received.
  • The total amount of the donation. 
  • How the donation was expended and if the funds were used specifically for the award.

Failure to disclose can result in loss of certain government agencies funding as well as personal liability.

For more information, see the Virginia Tech FAQs, the NIH FAQs,  or contact foreigninfl@vt.edu  if you have questions regarding these disclosure requirements.

How and When to Disclose to NSF

File in Fastlane at proposal submission. Use guidance for Current and Pending Support for senior project personnel and Facilities, Equipment, and Other Support.

Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 22-1)  effective date October 4, 2021. 

Use the table entitiled NSF Pre-award and Post-award Disclosures Relating to Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support to determine what and when to disclose. Though it becomes effective October 4, 2021, awardees may begin using this table immediately. 

The new guidance include NSF-approved formats for the Biographical Sketch; SciENcv and Current and Pending Support fillable pdf forms, and FAQs.

File when changes to Current and Pending Support or Facilities, Equipment and Other Support occur using the RPPR

The new forms should be used now. 

How and When to Disclose to DoD

In responses to any DoD Notices of Funding  Opportunities (NFO) after April 19, 2019, faculty are required to submit detailed information on other current and pending support for all “key personnel” for all DoD funded non-procurement research and research-related educational activities  (e.g., grants, cooperative agreements). This disclosure requirement includes foreign financial interests and participation in foreign talent and government recruitment programs. Employee information will be submitted using OMB R&R Form 4040-0001 (Senior/Key Person Profile). When required, proposers shall submit:

A list of all current projects being worked on, in addition to any future support the key person has applied to receive, regardless of the source;

    Title and objectives of the other research projects;

    Percentage per year to be devoted to the other projects;

    Total amount of support the key person is receiving in connection to each other research project or will receive if     other proposals are awarded;

    Names and address of the agencies and/or other parties supporting other research projects;

    Period of performance for other research projects.

This information will be used by the Department of Defense to limit undue foreign influence on "key personnel". 

For more information, see the FAQs or contact foreigninfl@vt.edu  to determine if this requirement is applicable to your DoD proposal, solicitation, or award.

How and When to Disclose to DoE

 Foreign Government Entity or Foreign Talent Recruitment Programs

When DoE Order 486.1A or its Contractor Requirement Document (CRD- Attachment 1) is incorporated into  the terms and conditions of a DoE or DoE Prime Contractor (e.g., DoE National Laboratory), Virginia Tech must disclose  participation in Foreign Government Entity or Foreign Talent Recruitment Programs for certain sensitive countries (as determined by DoE)  by any participant (funded or unfunded) who is also participating in a DoE/ NNSA contract. The disclosure requirement can apply to any DoE-funded contract, subcontract, federal flow-through contract, and contract modification. Disclosure is required at contract award, and at any subsequent time at when applicable Virginia Tech contract employees participate in a foreign government talent recruitment program of a foreign country of risk.

This disclosure requirement applies to any Virginia Tech contract employee or subcontractor employee or joint appointee from another institution performing work within the scope of such a DOE contract either on-site at the DOE/NNSA site/facility or in DOE/NNSA/contractor leased space.

Virginia Tech employees who are also foreign country of risk government employees or joint appointees, or participants in a foreign government talent recruitment program, cannot perform work within the scope of a DoE/NNSA contract. 

  • Virginia Tech has five (5) business days to disclose any such applicable Virginia Tech contract participants to DoE. Virginia Tech has  thirty (30) days to ensure that neither it nor any such employees or joint appointees are participants in a foreign government talent recruitment program and performing work within the scope of the DoE/NNSA contract.
  • Virginia Tech must  must file reports with DOE on a quarterly basis stating whether it or any such employees or joint appointees are participants in a foreign government talent recruitment program of a foreign country of risk, or whether the contractor has a reasonable basis to report such employees or joint appointees as a participant in a foreign government talent recruitment program of a foreign country of risk.

Failure to disclose can result in loss of DoE/NNSA funding as well as personal liability.

Foreign Visits and Access to DoE Sites, Information, Equipment, and Technology

When DOE Order 142.3(A), DoE Order 142.3B, and/or DOE O 142.3(A or B) Contractor Requirements Document (CRD) is incorporated in the terms and conditions of a DoE sponsored award, Virginia Tech must disclose and seek approval for foreign nationals to participate in the award. The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) and Office of Export and Secure Research Compliance (OESRC) will assist with completion of the Form NETL F 142.1-1A “Request for Unclassified Foreign National Access (Short Form)” or other applicable sponsor provided documentation. 

Be mindful of the new Order 142.3B requirements for providing Cirriculum Vitae and preparing a Site Security Plan (SSP) when applicable. These requirements are discussed in the CRD. 

For more information, see the FAQs or contact foreigninfl@vt.edu to determine if these disclosure and participant resrictions are applicable to your DoE contract.

FAQs

Foreign scholars and researchers (funded or unfunded) working on a federally sponsored project must be listed as Other Support.

For NSF and NIH proposal disclosures (remember you only provide the Current and Pending (C/P) Support for NIH at Just in Time submission and not at proposal submission) a percent effort that can be disclosed in the support disclosed on the Current and Pending Support form. An example would be if a visiting scholar is going to provide effort on the award, paid by the sponsor’s funds.

For DoD disclosures in response to Post-April 19, 2019 Notice of Financial Opportunities (NFOs) (grant and cooperative agreement proposals), visiting scholar and other foreign support can be reported in the OMB Form 4040-0001 RESEARCH & RELATED Senior/Key Person Profile (expanded) “Attach Current & Pending Support” file”.

For DoE solicitations and contracts referencing DoE Order O 486.1A Department of Energy Foreign Government Talent Recruitment Programs, disclosure is made in accordance with the Contract Requirements Document (CRD). Some flow down sponsors may provide their own terms and conditions, frequently in excess of what is required by DoE. These terms are reviewed and negotiated by OSP to terms compliant with the DoE Order O486.1 on a case by case basis with the prime contractor.

For DoE awards referencing DoE Order O 142.3(A or B) Virginia Tech must disclose and seek approval for foreign nationals to participate in the Award. OSP and OESRC will assist with completion of the Form NETL 142.1-1A "Request for Unclassified Foreign National Access (Short Form) or other applicable sponsor-privided documentation. Note that DoE Order 142.3B requires submission to DoE of Ciriculum Vitae (CVs) for all foreign national participants. The CVs must cover at least the previous 10 years with no breaks in reporting. 

Foreign students on sponsored research do not need to be disclosed as individuals, especially if all such work will be performed in the U.S. They collectively can be disclosed on the Other Support form with “Virginia Tech anticipates [does not anticipate] using foreign postdoctoral candidates and/or students in any award resulting from this proposal.”

In some instances disclosure may be required. If the foreign student is considered a “Senior/Key Person” (DoD), or is a “sensitive country foreign government employees or joint appointees, or participant in a foreign government talent recruitment program” (DoE), disclosure is required.

Also, there may be cases in which working with a student might be considered working with 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." In such cases, disclosure is also required.

Any other resources (including cash or non-cash gifts, materials, reagents, equipment, direct paid travel, or items of value such as free sequencing, data access, tissues, etc.) that support your research program should be listed as Other Support. NSF disclosure can be made on the Biosketch or  “Faculties, Equipment and Other resources” proposal sections. For NIH, disclosure can be made on the Biosketch or  PHS 398/2590 OTHER SUPPORT section of the proposal.NIH disclosure of other support should be made in the Just In Time filing.  For DoD, disclosure can be made on the OMB R&R Form 4040-0001 (Senior/Key Person Profile).

For DoE solicitations and contracts referencing DoE Order O 486.1 or 486.1A Department of Energy Foreign Government Talent Recruitment Programs, disclosure is made in accordance with the Contract Requirements Document (CRD). Solicitations and contracts subject to DoE  Some flow down sponsors may provide their own terms and conditions, frequently in excess of what is required by DoE. These terms are reviewed and negotiated by OSP to terms compliant with the DoE Order O486.1 on a case by case basis with the prime contractor. 

Federal guidance varied  regarding these activities needing to be disclosed as Other Support. Virginia Tech recommends disclosure of these activities to the federal government when foreign influence-related disclosure is required. If you have questions about whether to disclose or how to disclose an affiliation or activity, contact foreigninfl@vt.edu.

Yes – contact foreigninfl@vt.edu to have your application corrected. Remember, in the case of Department of Energy disclosures, a change regarding a participant’s sponsorship by a foreign entity or involvement in a Foreign Government Talent Recruitment Program must be reported to the agency or prime contractor within 5 business days.

No. Foreign influence that threatens the integrity of the research enterprise in the United States is a growing concern for federal agencies. Despite this concern, Virginia Tech remains committed to its strategic plan to continue its growth as a comprehensive global land-grant university.

Virginia Tech values and encourages international research, collaboration, and scholarship where global citizens engage with different ideas, beliefs, perspectives, experiences, identities, backgrounds and cultures. Virginia Tech is equally committed to meeting regulatory compliance in all areas of our education and research activities so that we are responsible stewards of public and private funding.

No. For many years, Virginia Tech—through the Office of Export and Secure Research Compliance (OESRC) and the Global Travel Oversight Committee (GTOC)—have provided country-specific guidance for Virginia Tech persons traveling abroad, focused on concerns regarding safety, security, and compliance obligations. The guidance has changed little with the recent foreign influence issues discussed herein.

Virginia Tech’s Office of the Provost,  Office of Vice President for Research and Innovation, and Office of Audit, Risk, and Compliance established a working group to review Virginia Tech’s current policies and procedures, implement process improvements, and provide guidance to the Virginia Tech community on this rapidly evolving topic. As rules change at the federal level and new policies or processes are proposed at Virginia Tech, those updates will be posted on this site and shared broadly across campus.

Any affiliations or appointments (foreign or domestic) that involve a commitment of your time or intellectual energy 1) must be disclosed to the university in accordance with Virginia Tech Policy 13010 via the Online Disclosure and Management System and 2) require prior approval by your department and college. Further, for the purposes of completing sponsored program applications, such affiliations should be reported in the positions and honors section of your NIH biosketch or appointments section of your NSF biosketch.

Any affiliations or appointments (foreign or domestic) that involve a commitment of your time or intellectual energy 1) must be disclosed to the university in accordance with Virginia Tech Policy 13010 via the Online Disclosure and Management System and 2) require prior approval by your department and college. Additionally, the research funding must also be disclosed in the Other Support or Current and Pending section of proposals and annual reports.

Whether you need to correct an omission or error in a previously submitted proposal or progress report, or you have a new activity to report, please contact to foreigninfl@vt.edu.

Disclosing in this situation is necessary as it may have an impact on your sponsored research portfolio or how a sponsor may view your other commitments relative to performing work for them.  If you have additional questions or would like to discuss whether or not a specific situation should be disclosed in light of this guidance, please contact foreigninfl@vt.edu .

 

Yes. The DoD memo requests a list of all current projects that key personnel are working on, “whether or not the individuals’ efforts under the project are to be funded by the DoD”. We encourage PIs to be transparent in their disclosures, and include all projects funded by gifts, grants or contracts, as well as unfunded projects or collaborations that require disclosure on Conflict of Commitment reporting.

No. The March 20, 2019 memo only applies to new NFOs after April 19, 2019. Note that the memo only applies to research and research-related educational activities.

Virginia Tech must apply for approval of foreign national access to DoE sites, information, technologies, and equipment. Virginia Tech’s interpretation of this definition includes information provided by a DOE sponsor or generated under a DOE agreement where the Order is applied. DOE has the ability to include the Order’s disclosure and approval requirements in any DOE agreement (grant, cooperative agreement, contract, CRADA). DOE must specifically include the Order in new agreements or as modifications to existing agreements in order for its terms to be applicable. This order may also apply to any agreements with National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) or any DOE national laboratories

Pursuant to DOE Order 142.3A, the Recipient, including its subrecipients or contractors, is required to provide information to the Department of Energy (DOE) in order to satisfy requirements for foreign nationals’ access to DOE sites, information, technologies, equipment, programs, or personnel. A “foreign national” is defined as any person who is not a U.S. citizen by birth or naturalization. If the Recipient (including its subrecipients or contractors) anticipates involving foreign nationals in the performance of its award, the Recipient is required to provide DOE with specific information about each foreign national to ensure compliance with the requirements for access approval. Foreign nationals from any country will not be permitted access to DOE sites, information, technologies, and equipment without prior approval of DOE. In addition, access approvals for foreign nationals from countries identified on the U.S. Department of State’s list of State Sponsors of Terrorism must be granted by the Secretary of Energy or the Secretary’s assignee before they can commence any work under the award.

If Virginia Tech accepts an agreement where DOE Order 142.3A or B applies and the program is currently, or anticipates using foreign national(s) in the performance of the award, then Virginia Tech must submit information to DOE as required by the CRD in the Order. The CRD for Order 142.3B requires submission of a CV for each foreign national to be approved.

There is currently no DoE-wide guidance or standard form to submit foreign national approval requests. The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) does have a Request for Unclassified Foreign National Access (Short Form) which addresses these requirements. In order to comply at this time, the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) and Office of Export and Secure Research Compliance (OESRC) will assist with completion of the Form NETL F 142.1-1A “Request for Unclassified Foreign National Access (Short Form)”. A copy of NETL F 142.1-1A is located at https://www.netl.doe.gov/business/business-forms/financial-assistance under Post Selection Forms/Information. Completed forms and the associated required documents should be submitted to your contact at OSP. As these documents contain personal identifiable information (PII), appropriate precautions must be taken in their handling and submission.

The requirement to use an NSF-approved format for preparation of the biographical sketch and current and pending support will go into effect for new proposals submitted or due on or after October 5, 2020.

Biographical Sketch Fillable PDF FAQs

View a list of NSF-approved formats for biographical sketch.

The NSF-approved format for the biographical sketch PDF can be identified by viewing the title in the document properties. Right click anywhere in the document and select Document Properties; NSF-approved documents have the title “NSF Biosketch 20-1."

For users who choose to use the fillable PDFs, NSF recommends Adobe Acrobat Reader in preparing their biographical sketch for an optimized experience.

In particular, Mac users are encountering upload and proposal printing issues when using software other than Adobe Acrobat Reader to complete NSF Fillable PDFs. Proposers should download and save the blank PDF document first, and then use Adobe Acrobat Reader to add content. The completed and saved PDF can then be uploaded via FastLane, Research.gov or Grants.gov.

NSF recommends proposers download and save the blank PDF document prior to adding content. Populating content directly into a web browser (e.g., Chrome or Safari) may result in formatting inconsistencies. The completed and saved PDF can then be uploaded via FastLane, Research.gov or Grants.gov. formatting requirements.

When a user is preparing their form using Apple Preview and copies and pastes content that exceeds the available space in the form, Preview may reduce the font size to allow the content to fit in the space provided.

Users can verify/adjust the font size for their content in the Tools -> Text Selection menu and/or streamline their content to fit within the space provided.

If a submitted document does not meet the NSF NSF Fillable PDF FAQs 2 Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide formatting requirement this could result in your proposal being returned without review.

If you populated the NSF-fillable PDF form directly in a web browser (e.g., Chrome or Safari) and selected the "Save to PDF" or "Print to PDF" function from that web browser, this could cause the data that NSF systems use to validate the NSF-approved format to become corrupted, resulting in errors when proposers attempt to upload the PDF document to NSF systems.

NSF recommends proposers download and save the blank PDF document prior to adding content to avoid formatting inconsistencies. The completed and saved PDF document can then be uploaded via FastLane, Research.gov or Grants.gov.

We encourage users to submit their biographical sketch using the format released May 1, 2020. Proposals may be submitted using the version released in March 2020 will also be accepted.

This version contains the following updates based on community feedback:

  • Removed the NSF ID entry;
  • Replaced instructional text with links to the relevant PAPPG chapters to maximize available space;
  • Increased the space available for the Products section; and
  • Adjusted the Synergistic Activities section to increase space for other sections

Detailed policy information about the content is available in the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG), Chapter II.C.2.f.

The PAPPG requires that publication citations "include full citation information, including (where applicable and practicable) the names of all authors..." Senior personnel that wish to include publications in the products section of the biographical sketch that include multiple authors may, at their discretion, choose to list one or more of the authors and then "et al." in lieu of including the complete listing of authors' names.  See the PAPPG Chapter II.C.2.f(i)(c) for complete information.

NSF will continue to refine these formats based on feedback from the community, particularly around spacing. Feedback can be submitted via Research.gov using the feedback tool. Under site area, select "Biographical Sketch." Note that SciENcv offers users more flexibility for the preparation of the biographical sketch.

Listed synergistic activities should be specific and must not include multiple examples to further describe the activity. See the PAPPG Chapter II.C.2.f(i)(d) for complete information. NSF Fillable PDF FAQs 3 NSF will continue to refine these formats based on feedback from the community, particularly around spacing.

Feedback can be submitted via Research.gov using the feedback tool. Under site area, select "Biographical Sketch." Note that SciENcv offers users more flexibility for the preparation of the biographical sketch.

The requirement to use an NSF-approved format for preparation of the biographical sketch will go into effect for new proposals submitted or due on or after October 5, 2020. In the interim, proposers must continue to prepare these documents in accordance with the guidance specified in the PAPPG (NSF 20-1).

Prior to enforcement of an NSF-approved format, biographical sketches must still comply with the content requirements specified in PAPPG (NSF 20-1), Chapter II.C.2.f.

Yes. Biographical Sketch documents will be tagged with identifiers indicating they were prepared in an NSF-approved format. When NSF begins enforcing the use of an NSF-approved format, Biographical Sketch documents not uploaded in an NSF-approved format will trigger a compliance error that will prevent proposal submission in FastLane, Research.gov, and Grants.gov.

Feedback can be submitted via Research.gov using the feedback tool. Under site area, select "Biographical Sketch."

For immediate response about technical issues or IT system-related questions regarding the NSF fillable PDF formats, please contact the NSF Help Desk at 1-800-673-6188 (7:00 AM - 9:00 PM ET; Monday -Friday except federal holidays) or via fastlane@nsf.gov.

Policy-related questions should be directed to policy@nsf.gov. If you have technical or IT system-related questions regarding the NSF fillable PDF formats, please contact the NSF Help Desk at 1-800-673-6188 (7:00 AM - 9:00 PM ET; Monday - Friday except federal holidays) or via fastlane@nsf.gov.

Current and Pending Support Fillable PDF FAQs

For users who choose to use the fillable PDFs, NSF recommends Adobe Acrobat Reader in preparing their current and pending support documents for an optimized experience.

In particular, Mac users are encountering upload and proposal printing issues when using software other than Adobe Acrobat Reader to complete NSF Fillable PDFs. Proposers should download and save the blank NSF Fillable PDF FAQs 4 PDF document first, and then use Adobe Acrobat Reader to add content.

The completed and saved PDF can then be uploaded via FastLane, Research.gov or Grants.gov.

The NSF-approved formats available will be accepted by NSF systems. Identified font sizing updates will be addressed in a future enhancement of this form.

View a list of NSF-approved formats for current and pending support.

The NSF-approved format for current and pending support can be identified by viewing the title in the document properties. Right click anywhere in the document and select Document Properties; NSF-approved documents have the title “NSF CPS 20-1."

SF recommends proposers download and save the blank PDF document prior to adding content. Populating content directly into a web browser (e.g., Chrome or Safari) may result in formatting inconsistencies. The completed and saved PDF can then be uploaded via FastLane, Research.gov or Grants.gov.

When a user is preparing their form using Apple Preview and copies and pastes content that exceeds the available space in the form, Preview may reduce the font size to allow the content to fit in the space provided. Users can verify/adjust the font size for their content in the Tools -> Text Selection menu and/or streamline their content to fit within the space provided.

If a submitted document does not meet the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide formatting requirement this could result in your proposal being returned without review.

If you populated the NSF-fillable PDF form directly in a web browser (e.g., Chrome or Safari) and selected the "Save to PDF" or "Print to PDF" function from that web browser, this could cause the data that NSF systems use to validate the NSF-approved format to become corrupted, resulting in errors when investigators attempt to upload the PDF document to NSF systems. NSF recommends proposers download and save the blank PDF document prior to adding content to avoid formatting inconsistencies.

The completed and saved PDF document can then be uploaded via FastLane, Research.gov or Grants.gov.

We encourage users to submit their biographical sketch using the format released May 1, 2020. Proposals may be submitted using the version released in March 2020 will also be accepted.

This version contains the following updates based on community feedback:

  • Removed the NSF ID entry;
  • Increased the number of Project/Proposal entries from 10 to 15 to support the majority of proposals
    submitted to NSF;
  • Updated the Award Number field to allow the entry of both numbers and letters; and
  • Updated “Calendar Year” labels and text to “Year” for consistency with the Proposal & Award
    Policies & Procedures Guide.

The requirement to use an NSF-approved format for preparation of current and pending support will go into effect for new proposals submitted or due on or after October 5, 2020.

Prior to enforcement, current and pending support must still comply with the content requirements specified in the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 20-1), and we encourage the use of an NSF-approved format when documenting your current and pending support information (please visit the NSF Current and Pending Support Policy page for a list of available formats), as they include all the information required for NSF to assess the capacity of the individual to carry out the research as proposed as well as to help assess any potential overlap/duplication with the project being proposed.

Detailed information about the content is available in the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG), Chapter, II.C.2.h. An updated set of frequently asked questions related to current and pending support also is available.

The requirement to use an NSF-approved format for preparation of current and pending support will go into effect for new proposals submitted or due on or after October 5, 2020.

When NSF begins enforcing the use of an NSF-approved format, current and pending support documents not uploaded in an NSF-approved format will trigger a compliance error that will prevent proposal submission in FastLane, Research.gov, and Grants.gov.

Prior to enforcement, current and pending support must still comply with the content requirements specified in the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 20-1), and we encourage the use of an NSF-approved format when documenting your current and pending support information (please visit the NSF Current and Pending Support Policy page for a list of available formats), as they include all the information required for NSF to assess the capacity of the individual to carry out the research as proposed as well as to help assess any potential overlap/duplication with the project being proposed.

The NSF fillable format is a static document and blank pages should not be deleted. Any edits to this document will result in a non-compliant document that will prevent proposal submission in FastLane,  Research.gov or Grants.gov NSF Fillable PDF FAQs 6

Note that SciENcv offers users more flexibility in preparing current and pending support for submission with proposals. The document generated by SciENcv will be compliant with current proposal submission  requirements as well as the NSF approved format requirements effective October 5, 2020.

The NSF fillable format allows for a maximum of 15 projects/proposals to be reported on current and pending support. If you need to report more than 15, please use the SciENcv format where you can report an unlimited number of projects/proposals and/or in-kind contributions.

Individuals should only include projects to which they are committing time/person months. Please remove this entry from your current and pending support documentation and re-generate your PDF document so your proposal contains the accurate support information. For additional information, see the updated NSF-issued set of FAQs on Current and Pending Support.

Yes. Current and pending support documents will be tagged with identifiers indicating they were prepared in  an NSF-approved format. When NSF begins enforcing the use of an NSF-approved format, current and pending support documents not uploaded in an NSF-approved format will trigger a compliance error that will prevent proposal submission in FastLane, Research.gov, and Grants.gov.

Feedback can be submitted via Research.gov using the feedback tool. Under site area, select "Current & Pending Support."

For a timely response about technical or IT system-related questions regarding the NSF fillable PDF formats, please contact the NSF Help Desk at 1-800-673-6188 (7:00 AM - 9:00 PM ET; Monday - Friday except federal holidays) or via fastlane@nsf.gov.

Policy-related questions should be directed to policy@nsf.gov. If you have technical or IT system-related questions regarding the NSF fillable PDF formats, please contact the NSF Help Desk at 1-800-673-6188 (7:00 AM - 9:00 PM ET; Monday - Friday except federal holidays) or via fastlane@nsf.gov.

A table entitled, NSF Pre-award and Post-award Disclosures Relating to the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support, has been developed to provide additional helpful reference information regarding pre-award and post-award disclosure information in the biographical sketch and current and pending support proposal sections.

The table identifies where these disclosures must be provided in proposals as well as in project reports.

The Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), Chapter II.C.2.h states “Current and pending support includes all resources made available to an individual in support of and/or related to all of his/her research efforts, regardless of whether or not they have monetary value.” Senior personnel are required to provide “the number of person-months (or partial person-months) per year to be devoted to the project by the individual.” NSF uses the information provided to assess the capacity of the individual to carry out the research as proposed, as well as to help assess any potential overlap/duplication with the project being proposed.

Person-month information included in current and pending support may differ from the person-months requested on the budget for a given project.

It is important to note that NSF is not asking for how much time is specified on the budget for a particular individual(s); rather, for their Current and Pending Support submission, how much time the individual(s) is/are planning to spend to complete the scope of work on the proposed project and/or award. If the individual(s) will be spending time on the proposed project or award, then that time must be reported in Current and Pending Support.

For projects that exceed five years, individuals should report on the next five years of the project in current and pending support. For example, if the individual is in year three of a ten-year award, they would report on years three through seven.

If you are reporting person-months that span two calendar years, you should enter the latter year. For example, if your entry covers your organization’s fiscal year of June 2021 through May 2022, you would enter “2022” for the year and include the corresponding person-months as defined and used by your organization in proposals submitted to NSF.

In most cases, NSF accepts proposals from and awards grants to an organization, not to an individual. In submitting a proposal and/or accepting federal funds under a grant instrument, proposers/grantees assume legal and financial responsibility and accountability for the content of the submitted proposal, any awarded funds and the performance of the grant-supported activity.

As such, proposers/grantees are responsible for all information and data provided to the federal agency under the proposal or grant agreement and may need to confirm the accuracy and completeness of the information that its employees provide to the AOR in order to appropriately comply with NSF’s policies on reporting current and pending support. NSF does not dictate the terms of or interfere with the employment relationship between the grantee and its employees. Organizations will need to establish whatever internal communication or other processes they believe are necessary in order to provide the required current and pending support information.

An individual need not identify any mentoring activities in their current and pending support submission that take place as part of their regular appointment at the proposing organization. If an individual, however, receives in-kind support either directly or through their organization from an external source to support mentoring of undergraduate or graduate students, that in-kind support, including the time associated with such mentoring, should be identified in the individual’s current and pending support submission.

“Research endeavors” in the context of the guidance provided in PAPPG Chapter II.C.2.h. does refer to the endeavors of the particular individual. The current and pending support information that must be provided is all planned, pending, and current support that is either provided directly to the individual, or to the individual through their organization in support of that individual’s research endeavors. Therefore, a trainee’s research does not need to be reported.

If an HHMI investigator is proposed to serve as senior personnel and is not requesting salary compensation in the NSF budget, then their name, and the estimated amount of time to be devoted to the project should be identified in the Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources section of the proposal.

If a PI or co-PI is not requesting salary support, they should be removed from the budget and their name and the estimated amount of time to be devoted to the project should be identified in the Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources section of the proposal.

The total award amount requested or received by the subawardee organization must be provided in Current and Pending Support.

Yes, if your organization seeks NSF funding, the information must be disclosed. Section 223 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (Public Law No: 116-283 (01/01/2021)) and NSF policies require disclosure, even if such funding is deemed confidential.

To the extent allowed by law, NSF does not publicly disclose any information regarding pending proposals. With regard to proposals that receive NSF funding, NSF typically does not disclose information in the proposal regarding current and pending support from non-U.S. Government sources. NSF needs the information in the current and pending support section of the proposal to assess PI capacity and potential overlap/duplication.

Yes, in addition to ongoing projects and proposals currently under consideration from whatever source, the current and pending support information also must be provided for this proposed project and listed as “Pending”. See PAPPG Chapter II.C.2.h for additional guidance.

In instances when senior personnel are not actively working on a project during each year, only years in which they are committing time should be listed. In the example above, only years 1 and 3 would be entered in current and pending support. Year 2 would not be listed.

Case Studies

The Ohio State University Case Study [Updated August 2021]

Dr.  Song Guo Zheng, an rheumatology professor and researcher at The Ohio State University, was sentenced to 37 months in prison for making false statements to federal authorities as part of an immunology research fraud scheme. Dr. Zheng was also ordered to pay more than $3.4 million in restitution to NIH and approximately $413,000 to The Ohio State University.

Dr. Zheng admitted that he lied on applications in order to use approximately $4.1 million in grants from NIH to develop China's expertise in the areas of rheumatology and immunology. He concealed his participation in Chinese government talent recruitment programs, including the Chinese government's Thousand Talent program, and hiding his affiliations with at least five research institutions in China.  

Southern Illinois University-Carbondale Case Study

On April 21, 2021, Dr. Mingqing Xiao, a mathematics professor and researcher at Southern University of Illinois-Carbondale (SIUC) was charged with two counts of wire fraud and one count of making false statements. Dr. Xiao is accused of fradulently obtaining $151,099 of federal grant money from NSF by concealing support he was receiving from the Chinese government, and Shenzhen University, a Chinese university. 

Nationwide Children's Hospital Research Institute Case Study

On April 20, 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice reported that Yu Zhou and his wife and co-conspirator Li Chen, pled guilty to charges of conspiring to steal at least five trade secrets related to exosome research from Nationwide Children's Hospital Research Institute (NCHRI). Chen was sentenced in February fo 30 months in prison for her role in the scheme. 

According to court documents, Zhou and Chen worked at separate medical research labs at NCHRI for ten years. Zhou and Chen conspired to steal and monetize one of the trade secrets by creating and selling exosome "isolation kits". They started a company in China to sell the kits.

As part of their convictions, the couple will forfeit approximately $1.45 million, 500.000 shares in common stock of Avalon GlobaCare Corporation, and 400 shares of common stock of GenExosome Technologies Inc. They were also ordered to pay $2.6 million in restitution. 

Georgia Tech Case Study

On March 18, 2021, Gee-Kung Chang, a Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) professor, was charged with conspiracy to commit visa fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and wire fraud. According to the charges, Dr. Chang and Jainjun Yu, then a research director at ZTE USA- a subsidiary of ZTE Corporation, a partially state-owned Chinese telecommunications and information technology company- in Morristown, New Jersey, allegedly conspired together to bring Chinese nationals to the United States to conduct research at the company. 

To facilitate the entry of the Chinese nationals into the United States, Chang allegedly abused his position as a professor at Georgia Tech, an institution that was a designated exchange sponsor for the Department of State's J-1 Visa program, to arrange for Chinese nationals to fraudulantly obtain and maintain J-1 Visas. The indictment alleges that the Chinese nationals indicated that they would be working with Chang at Georgia Tech, however, they actually traveled to and resided in New Jersey, working with Yu at ZTE USA.

Stanford Case Study

On February 18, 2021, the Justice Department announced that "a federal grand jury issued a superseding indictment charging Chen Song, a Stanford University visiting researcher, with visa fraud, obstruction of justice, destruction of documents, and false statements in connection with a scheme to conceal and lie about her status as a member of the People's Republic of China's military forces while in the United States while in the United States". 

Van Andel Research Institute Case Study

The Department of Justice reached a $5.5 million settlement with Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) to resolve allegations of undisclosed Chinese grants to two researchers. The settlement resolves certain factual misrepresentations VARI made to NIH with deliberate ignorance or reckless disregard for the truth regarding the Chinese grants.

MIT Case Study

An MIT professor, Dr. Gang Chen is accused of failing to disclose contracts, appointments, and awards from various entities in the People's Republic of China to the U.S. Department of Energy.

University of Kansas Case Study [Updated August 2021]

Dr. Tao, a University of Kansas Professor is accused of failing to disclose an employment contract with Fuzhou University. He continued to receive federal research dollars without disclosing this relationship and certifying that he had no conflict of interest or commitment. Revised charges were filed in July 2020, ading 7 counts of wire fraud. A motion to dismiss was denied in November 2020.

In August 2021, attorneys for Dr. Tao filed a motion to dismiss the case, alleging that the FBI knowingly used false information to obtain search warrants, and deliberlately withholding information that would have undercut an informant's credibility and the reliability of the evidence.

University of Virginia Case Study

While attempting to leave the United States, UVA professor Dr. Haizhou Hu was arrested and charged with accessing a computer without authorization, or exceeding authorization to obtain information from a protected computer and theft of trade secrets. Hu allegedly unlawfully possessed bio-inspired research simulation software code that he was not authorized to possess, and which represented the result of years of research and resources in its development by members of the UVA academic community.

As reported in the Wall Street Journal September 23, 2020, charges against Dr. Hu were dropped.

Texas A&M Case Study

Texas A&M professor Dr. Zhengdong Cheng working on U.S. space projects allegedly hid affiliations with two Chinese state-owned academic and commercial institutions been charged with conspiracy, making false statements and wire fraud.

"Professor Cheng allegedly made false statements to his university and to NASA regarding his affiliations with the Chinese goverment."

In additon to the funds, Cheng personally benefited from his affiliation with TAMU and NASA with increased access to unique NASA resources , such as the International Space Station. This access allegedly allowed Cheng to further his standing in China at Guandong University of Technology and other universities. The charges further allege he held senior research positions there unknown to TAMU and NASA and was able to serve in the People's Republic of China Talents program.

University of Arkansas Case Study

“Simon Saw-Teong Ang, 63, of Fayetteville, Arkansas, was arrested on Friday, May 8, 2020, on charges related to Wire Fraud.  The complaint charges that Ang had close ties with the Chinese government and Chinese companies, and failed to disclose those ties when required to do so in order to receive grant money from NASA.  These materially false representations to NASA and the University of Arkansas resulted in numerous wires to be sent and received that facilitated Ang’s scheme to defraud.”

Emory University Case Study

On May 8, 2020, Dr. Xiao-Jiang Li of Atlanta, Georgia, pleaded guilty to a criminal information charging him with filing a false tax return and has been sentenced by a U.S. District Judge and ordered to repay over $35,000 to the Internal Revenue Service.  Dr. Li, a former Emory University professor and Chinese Thousand Talents Program participant, worked overseas at Chinese Universities and did not report any of his foreign income on his federal tax returns.

University of West Virginia Case Study

 Dr. James Patrick Lewis, of Fairview, West Virginia, has admitted to a fraud charge involving West Virginia University, the Department of Justice announced. In July 2017, Lewis, a tenured physics professor at West Virginia University, entered into a contract of employment with the People’s Republic of China through its “Global Experts 1000 Talents Plan.

“Lewis defrauded a public university into giving him leave, so that he could satisfy his competing obligations to a Chinese institution, which he hid from the school,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers.

University of Tennessee Knoxville Case Study (Updated)

Dr. Anming Hu, an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) was arrested February 27, 2020 on a federal indictment and charged with three counts of wire fraud and three counts of making false statements.

“Hu allegedly committed fraud by hiding his relationship with a Chinese university while receiving funding from NASA,”

Dr. Hu was accused of failing to disclose an affiliation with Beijing University of Technology. Dr. Hu’s false representations and omissions to UTK about his affiliation with BJUT caused UTK to falsely certify to NASA that UTK was in compliance with this federal law.

The case was dismissed as a mistrial in June 2021. In August 2021, prosecutors announced they will seek a retrial.

Harvard University, Boston University, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Case Studies

Harvard University Professor and Two Chinese Nationals Charged in Three Separate China Related Cases

Dr. Charles Lieber, 60, Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University, was arrested January 28, 2020 and charged by criminal complaint with one count of making a materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statement. 

  • Failed to disclose 9 month per year contractual commitment to Wuhan University of Technology (WUT)
  • Failed to disclose $200K per month in WUT pay and living expenses
  • Failed to disclose $1.5M in WUT lab construction expenses

Yanqing Ye, 29, a Chinese national, was charged in an indictment January 28, 2020 with one count each of visa fraud, making false statements, acting as an agent of a foreign government and conspiracy.

  • Failed to disclose active duty PLA commission and relationship with National University of Defense Technology, an embargoed Chinese entity on a visa application
  • While studying at Boston University, accessed U.S. military websites, researched U.S. military projects and compiled information for the PLA on two U.S. scientists with expertise in robotics and computer science

Zaosong Zheng, 30, a Chinese national J-1 visa researcher at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, was arrested on Dec. 10, 2019, at Boston’s Logan International Airport and charged by criminal complaint with attempting to smuggle 21 vials of biological research to China.  On Jan. 21, 2020, Zheng was indicted on one count of smuggling goods from the United States and one count of making false, fictitious or fraudulent statements.  He has been detained since Dec. 30, 2019.

  • Failed to disclose export of biological samples
  • Made false statements

 

Recent News

How to Get Assistance:

Faculty members should be encouraged to contact their Associate Dean for Research for an initial discussion regarding any foreign affiliations related to their research efforts. Questions regarding individual grants and contracts can be directed to foreigninfl@vt.edu.