A newly released letter from a government watchdog has shed a little light on an ongoing U.S. government effort to scrutinize federally funded biomedical research for potentially problematic foreign involvement.
The letter reveals that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, recently asked federal investigators to review 12 allegations of rule violations, mostly involving researchers at U.S. universities who allegedly failed to disclose foreign affiliations on their grant proposals.
The letter also discloses that over the past 5 years, investigators at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), NIH’s parent agency, referred two cases to prosecutors that involved federally funded scientists who allegedly failed to disclose foreign ties or stole intellectual property. Neither of those cases appears to have involved NIH. (HHS also oversees other research agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.) In both cases, the Department of Justice declined to file civil or criminal charges.