Senator Grassley has previously made similar enquiries to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Department of Defense. His October 2018 letter to NIH prompted investigations into a dozen allegations of “noncompliance related to medical research” by the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services. Earlier this month, NIH Director Francis Collins revealed during a Senate budget hearing that investigations of foreign scientists receiving NIH funds are currently underway at 55 institutions and some scientists have been found guilty of not appropriately disclosing foreign funding, redirecting intellectual property generated by their U.S. institution, or sending grant proposals to a foreign country, allowing for the theft of ideas. Collins indicated that some researchers could potentially be fired. Some U.S. universities are expected to announce actions they have taken to address foreign threats to NIH-funded research in the near future.
Readers of BioScience were alerted to investigations of foreign influence likely spreading to other agencies in an editorial published in the April 2019 issue. The editorial warned, “Researchers, regardless of whether funded by the NIH or another federal agency, should take our renewed national attention to international security and intellectual property seriously,” and that the inquiries into NIH research could be directed to other agencies as well. Read the editorial here: https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/article/69/4/235/5427088