Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Audrey Anderson provided insight for an article published by Science in response to the Biden administration’s directive calling for all federal agencies to establish consistent policies on how scientists report funding sources when applying for federal grants. By creating similar policies across agencies, the Biden administration is hoping to further protect federally funded research projects from foreign interference or possible theft by foreign governments. The directive, issued by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), also requires agencies to provide research security training to scientists and instructs agencies how to share information on both violations and “potential violations” of disclosure requirements.

Audrey raised concern related to the “potential violations” disclosure requirement, saying “If an agency later finds [a ‘potential violation’] was not a violation, will they also share that information? An allegation jeopardizes the reputations of the university and the scientist,” she added, even if they are later found blameless.

Audrey also speculated about the deadline set by OSTP Director cautioning, “It’s one thing for the White House to say it, but it’s another thing to do it. They have provided agencies with a template and instructions. But will agencies actually implement the guidance?”

The full article, “White House Calls for Consistent Rules for Disclosing Foreign Research Funding,” was published by Science on January 10 and is available online.