Overview

Federal agencies are increasing the requirements for principal investigators (PIs) to disclose their foreign sources of support and to disclose how those sources are being used to support the proposed and related research. UC Berkeley researchers who receive federal funding for research activities need to be aware of these requirements and how each federal agency interprets what is meant by foreign sources of support. Some of these requirements have been in place for some time and others are new or are being interpreted differently and/or more rigorously than in the past.   

Questions about how to interpret these new agency requirements are being raised by advocacy groups such as the Council on Governmental Regulations (COGR), and in some cases these discussions are likely to lead to modifications in the federal agency guidance. It is therefore important for campus researchers to stay up-to-date on new federal requirements and any modifications as these become available. This webpage is designed for this purpose.

Guidance issued by federal agencies related to the potential impact on grants and contracts is provided below. If you have any questions regarding specific proposals or awards, please contact your SPO Contract and Grant Officer.

National Institutes of Health

The National Institutes of Health issued Reminders of NIH Policies on Other Support and on Policies related to Financial Conflicts of Interest and Foreign Components NOT-OD-19-114) on July 10, 2019.

Among the key points are:

  • All pending support at the time of application submission and prior to award must be reported.
  • Applicants are responsible for promptly notifying NIH of any substantive changes to previously submitted pending support.
  • If other support is obtained after the initial NIH award period, the details must be disclosed in the annual research performance progress report.
  • Post-award, recipients must address any substantive changes by submitting a prior approval request to NIH.

NIH also issued Frequently Asked Questions about Other Support and Foreign Components.

Note: These disclosure requirements are in addition to the PHS Conflict of Interest disclosure requirements.


National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation Director sent out a Dear Colleague Letter: Research Protection clarifying numerous policies on July 11, 2019.

Among the key points are:

  • NSF is proposing to use an electronic format for submission of biographical sketches, including disclosure of all appointments.
  • NSF has commissioned a study to assess risks and recommend possible practices for NSF and its awardee organizations to achieve the best balance between openness and security of science.
  • NSF is issuing a policy making it clear that NSF personnel and IPAs detailed to NSF cannot participate in foreign government talent recruitment programs.

Note: These disclosure requirements are in addition to the NSF Conflict of Interest disclosure requirements.


U.S. Department of Defense

Recent Broad Agency Announcements (BAAs) from Defense agencies such as DARPA are seeking more detailed disclosures on the sources of support for Principal Investigators and other Key Personnel. National Security Impact Statements are now features of these proposals, with particular attention being paid to plans to transfer technology to U.S. industry and disclosures on whether technologies developed under the contract will be transferred to foreign entities. Proposers are also instructed to disclose any prior instances of transfer of technology to foreign entities.

On March 20, 2019, the Undersecretary of Defense announced new requirements for all new DoD Notices of Funding Opportunities (NFOs) pertaining to new research and research-related educational activities after April 19, 2019.

See the excerpt below and the full March 20, 2019 memo for details.

Excerpt:

Proposers must submit the following information for all key personnel—not just the PI and Co-PI—whether or not the individuals' efforts under the project are to be funded by the DoD:

  • A list of all current projects the individual is working on.
  • Any future (pending) support the individual has applied to receive, regardless of the source.
  • Title and objectives of each of these research projects.
  • The percentage per year each of the key personnel will devote to the other projects.
  • The total amount of support the individual is receiving in connection to each of the other research projects or will receive if other proposals are awarded.
  • Name and address of the agencies and/or other parties supporting the other research projects.
  • Period of performance for the other research projects.

DoD indicates that failure to submit this information may cause the proposal to be returned without further review. DoD also reserves the right to request further details from a proposer before making a final determination on funding the effort.


DoD: Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I have to report all of my projects, even if they are unrelated to my DoD-funded proposal?

  1. Yes. The 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.

Q: Do I need to disclose US-based industrial support?

  1. Yes. The memo does not distinguished between foreign and domestic sources of corporate support. In the spirit of complete transparency, philanthropic gift support as well as industrial alliances and contract and grant support from corporate entities should be disclosed.

Q: I am responding to an NFO that was issued prior to April 19, 2019. Do these rules still apply?

  1. 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.

U.S. Department of Energy

The U.S. Department of Energy issued a directive on June 7, 2019 that prohibits DOE and contractor personnel from participating in talent recruitment programs operated by certain foreign countries. While this directive does not directly affect faculty who are unaffiliated with DOE or its National Labs, it illustrates a pervasive concern across the federal agencies. DOE is still developing guidance to its community of university performers.