Science & Security: Recent Developments

Columbia University is closely monitoring activities by Congress and Federal agencies relating to Science and Security. This site will be updated as new rules, updates, guidance or clarifications to existing requirements are issued.

  • A former Emory University neuroscientist has been charged with defrauding the U.S. government by taking a salary from a Chinese institution while also being paid through research grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Read the story here. (posted Feb 7 2020)

  • U.S. prosecutor discusses DOJ’s “China Initiative” and the recent arrest of Harvard’s Charles Lieber.  Read the article here(posted Feb 3 2020)

  • The U.S. Department of Justice announced yesterday that a prominent Harvard professor has been arrested and charged with making false statements about his ties to a foreign talent recruitment program and university in China. Articles in Science and the New York Times provide additional information about his arrest. (posted Jan 29 2020)
  • A cancer researcher traveling from Boston to China was arrested after U.S. Customs agents searched his luggage and found multiple vials of cancer cells taken from a laboratory at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.  Under questioning, the researcher acknowledged that he had stolen the samples and replicated more based on a colleague’s research, and that he planned to publish the results under his own name.  Read the New York Times article here (posted Jan 2 2020)
  • Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) will pay $5.5 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by submitting federal grant applications and progress reports to the NIH in which VARI failed to disclose Chinese government funding for two VARI researchers. Read the Department of Justice press release here (posted Dec 20 2019)
  • The NSF commissioned JASON, an independent group of scientists that advises the U.S. Government on science and technology matters, to assess whether the openness of the U.S. academic fundamental research ecosystem is being taken advantage of by other countries. The resulting JASON report, titled Fundamental Research Security, was released in December 2019. Read the JASON report Fundamental Research Security (posted Dec 16 2019)
  • The U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations recently released a report, Threats to the U.S. Research Enterprise: China’s Talent Recruitment Plans. The report reviews the impacts these talent recruitment plans have on the U.S. research enterprise. A copy of the report is available here (posted Dec 16 2019)

  • The NY Times recently reported that there are nearly 200 ongoing investigations of potential intellectual property theft at universities. Read the NY Times article (posted Dec 12 2019)