U.S. DOE ‘Foreign Talent Recruitment Program’ Disclosure Requirement

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) contracts require disclosure of investigators’ affiliations, if any, with “foreign government-sponsored talent recruitment programs” in certain countries. This requirement applies to subcontracts to the University that involve work by an investigator at a DOE or contractor facility.

Definition of “Foreign government-sponsored talent recruitment program” 

In general, such programs include any foreign-state-sponsored attempt to acquire U.S. scientific-funded research or technology through government-run or funded recruitment programs that target scientists, engineers, academics, researchers, and entrepreneurs of all nationalities working or educated in the U.S. These recruitment programs are often part of broader whole-of-government strategies to reduce costs associated with basic research while focusing investment on military development or dominance in emerging technology sectors.

Distinguishing features of a foreign government talent recruitment program covered by this Order include:

  1. Compensation provided by the foreign state to the targeted individual in exchange for the individual transferring their knowledge and expertise to the foreign country. The compensation can take several forms, such as cash, research funding, honorific titles, career advancement opportunities, promised future compensation, or other types of remuneration or other consideration.
  2. Recruitment in this context refers to the foreign-state-sponsor’s active engagement in attracting the targeted individual to join the foreign-sponsored program and transfer their knowledge and expertise to the foreign state. The targeted individual may be employed and located in the U.S., or in the foreign state. Recruitment would not necessarily include any invitation for engagement extended by the foreign state, for example, an invitation to attend or present work at an international conference.
  3. Many, but not all, programs aim to incentivize the targeted individual to physically relocate to the foreign state. Of particular concern are those programs that allow for continued employment at U.S. research facilities or receipt of DOE research funds while concurrently receiving compensation from the foreign state.

A copy of the DOE Order implementing this requirement can be reviewed at the following site: https://www.directives.doe.gov/directives-documents/400-series/0486.1-BOrder-a

The Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET) has created a tracker to catalog publicly available information about Chinese Talent Recruitment Programs. The Chinese Talent Program Tracker is a catalogue of Chinese Party-State-sponsored initiatives aimed at cultivating China’s domestic talent pool in support of China’s strategic civilian and military goals. To learn more, visit the CSET website.

For questions about the DOE Disclosure Requirement, contact your SPA project officer.