International Affiliations in Research

As a Carnegie Tier One research university, the University of North Texas takes great pride in the partnerships and research collaborations we have built with universities and organizations worldwide. UNT is a place where people from every culture and background bring creativity to advance global knowledge. To support continued collaborations, it is important that all faculty and staff members understand the current regulatory landscape and serious growing concerns by the US Government concerning inappropriate influence by foreign entities over federally funded research.  As a result, academic research institutions have a heightened interest in understanding the affiliations and dealings faculty members may have with foreign governments and entities. 

Background

Federal agencies have issued statements expressing growing concerns over the potential for foreign influence in the following areas: 

  • failure by some researchers to disclose substantial contributions of resources from other organizations, including foreign governments; 

  • diversion of intellectual property to foreign entities; 

  • sharing of confidential information by peer reviewers with others, including in some instances with foreign entities, or otherwise attempting to influence funding decisions. 

Recent communications regarding foreign threats include 

  • Guide Notice from the NIH issued on March 30, 2018 regarding investigator disclosures of foreign financial interests;  

  • letter sent by NIH director, Francis Collins on August 20, 2018 alerting the research community to “threats” from foreign entities;  

  • Department of Energy talent policy notification dated January 31, 2019 stating that the DOE plans to implement a policy which will mandate that “federal and contractor personnel fully disclose and, as necessary, terminate affiliations with foreign government-supported talent recruitment programs;” 

  • the FY19 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes a provision alluding to the restriction of federal funding to institutions doing business with certain Chinese telecommunications companies. 

Disclosure of Foreign Relationships and Activities

While UNT encourages most international collaborations, we advise researchers to be transparent when disclosing foreign relationships and activities.  

The following details ways in which foreign relationships and activities can be disclosed: 

  • When completing the first step in the proposal process, select “yes” when answering  
    the question “Will you have any international collaborators (funded or unfunded) in this proposal?” and “Will any non-U.S. persons be involved in this proposal or contract as a PI, Co-PI, researcher or staff?” 

  • All investigators on sponsored projects should check the sponsor’s current disclosure requirements carefully and follow the disclosure requirements 

  • Review and update Other Support and Current and Pending Support information in proposals ensuring accuracy 

  • Review and update biosketches 

  • Review COI disclosure and update as necessary 

  • Report all reimbursed or sponsored travel related to PHS-supported projects 

Safeguarding Intellectual Property and Sensitive Research

Disclose any potential inventions or other intellectual property in a timely manner, including any IP that involves international collaborations or involvement, to Research Commercial Agreements

We have an obligation to follow UNT policies and federal rules and regulations in order to protect our national security. Yet, we must take care to ensure we continue to foster an intellectual community that values the scholarly contributions of partners across the globe. We want to make sure our faculty, post-docs, research staff and students are treated fairly based on their intellectual contributions, not scrutinized because of their national origin.  

Contacts

If you have any questions related to disclosure of foreign relationships and activities, contact Jamie Peno or UNT’s Office of University Compliance and Ethics.