Bipartisan Bill Aims to Protect Research from Foreign Spies

A handful of representatives hope to address academic espionage at American colleges by pushing legislation that coordinate federal efforts to secure federally funded research from foreign influence. 

Reps. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., Anthony Gonzalez, R-Ohio, Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, and Frank Lucas, R-Okla., announced the Securing American Science and Technology Act on May 30. The bill promotes standardization of federal approaches to academic espionage while maintaining collaboration and a welcoming environment for foreign talent at U.S. higher-education institutions, they say.

The legislation would mandate the head of the Office of Science and Technology Policy to set up an interagency working group of science, intelligence, and security agencies to evaluate mechanisms of control of federally funded research. It would also work to create a policy framework to address the security needs of agencies and federal grant recipients.

The bill also forms a roundtable to facilitate an ongoing dialogue among federal science and security agencies and academia on these topics and to share best practices through public reports. 

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