NIH investigation of financial ties to foreign govts results in 54 departures; China involved in 93% of cases

Approximately 54 scientists have resigned or been fired as a result of an ongoing investigation by the National Institutes of Health into the failure of NIH grantees to disclose financial ties to foreign governments.

“In 93% of those cases, the hidden funding came from a Chinese institution,” reported the publication Science.

Michael Lauer, NIH’s head of extramural research in a presentation to a senior advisory panel offered a detailed breakout of an effort NIH launched in August 2018 that has roiled the U.S. biomedical community, and resulted in criminal charges against some prominent researchers, including Charles Lieber, chair of Harvard University’s department of chemistry and chemical biology.

“It’s not what we had hoped, and it’s not a fun task,” NIH Director Francis Collins said in characterizing the ongoing investigation. He called the data “sobering.”

NIH has been in the forefront of federal efforts to identify and block behavior that many U.S. government officials say poses a significant threat to the country’s economic well-being and to national security.

Several bills pending in Congress seek to limit that threat in various ways, including by limiting the flow of scientific talent from China to the United States, and by restricting access to federally funded research that provides a foundation for cutting-edge technologies and new industries.

The full Science story can be found here.

Image source: NIH; sciencemagazine.org

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