Undue Foreign Influence: Risks and Mitigations

Explore key ethical, export, security, intellectual property, and transparency requirements related to international engagement.

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About this Course


The impact of undue foreign influence in research, particularly at universities, remains a concern for U.S. federal officials and university administrators. This course provides university faculty, students, and others involved in international engagement with a concise overview of the risks and mitigations associated with undue foreign influence.

Learners will begin by reviewing the key concepts related to claims of undue foreign influence on the U.S. academic and research environment, including the publicly voiced concerns of federal funding agencies, federal law enforcement, and Congress. They will then learn about how undue foreign influence conflicts with the principles of research integrity, as well as the reporting requirements, U.S. government actions, and effective university practices that address undue foreign influence.

As a critical component of mitigating the risks associated with undue foreign influence, learners will further explore key cybersecurity practices, federal security and control regulations, and data privacy laws applicable to federally funded research activities. The course will close by providing learners with potential strategies to ensure that compliance with certain technology control and security requirements does not create unexpected conflicts with nondiscrimination laws.

This course was authored by Patrick Briscoe, University of Minnesota; Marci Copeland, MBA, University of California; Allen A. DiPalma, MBA, The University of Pittsburgh; Mary Duarte Millsaps, CRA, ECoP® (EAR & ITAR), Purdue University; and Wayne L. Mowery Jr., Esq, The Pennsylvania State University. It was peer-reviewed by experts.

Language Availability: English

Suggested Audiences: University Officials, Faculty, Research Team Members, Principal Investigators, Staff, Students

Organizational Subscription Price: $500 per year/per site
Independent Learner Price: $99 per person


Course Content


Introduction to Undue Foreign Influence Impacts and Concerns in Academia New Content

In this introductory module, learners explore key concepts related to claims of undue foreign influence on the U.S. academic and research environment, including publicly voiced concerns of federal funding agencies, federal law enforcement, and Congress. The module begins with an overview of the significance of openness in the academic environment. It then provides a brief overview of U.S. government concerns about issues at the intersection of research integrity, national security, international collaborations, and open scientific inquiry. It concludes with a review of specific areas of concern to federal funding agencies, federal law enforcement, lawmakers, and regulators

Recommended Use: Required
ID (Language): 20161 (English)
Author(s): Marci Copeland, MBA - University of California; Wayne L. Mowery, Jr., Esq, - The Pennsylvania State University

Reporting, Research Integrity, and Effective Practices to Manage Undue Foreign Influence Risk New Content

U.S. government lawmakers, federal agencies, and media have highlighted with increased frequency concerns about undue foreign influence directed at the U.S. research enterprise. In response to these U.S. government-driven concerns and actions, federal grant making agencies and U.S.-based universities have begun revisiting their policies that address reporting obligations, research security protocols, and conflict of interest and conflict of commitment practices. Reporting, transparency, and accountability are among the chief themes of federal and university strategies to minimize the risks of inappropriate non-U.S. threats that can distort and compromise the U.S. research enterprise. In this module, learners will explore reporting requirements for researchers, institutions, and federal agencies to manage undue foreign influence risk. In addition, they will learn about: the concept of research integrity and how undue foreign influence conflicts with its principles; research integrity violations and consequences of harmful behaviors attributed to foreign influence; and U.S. government actions and effective university practices that address undue foreign influence.

Recommended Use: Required
ID (Language): 20162 (English)
Author(s): Allen A. DiPalma, MBA - The University of Pittsburgh

Cybersecurity and Compliance Considerations for Safeguarding Research New Content

Most, if not all research is stored or processed on computers connected to the world through the internet. While advancements in computing have led to rapid scientific breakthroughs, these powerful tools also represent a significant vulnerability. Cyber-adversaries, especially state sponsored actors, have recognized this vulnerability and sought to exploit it. The federal government, recognizing these risks, has set new and more specific cybersecurity requirements on research awards to protect the investment of taxpayer dollars in scientific research. In this module, learners will explore these topics and identify cybersecurity practices that can help them protect their research. Critical to compliance, the module also covers key federal security and control regulations and data privacy laws applicable to federally funded research activities.

Recommended Use: Required
ID (Language): 20163 (English)
Author(s): Mary Duarte Millsaps, CRA, ECoP® (EAR & ITAR) - Purdue University

Nondiscrimination Considerations When Managing Undue Foreign Influence New Content

When developing strategies to address the risks of undue foreign interference within the academic research environment, personnel at educational and research institutions should be mindful of potential unintended consequences for the diverse, globalized communities of students, scholars, and scientists. In particular, they should guard against steps that might constitute inappropriate discriminatory measures or behavior. Such steps contradict the principles of mutual respect and openness central to the university culture of free inquiry, are destructive to healthy workplace norms, and could result in formal legal liabilities. In this module, learners will explore the occasional tension between nondiscrimination goals or laws and certain technology control and security requirements. To that end, the module presents key laws governing disparate or discriminatory treatment in educational and employment settings and outlines potential strategies to ensure that compliance with citizenship- or nationality-based control requirements does not create unexpected conflicts with nondiscrimination laws.

Recommended Use: Required
ID (Language): 20164 (English)
Author(s): Patrick Briscoe - University of Minnesota


FAQs


Who should take the Undue Foreign Influence course?

This course is designed for individuals across university settings who may be involved in research and need to be familiar with how to appropriately engage internationally. This course has been designed to provide information to faculty, students (particularly graduate students), and others on this critical topic.

How long does it take to complete the Undue Foreign Influence course?

This course consists of four modules. Each module contains detailed content and quiz as well as images, supplemental materials, and case studies (when appropriate).

Modules vary in length, and learners may require different amounts of time to complete them based on their familiarity and knowledge of the topic. However, modules are each designed to take about 25 to 35 minutes to complete, which means the entire course could take about two to three hours to complete.

Is this course eligible for continuing medical education credits?

This course does not currently have CE/CME credits available.

What are the standard recommendations for learner groups?

This course is designed to be completed in its entirety and sequentially. A recommendation is to set all modules as “Required” for initial completion.