Once-Secret Chinese Infiltration Has Overwhelmed A Top US Science Funder

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Laurel Duggan Social Issues and Culture Reporter
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The National Science Foundation (NSF) said Wednesday that it is unable to keep pace with the high volume of complaints it receives over grantees allegedly violating rules that mandate they disclose support from China and other countries.

NSF has recovered $7.9 million from 23 grantees who failed to disclose foreign funding for their projects. While NSF does not track demographics of researchers, scientists with ties to China made up all but one of the cases, according to the publication Science.

“China should not be allowed to pay U.S. scientists to transfer research to China,” Maria Zuber, vice president for research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told the U.S. House of Representatives science committee. (Former Police Officer Comes Out To Say China Is Detaining, Torturing Innocent Uyghurs In Interview)

NSF Inspector General Allison Lerner told legislators that 63% of the foundation’s internal investigations are foreign interference cases, Science reported. Science estimates that NSF is currently investigating as many as 80 cases involving foreign influence.

Zuber explained the need for better communication and understanding between researchers and law enforcement in dealing with this issue. “Academics are a data-driven community and they want to see evidence,” she said. Law enforcement agencies, however, “tend to keep things secret until there is an actual prosecution.” (RELATED: Biden And Xi Jinping Agree To Hold Virtual Summit Before End Of Year)

The world’s largest funder of biomedical research, The National Institutes of Health (NIH) leads the China Initiative, which investigates China and whether it’s stealing intellectual property developed through U.S.-funded research. NIH has flagged 540 scientists who are potentially breaking foreign interference disclosure rules, Science reported.