Page Updated: July 27, 2020
The following answers to frequently asked questions represent the best information RSP currently has. As the federal sponsors provide additional information or guidance, we will update these questions and answers as necessary. If you have questions, please contact RSP at email@example.com.
Note: These FAQs often use “Other Support.” Keep in mind this term is generally used by NIH. Other agencies use the term “Current and Pending Support.” These terms refer to the same requirements.
Though the term “foreign influence” has not been assigned a singular definition by the Federal government, it is described in the NSF JASON report as conduct that “might run counter to the U.S. values of science ethics.” Examples include reward – “offering of material or social goods in exchange for desired behavior”; deception – “providing incomplete, incorrect information on an application, proposal, or publication for the purpose of hiding or directing attention away from some activity”; coercion – “the threat of harm or disadvantage for the purpose of enforcing compliance with a demand”; and theft – “the taking of a physical object or protected idea without permission of the owner.” The Federal government asserts that these unethical means of influence are being used to acquire U.S. science and technology information.
Federal agencies are concerned about issues including diversion of intellectual property produced by federally-sponsored research to foreign entities or governments; sharing of confidential information by peer reviewers with foreign entities; and failure by some researchers to disclose substantial contributions of resources from other organizations. Agencies also question whether incomplete disclosures have resulted in inappropriate funding decisions.
While there is no standard definition of a foreign government talent recruitment program across the Federal government, the Department of Energy provided some characteristic information in DOE Order 486.1. Excerpts from the Order include the following:
The United States Senate (2019) issued a report describing concerns that participation in foreign government talent recruitment programs may involve conduct that is contrary to the values of the U.S. research enterprise, which include reciprocity, integrity, merit-based competition, and transparency.
No. Federal agencies and UW-Madison’s leadership have expressed the critical importance of international research collaborations. UW-Madison values these collaborations and intends to continue providing a welcoming environment for international scholars and students.
UW-Madison is staying abreast of these issues through their engagement with the Council on Governmental Relations, the Federal Demonstration Partnership, and other national organizations.
A working group has been convened through the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education to help faculty and staff understand the issues and their obligations. Specific questions from faculty and staff may be addressed as described on this website or to the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Individuals should contact Ben Griffiths, (608) 263-7400, in the Office of Legal Affairs to discuss the situation and determine appropriate next steps.
The following examples are based on guidance from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. Both agencies have indicated that Other Support should include all resources made available to a researcher in support of and/or related to all of an individual’s research endeavors. We recommend researchers disclose relationships with foreign entities regardless of sponsor. We also advise researchers to follow the guidance below for all federal agencies and to pay close attention to any agency-specific instructions for preparing other support documents. Guidance from federal agencies is evolving and may change over time.
Examples of activities that should be reported include:
Yes. Other Support includes foreign and domestic research collaborations that directly benefit the researcher’s research endeavors.
Yes, report visiting scholars on Other Support if a visiting scholar contributes to the individual’s research endeavors.
No. We believe the faculty member’s time has already been taken into account and no additional effort should be attributed to hosting a visiting scholar.
No. Hosting foreign individuals for non-research purposes, such as visits by foreign dignitaries, consular officials, and visits relating to international academic exchange programs, are not considered Other Support. Such visits may need to be flagged for other reasons, for example, to ensure compliance with export control regulations.
If the funding to visit China is run through the UW-Madison (RSP set up project), then there is no need to report on your Outside Activities Report. This funding should be included on your Other Support documents.
However, if the funds for the collaboration are paid to you directly, or the other institution is paying directly for the travel, then you should report this on your Outside Activities Report and identify the outside funding source. The funds may also need to be included on Other Support.
If you have any federal funding, you must report this travel on your Outside Activities Report. If this activity is directly related to your duties within the University, it’s likely this is not problematic. This does not need to be reported on Other Support documents because the presumption is that it did not involve a substantial commitment of time.
Yes, at the discretion of the faculty member it is allowable to provide staff assisting with the preparation of Other Support documents with a complete list of the faculty’s outside activities to allow the staff to make the initial draft of the Other Support documents. However, faculty should NOT provide staff with direct access to their OAR by sharing Net ID and password. And, faculty have the obligation to carefully review Other Support documents prepared by staff to ensure they are complete and accurate because faculty are ultimately responsible for the accuracy and completeness of Other Support documents even if prepared by staff.
Right now, there is no connection between OAR and Other Support, and the OAR captures certain information that is not reportable as Other Support, such as an ownership interest in a domestic corporation. However, we believe that anything reported on the OAR related to an individual’s research endeavors should be reported on Other Support, particularly those items related to any foreign relationship.
Ultimately, it is the PI’s responsibility to ensure compliance with DOE and other applicable government requirements. UW-Madison has a number of offices available to assist the PI comply with these requirements, including RSP, Conflict of Interest Office and Export Control Office. DOE awards may require certification that individuals working on a project are not also participating in a foreign talent program. If such a requirement is incorporated into the contract, RSP will facilitate reporting to DOE. For new awards or modifications, please contact the RSP Contracts team negotiator assigned to the WISPER record. For existing awards, please contact the RSP Post-Award accountant for your award.
The NIH may likely consider such a collaboration to be a foreign component, defined as “the performance of any significant scientific element or segment of a project outside of the United States, either by the recipient or by a researcher employed by a foreign organization, whether or not grant funds are expended.” Activities that meet this definition may include:
If the activity meets the definition of foreign component, one of the following actions will be required: