As a Carnegie Tier One research university, the University of North Texas takes great pride in the partnerships and research collaborations we have built with universities and organizations worldwide. UNT is a place where people from every culture and background bring creativity to advance global knowledge. As just one example, at 4 p.m. Sept. 17 in Marquis 130, we are hosting a reception for this year’s visiting international scholars. We are committed to fostering international collaborative partnerships while promoting full transparency about our relationships.
Today, we write to you to discuss the rising tensions between the U.S. and China. The federal government has raised serious concerns about incidents of alleged economic espionage conducted by individuals on university campuses. The federal government believes that this is part of a systematic effort of foreign governments, and specifically the Chinese government, to acquire intellectual property. Federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health have issued “dear colleagues” letters calling on universities to be vigilant in watching for potential foreign influence, including intellectual property theft, sharing of confidential information and failure of researchers to disclose resources provided by other organizations.
As a result of concerns raised by the federal government, we want to raise awareness within the UNT campus community regarding issues of improper foreign influence in scholarship. UNT has in place prudent policies to protect against potential influence. We want to remind all of our UNT employees who conduct research that you must disclose the following information:
- Report all forms of scholarly financial support, including from foreign sources and gifts, at the grant proposal stage in NIH’s Other Support, the NSF’s Current and Pending and in similar documentation submitted to other sponsors. Other federal agency sponsors may have different requirements. PIs should review all pending proposals and active awards to ensure that all Other Support has been disclosed. If you identify an omission or error in a previously submitted proposal or progress report, you should contact the Office of Grants and Contracts (firstname.lastname@example.org) for assistance in correcting the error.
- Disclose all personal financial interests related to an externally funded scholarly project to the Office of Research Integrity and Compliance as required by UNT’s Conflict of Interest policy and procedures (https://policy.unt.edu/policy/13-005). This includes reporting all reimbursed or sponsored travel related to PHS-supported projects. Contact Jamie Peno (email@example.com) for assistance.
- Disclose any non-UNT employment or commitments as required by UNT’s Dual Employment policy (https://policy.unt.edu/policy/05-008). Activities undertaken for the benefit of non-UNT organizations or individuals must not interfere with your job responsibilities. Individuals involved in sponsored research must account for the distribution of time and effort between full time duties and any responsibilities resulting from outside employment and/or outside professional commitments. Each outside employment activity must be reported via the request for outside employment form.
Contact Jamie Peno (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Justin Cook (email@example.com) with the Office of Research Integrity and Compliance for guidance about export control regulations, including international travel and shipping or taking items outside the United States. This includes, for example, guidance on how to appropriately travel with a laptop to a foreign country.
Disclose any potential inventions or other intellectual property in a timely manner, including any IP that involves international collaborations or involvement, to Michael Rondelli (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the Office of Innovation and Commercialization.
We have an obligation to follow UNT policies and federal rules and regulations in order to protect our national security. Yet, we must take care to ensure we continue to foster an intellectual community that values the scholarly contributions of partners across the globe. We want to make sure our faculty, post-docs, research staff and students are treated fairly based on their intellectual contributions, not scrutinized because of their national origin.
Our strength as a Carnegie Tier One research university is that we are constantly welcoming new people and new ideas into our campus community and that together we are creating the knowledge that will advance society.