Please read the important notice below from Elizabeth H. Simmons, Executive Vice Chancellor, Academics Affairs and Sandra A. Brown, Vice Chancellor, Research.
UC SAN DIEGO
University of California San Diego
OFFICE OF EXECUTIVE VICE CHANCELLOR - ACADEMIC AFFAIRS
OFFICE OF THE VICE CHANCELLOR - RESEARCH
January 25, 2019
ALL ACADEMICS AT UC SAN DIEGO
KEY ADMINISTRATORS/KEY SUPPORT STAFF
SUBJECT: New Federal Requirements: Why you MUST disclose all foreign engagements and what this means for you
UC San Diego is committed to sustaining an environment that attracts and retains the brightest scholars and most exciting scholarship - and likewise is committed to the University of California's principles of academic freedom. Our many talented foreign scholars and students are essential to the research and education enterprise on our campus and we value their contributions highly.
At the same time, like all other institutions of higher education, our university and its faculty must adhere to federal reporting and disclosure requirements. Not doing so could result in loss of federal funding, not only for the individual who failed to report, but for the institution as a whole.
Last year, the National Institutes of Health and Department of Defense issued guidance with respect to those agencies' growing concerns over the potential for foreign influence. Specifically, there is a heightened concern that certain foreign entities may be seeking to influence U.S. research at all levels including peer review, diversion of intellectual property, sharing of confidential information and the use of resources originating outside the U.S. While other federal agencies have not yet come forward with their own guidance, it is very likely they will follow suit.
Sustained federal research funding is critical to UC San Diego's success and impact; therefore, we must comply with existing and new policies and regulations, including those related to full disclosure of foreign engagements, conflicts of interest and conflicts of commitment.
*It is your professional responsibility to completely and accurately disclose all external financial interests and support, affiliations, activities and relationships with any foreign entities. The University of California requires all faculty to submit an annual Conflict of Commitment (COC) report indicating whether or not they have engaged in outside activities during the fiscal year. Outside professional activities are separated into three categories: Categories I and II include activities that must be reported and in the case of Category I, must receive prior approval before the faculty member engages in the activity. Examples of Category I activities include:
- Faculty or research appointments at other institutions (even if uncompensated)
- Directorships of labs, centers or programs at other institutions (even if uncompensated) Disclosure forms are required even if faculty members have nothing to disclose. Deans are responsible for ensuring that all faculty members submit an annual disclosure and that the disclosures are accurate. Read more about COC requirements on blink: https://academicaffairs.ucsd.edu/aps/reports/apm/index.html
*Conflict of Interest (COI) policies require all university employees who are conducting research or other related activities to disclose certain financial interests, whether domestic or foreign. Financial interests include anything of monetary value (whether that value can be easily determined or not) held by the employee, a spouse or registered domestic partner, and dependent children. Examples include:
- income or payments for salaries
- consulting or honorariums
- holding a position such as founder, partner, employee or board member
- having ownership interests such as stocks, bonds or stock options
- travel funds or reimbursements
*Applicants for federal grants must list all foreign affiliations (biosketch) and "other support" prior to award and are required to identify any changes in each annual progress report. According to the NIH policy this includes:
Collaborations with investigators at a foreign site anticipated to result in co-authorship;
Use of facilities or instrumentation at a foreign site; or
Receipt of financial support or resources from a foreign entity.
This covers research contracts and grants, cooperative agreements and organizational awards, including any from foreign governments or entities (e.g. affiliations; Collaborations; foreign patents; and exchange of information, materials or data): https://bit.ly/2CLVYVu
A KEY RULE OF THUMB
Any external support or engagement that you would acknowledge in public presentations or publications is something that you must also disclose in grant applications, annual reports and closeout summaries and in university-related COI and COC disclosure forms (as required).
It is essential for you to be transparent about any affiliations with foreign entities when applying for federal grants. Only by your full disclosure will UC San Diego be in compliance with University of California regulations and be able to advise, assist and protect you and your work.
This situation is fluid so there may be additional guidance in the future. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your department chair or the Office of Research Affairs.
Elizabeth H. Simmons, Executive Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs
Sandra A. Brown, Vice Chancellor - Research