54 Scientists Given NIH Grants Fired for Failure to Disclose Foreign Ties

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June 14, 2020

At least 54 scientists who received grants from the National Institutes of Health have been fired for failure to disclose their ties to foreign governments, particularly China, according to an ongoing investigation.

The NIH since 2018 has been investigating instances of fraud by scientists who received federal grant money. In 93 percent of cases investigated by NIH, these scientists failed to disclose their ties to China. Nearly $165 million in grants had been disbursed to these scientists.

The findings, first reported by Science magazine, provide evidence that China has amplified its efforts to place its scientists into sensitive U.S.-funded research programs. Once in the NIH system, these scientists can steal research and send it back to China, where it can be used to boost the Communist regime.

Congress has been concerned about stolen U.S. scientific research for some time. A 2019 investigation by the Senate Permanent Select Committee on Investigations found that Chinese scientists enlisted in the country's Thousand Talents Program, which recruits overseas researchers to bring their talents back to China, "set up ‘shadow labs’ in China … and, in some cases, transfer U.S. scientists’ hard-earned intellectual capital."

Three quarters of the scientists found to have hidden their ties to foreign governments like China had active NIH grants.

NIH identified 399 scientists of possible concern, according to Science magazine. The FBI confirmed that at least 30 percent, or 121 individuals, lied about their ties to foreign governments.

Published under: China