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  • Washington Highlights

    House Science Committee Holds Hearing on Research Security

    For Media Inquiries

    On Feb. 15, the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology held a hearing to examine actions taken by federal science agencies to strengthen research security at federally funded research institutions, titled, Examining Federal Science Agency Actions to Secure the U.S. Science and Technology Enterprise.” The primary federal requirements in this area stem from National Security Memorandum-33 (NSPM-33) [refer to Washington Highlights, Jan. 7, 2022] as well as research security provisions in the 2020 and 2021 National Defense Authorization Acts and the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 (P.L. 116-92, P.L. 116-283, P.L. 117-167). This hearing also touched on international competition with U.S. federal research and examined foreign influence within U.S. research institutions.

     In his opening remarks, committee Chair Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) referenced a letter from the Association of American Universities that described concerns with the draft research security program standard requirement developed by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The AAMC also submitted comments to the department regarding this proposal, emphasizing that any new requirements for institutions should utilize a risk-based approach to research security as well as maintain flexibility for institutions to leverage existing programs and resources [refer to Washington Highlights, June 9, 2023].

     National Institutes of Health (NIH) Deputy Director for Extramural Research Michael Lauer, MD, shared examples of how the NIH is working on creating policies and guidance to meet the requirements of NSPM-33 and prevent foreign government interference in research. He also noted instances of collaboration between U.S. federal research institutions and international entities that have yielded positive advancements, such as the NIH’s global leadership in developing treatment for the Ebola virus. He stressed that effective federal guidance would address research security concerns while still preserving the ability of institutions to engage in international scientific collaboration.