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  • Washington Highlights

    NSTC Releases Recommendations on Research Security


    Anurupa Dev, Director, Science Policy & Strategy
    Heather Pierce, Senior Director, Science Policy & Regulatory Counsel

    The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) under the Trump administration released now-archived recommendations for strengthening research security, based on work performed by the council’s Joint Committee on the Research Environment (JCORE).

    The recommendations from the NSTC were presented as a complementary document to National Security Presidential Memorandum 33, “Presidential Memorandum on United States Government-Supported Research and Development National Security Policy,” which was signed by former President Donald Trump on Jan. 14, 2021.

    JCORE, established in May 2019, created several subcommittees on issues of the research enterprise, including one that is focused on research security and comprised of various agencies from across the federal government.

    The NSTC recommendations are intended to provide research institutions, including academic medical centers, with practices to enhance research security. The five high-level areas in the suggested approach are: engagement and oversight from organizational leadership, an expectation of openness and transparency, targeted training and support, the establishment of effective compliance mechanisms, and risk management for research data and collaborations.

    The presidential memorandum identifies actions for the U.S. government to take to strengthen protections against foreign government interference and exploitation in research, including the creation of specific disclosure requirements for research and development funding agencies regarding funding recipients within the next 12 months and the coordination of policies and processes with the intelligence community.

    The AAMC was a host organization for a JCORE summit in November 2019 to discuss research security issues and also responded to a request for information from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to inform the work of the committee [see Washington Highlights, Jan. 31, 2020].