On Wednesday, August 11, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) co-sponsored a two-hour community forum with the National Science Foundation (NSF), with leaders from the academic research sector to discuss the development of guidance for Federal departments and agencies on implementation of National Security Presidential Memorandum 33 (NSPM-33) on United States Government-Supported Research and Development National Security Policy. This policy seeks to strengthen protections of federally funded R&D against foreign government interference and exploitation while maintaining an open environment to foster research discoveries and innovation that benefit our nation and the world. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to the implementation of NSPM-33 by Federal departments and agencies in a consistent, coordinated manner that preserves the core values behind the American scientific enterprise, including openness, transparency, honesty, equity, fair competition, objectivity, and democratic values, while providing strong and effective measures to protect research security and reinforce adherence to research responsibilities.

The forum began with opening remarks from OSTP Director Eric Lander and NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. Director Lander underscored the need for clear rules for research security and researcher responsibility. Director Lander also reaffirmed the need to uphold our fundamental values, noting that policies should not fuel xenophobia or prejudice and that it should never be acceptable to target scientists for investigation based on their race or ethnicity.

Approximately 20 representatives of university and scientific associations attended the event to provide input on how the departments and agencies can best implement research security policy in a manner that is effective, clear, and consistent.

Discussions from the event included three general areas that the Biden-Harris Administration anticipates addressing in the NSPM-33 implementation guidance, which OSTP will work together with department and agency partners to develop over the next 90 days:

  1. Disclosure policy – ensuring that federally funded researchers provide appropriate information related to potential conflicts of interest and conflicts of commitment that may impact research security
  2. Oversight and enforcement – ensuring that agencies have appropriate policies concerning consequences for violations of disclosure requirements and sharing with agencies information about such violations in compliance with relevant law
  3. Research security programs – ensuring that organizations that receive substantial Federal R&D funding (greater than $50 million annually) maintain appropriate research security programs

As OSTP works with department and agency partners to develop this guidance and thereafter, we will continue to engage with America’s diverse community of researchers and research institutions. OSTP invites broad input from across research security stakeholder communities — including from those whose day-to-day work these policies affect. To send us your ideas on NSPM-33 implementation, email researchsecurity@ostp.eop.gov.

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