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Posey Introduces Legislation to Require Transparency in Research Grants

Congressman Bill Posey (R-Rockledge) introduced the Grant Recipient Accountability for Necessary Transparency Act (GRANT Act) to require more disclosure of foreign involvement from countries of concern in taxpayer funded research grants. Currently, there is no clear statutory requirement for recipients to disclose to the agency that gave them the grant if a foreign entity of concern provided support after the federal grant was provided. 

“It’s common for foreign researchers from countries like China to join a taxpayer funded research project after the grant was applied for and awarded, allowing foreign researchers to influence or take taxpayer funded research back to their home countries without the proper oversight,” said Congressman Posey. “This bill allows for more accountability of taxpayer dollars and the research it’s used to fund.” 

A recent EPA Inspector General memorandum identified “a concern regarding the lack of a requirement for EPA research grant recipients to report foreign support after receiving a grant award.” The memo discusses a collaborative effort involving the EPA OIG, NSF OIG, DOE, and other federal law enforcement agencies to see if unreported foreign gifts could be linked to federally funded awards. They found six universities received awards in the amount of $1.3 billion from foreign sources (including China, Qatar, and Russia) over the past seven years and did not report them as required.  

The GRANT Act requires the disclosure of foreign support from countries of concern no later than 30 days after the date it was received. Covered individuals (professors, researchers, investigators, etc.) must also disclose support as well. The agency also must cooperate with the Inspector General investigating any suspected failure to comply with the requirements. The bill defines countries of foreign concern includes the People’s Republic of China including Hong Kong, Russian Federation, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela.

See bill text here.

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