Throughout 2018, federal scrutiny of international engagements has grown. For example, in August 2018, Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), issued a “Foreign Influence Letter to Grantees.” Collins also testified to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee regarding concerns about systematic programs of foreign influence in U.S. research. This heightened concern extends beyond NIH. The U.S. Department of Justice is also paying more attention to researchers who they believe are at risk of being co-opted into transferring technology illegally.

There are no new statutory or regulatory requirements being imposed on international research at this time. However, the Office of Research has developed a relationship with our regional representatives at national security agencies and continues to monitor federal developments. As federal agencies release more specific guidance, the Office of Research will communicate updates that impact grant procedures to the Washington State University (WSU) research administration community.

WSU values international research collaboration and strives to create a welcoming environment to the international students, scholars, scientists, and researchers who enrich our campuses and play an important role in performing research that creates new knowledge and fuels innovation. WSU has seen significant growth in our international research portfolio in recent years. We hope to continue that growth as we work towards our Drive to 25 goal of becoming one of the top 25 public institutions in the U.S. by 2030.