Universities Brace for Guidance on Security Memorandum; Agencies Plan Implementation

Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA)
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Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA)

Report on Research Compliance 18, no. 11 (November, 2021)

If a timeline announced by the White House is met, universities and others should receive guidance later this month on securing the research enterprise as the Biden administration moves forward with implementing a last-minute memorandum issued by former President Trump.

President Biden has embraced National Security Presidential Memorandum (NSPM-33), which seeks to “strengthen protections of United States Government-supported Research and Development (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.”[1]

Announced during the last week of Trump’s term, “the previous administration did not have time to develop implementation guidance for federal agencies,” wrote Eric Lander, scientific advisor to President Biden and director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).[2] In a blog post on Aug. 10, Lander said his office was “working on how to implement NSPM-33 effectively, rigorously, and uniformly across the federal government in a way that protects the nation’s interests in both security and openness.”

In the post, Lander said OSTP would be working over the next 90 days to “develop clear and effective implementation guidance for NSPM-33, working in close partnership with the National Security Council staff, fellow Cabinet agencies, and other federal agencies through the National Science and Technology Council.”

OSTP’s guidance, Lander said, will address the following areas:

  • “Disclosure Policy — ensuring that federally-funded researchers provide their funding agencies and research organizations with appropriate information concerning external involvements that may bear on potential conflicts of interest and commitment;

  • “Oversight and Enforcement — ensuring that federal agencies have clear and appropriate policies concerning consequences for violations of disclosure requirements and interagency sharing of information about such violations; and,

  • “Research Security Programs — ensuring that research organizations that receive substantial federal R&D funding (greater than $50 million annually) maintain appropriate research security programs.”

[View source.]

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