University-Industry Engagement Week

Compliance with NSPM-33 starts now, even as universities await further guidance

By David Schwartz
Published: June 21st, 2022

While university research managers await final guidance regarding compliance with the new National Security Presidential Memorandum-33 (NSPM-33) regarding reporting and documentation of foreign research ties, law firm Perkins Coie is pointing out that some efforts are required “as quickly as feasible.”

NSPM-33 was issued in the final days of the Trump administration and endorsed by the Biden administration in August 2021. Guidance issued so far focuses on standardized disclosure requirements, tracking disclosures through digital persistent identifiers (DPIs), consequences for noncompliance, information sharing between research agencies, and research security program measures. Although NSPM-33 is directed at federal agencies, it requires those agencies to mandate enhanced disclosure and security programs at academic and research institutions that receive federal funding.

The law firm notes that among the tasks that need to be moving forward now are the implementation of DPIs, as well as establishment of a research security program, which much be in place by January 2023.

According to Perkins Coie, “NSPM-33 and its implementation should be viewed in the context of sustained U.S. government efforts to secure the federal R&D enterprise and enforce disclosure requirements. The government has adopted a ‘whole-of-government’ approach that includes, among other tools, criminal prosecution, civil enforcement, and suspension and debarment.”  

The firms adds that “extreme cases could jeopardize the Higher Education Act (HEA) Title IV funds, which would result in the denial of federal student financial aid to students,” and it urges universities to self-disclose omissions or inaccuracies.

Federal funding agencies will require disclosures in four areas: (1) organizational affiliations and employment, (2) positions and appointments, (3) foreign government-sponsored talent recruitment programs, and (4) current and pending support and other support.

More specifically “Personal Information” disclosures include professional background and qualifications; organizational affiliations; appointments, regardless of remuneration or time commitment; and paid consulting.

“Research Funding Information” disclosures will consist of current and pending support, defined broadly; (2) current and pending participation in, or applications to, foreign government programs, including talent recruitment programs; (3) in-kind contributions not intended for use on the proposed project; (4) visiting scholars funded by another institution; (5) students and postdoctoral researchers funded by another institution; (6) travel supported or paid for by another institution in connection with research activities with an associated time commitment; and (7) a certification made by individuals that the disclosure is accurate, current, and complete.  

 “Project Information” disclosures will include in-kind contributions that support the proposed project; capital funding such as private equity or venture capital; and supporting documentation such as contracts, grants, and agreements between researchers and foreign governments, instrumentalities, or entities, including talent recruitment programs.

Research institutions will also be required to certify that every covered individual listed in an application has been made aware of their disclosure requirements and the potential criminal penalties for knowingly making false representations.

Certification of a research security program, Perkins Coie adds, will require meeting four substantial requirements involving cybersecurity, foreign travel security, research security training, and export control training.

Source: Perkins Coie

What’s Next in Research Security Compliance? Considerations from the NSPM-33 Guidance to Federal Funding Agencies is a must-have distance learning program designed to prepare research managers and compliance professionals with guidance on gearing up for new federal requirements. Click here for more details.

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