“Some [Institutions of Higher Education] leaders are starting to acknowledge the threat of foreign academic espionage and have been working with federal law enforcement to address gaps in reporting and transparency,” the letter from the DoE’s Office of the General Counsel reads. “However, the evidence suggests massive investments of foreign money have bred dependency and distorted the decision-making, mission, and values of too many institutions.”
The letter also states, “Certain institutions have yet to produce requested emails, metadata, and other information regarding business relationships with, and faculty funding from, Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Russian foreign sources.”
The DoE had already announced its own investigation into foreign funding of U.S. universities in February. Besides China, officials are looking into funding from Qatar, Iran, Russia, and Saudi Arabia.
In one recent incident, the FBI arrested a professor at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville for failing to disclose research funding from the Chinese government. The professor, Simon Saw-Teong Ang, had also engaged in research for NASA and had been on the university’s faculty since 1988.