Effective: April 23, 2024

Maligned Foreign Talent Program (MFTP)
Foreign Talent Program (FTP)
Countries of Concern
Pre-approval and Disclosure Responsibilities to the University
Funding Agency Disclosures and Certifications

The CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, Section 10631(b) and the Office of Science and Technology Policy’s Guidelines for Federal Research Agencies Regarding Foreign Talent Recruitment Programs established uniform guidelines for federal research agencies requiring federally funded institutions to impose certain requirements and restrictions on the institution’s covered individuals engaged in federally funded research projects, namely:

  1. Require covered individuals to disclose if they are a party to a foreign talent program contract, agreement, or other arrangement, and
  2. Prohibit covered individuals from participating in maligned foreign talent programs.

In response, the University will be amending the External Professional Activities Policy (EPA Policy) to comply with applicable federal regulations. These requirements are not limited to federally funded research activities.

Maligned Foreign Talent Program (MFTP)

Engagement in a MFTP is prohibited. In general, a MFTP is:

Sponsored by one of the following:
  • A foreign country of concern (defined as the People’s Republic of China including Hong Kong and Macau, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), the Russian Federation, the Islamic Republic of Iran, or any other country determined to be a country of concern by the Secretary of State);
  • An entity based in a foreign country of concern; or
  • An institution or program on certain prohibited lists
Any engagement in a FTP that involves one of more of the following:
  • Unauthorized transfer of intellectual property, materials, data or other nonpublic information;
  • Requirement to recruit trainees or researchers to enroll in such program, position or activity;
  • Establishing a laboratory or entity in a foreign country;
  • Accepting a faculty position, or undertaking any other employment or appointment;
  • Being unable to terminate the activity except in extraordinary circumstances;
  • Being limited in capacity to carry out other research;
  • Requirement to engage in work that overlaps or duplicates WashU research;
  • Requirement to obtain research funding from the foreign government’s entities;
  • Requirement to omit acknowledgement of the U.S. home institution and/or funding agency;
  • Requirement to not disclose participation in the program, position, or activity; OR
  • Having a conflict of interest or commitment contrary to a WashU research award.

Some of these activities, such as accepting a position or establishing a laboratory may be allowable in certain circumstances, but only with appropriate approval under the EPA policy.

Foreign Talent Programs (FTP)

A foreign talent recruitment program is:

Any program, position, or activity that includes:
  • compensation in the form of cash,
  • in-kind compensation,
  • research funding,
  • promised future compensation,
  • complimentary foreign travel,
  • things of non de minimis value (>$5,000),
  • honorific titles,
  • career advancement opportunities, or
  • other types of remuneration or consideration
Is directly provided to an individual by:
  • a foreign country at any level (national, provincial, or local) or their designee, or
  • an entity based in, funded by, or affiliated with a foreign country, whether or not directly sponsored by the foreign country.

This definition applies regardless of whether it is directly or indirectly stated in the arrangement, contract, or other documentation at issue.

A FTP does not include the following international collaboration activities, so long as it does not meet the above criteria:

  1. Making scholarly presentations and publishing written materials regarding scientific information not otherwise controlled under current law;
  2. Participating in international conferences or other international exchanges, research projects or programs that involve open and reciprocal exchange of scientific information, and which are aimed at advancing international scientific understanding and not otherwise controlled under current law;
  3. Advising a foreign student enrolled at an institution of higher education or writing a recommendation for such a student, at such student’s request; and
  4. Engaging in the following international activities:
    • Activities that are partly sponsored or otherwise supported by the United States such as serving as a government appointee to the board of a joint scientific fund (e.g., the U.S.-Israel Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation); providing advice to or otherwise participating in international technical organizations, multilateral scientific organizations, and standards setting bodies (e.g., the International Telecommunications Union, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, etc.); participating in a Fulbright Commission program funded in whole or in part by a host country government; or other routine international scientific exchanges and interactions such as providing invited lectures or participating in international peer review panels.
    • Involvement in national or international academies or professional societies that produce publications in the open scientific literature that are not in conflict with the interests of the University and research funding agencies (e.g., membership in the Pontifical Academy of Sciences or The Royal Society).
    • Taking a sabbatical, serving as a visiting scholar, or engaging in continuing education activities such as receiving a doctorate or professional certification at an institution of higher education (e.g., the University of Oxford, McGill University) that are not in conflict with the interests of the University and research funding agency.
    • Receiving awards for research and development which serve to enhance the prestige of the University and funding agencies (e.g., the Nobel Prize).
    • Other international activities determined appropriate by the University.

Countries of Concern

The People’s Republic of China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, the Islamic Republic of Iran, or any other country identified as a country of concern as determined by the Secretary of State.

Department of State list of Countries of Concern

Pre-approval and Disclosure Responsibilities to the University

For engagement in FTPs or activities potentially associated with a FTP:

  • Participation in any type of FTP is considered an External Professional Activity. Therefore, FTP’s must be disclosed on the External Professional Activity Disclosure Form within thirty (30) days of engaging in the new or updated outside activities and typically re-verified annually thereafter. Changes or updates are required within thirty (30) days of acquiring or discovering new financial interests, engaging in new outside activities, or if there are changes regarding a previously reported activity.
  • Certain activities potentially associated with a FTP (e.g. an honorary appointment at a foreign academic institution), require submission of an External Professional Activity Prior Approval Request (PAR) through the COI module. Approval must be received prior to participating in the activity(ies). Prior Approval Guidance is available with details on which activities require prior approval.
  • Contracts, agreements, and other pertinent documentation related to the activity may be required. Refer to the Guidance on Personal Agreements for how best to structure your agreements and institutional requirements.

The COI Office will review these activities to help individuals identify potential FTP and MFTP activities. The assessment under the EPA review and approval process may require adjustments to the relationship to ensure compliance with the MFTP prohibitions and/or other requirements.

Funding Agency Disclosures and Certifications

All individuals must comply with funding sponsor policies, disclosure requirements, and certifications regarding external professional activities and foreign talent recruitment programs, and that disclosures are true, complete, and accurate to the best of the individual’s knowledge. Individuals are required to certify to the activities below through the University’s internal funding application process and, possibly, within the application and/or “just-in-time” requests from a funding agency.

Funding agencies are typically applying these requirements to individuals who contribute in a substantive, meaningful way to the scientific development or execution of a research proposal proposed to be carried out with an award from a federal funding agency and is designated by the federal funding agency as a “covered individual”. Many agencies are applying this to all PI’s and senior/key personnel.

Foreign Talent Programs

  • Researchers engaged in federally funded research are required to disclose participation in, or applications to, a FTP in a Biographical Sketch or Curriculum Vitae (CV) and/or in other/current and pending support documents, depending on agency requirements. Individuals may be required to provide any relevant agreements.
  • Federal funding agencies may require mitigation strategies related to the FTP before awarding a proposal to the institution (e.g., Department of Energy or Department of Defense Policy for Risk-Based Security Reviews of Fundamental Research). These could include, but are not limited to, training, increased frequency of required reporting, and/or replacement of personnel on the project.

Malign Foreign Talent Programs

  • Federal research agencies may require certification that each covered individual is not a party to an MFTP in the proposal submission or through just-in-time requests, and annually thereafter for the duration of the award. For most agencies, this will be required as part of the Biographical Sketch or Curriculum Vitae (CV).


Individuals who violate the EPA Policy may be subject to an internal compliance review. Additionally, individuals who violate federal requirements may be subject to a formal federal inquiry. Examples of violations include, but are not limited to:

  • An individual failing to obtain pre-approval for participation in an FTP or MFTP,
  • An individual failing to appropriately disclose participation in an FTP or MFTP to the University as required on their EPA Disclosure Form
  • An individual engaged in federally funded research failing to disclose participation in an FTP to the federal sponsor, per agency requirements,
  • An individual engaged in federally funded research participating in an MFTP, in violation of agency requirements.

These reviews may result in corrective or disciplinary action, up to and including termination or dismissal, in accordance with applicable policies. Examples of potential actions include, but are not limited to:

  • Increased in monitoring/oversight or reporting requirements
  • Limit or eliminate the individual’s role in research
  • Restrict international engagements
  • Return of research funds
  • Removal of engagement in peer review processes by funding agencies
  • Federal agencies may pursue civil or criminal charges, due to false statements and/or false claims.