Posted on June 17, 2020

Fifty-Four Scientists Have Lost Their Jobs as a Result of NIH Probe into Foreign Ties

Jeffrey Mervis, Science Magazine, June 12, 2020

Some 54 scientists have resigned or been fired as a result of an ongoing investigation by the National Institutes of Health into the failure of NIH grantees to disclose financial ties to foreign governments. In 93% of those cases, the hidden funding came from a Chinese institution.

The new numbers come from Michael Lauer, NIH’s head of extramural research. Lauer had previously provided some information on the scope of NIH’s investigation, which had targeted 189 scientists at 87 institutions. But his presentation today to a senior advisory panel offered by far the most detailed breakout of an effort NIH launched in August 2018 that has roiled the U.S. biomedical community, and resulted in criminal charges against some prominent researchers. {snip}


In the vast majority of cases, Lauer reported, the person being investigated has been an Asian man in his 50s. {snip}

Lauer also presented data on the nature of the violations that NIH has uncovered. Some 70% (133) of the researchers had failed to disclose to NIH the receipt of a foreign grant, and 54% had failed to disclose participation in a foreign talent program. {snip}

Lauer said the fact that 82% of those being investigated are Asian “is not surprising” because “that’s who the Chinese target” in their foreign talent recruitment programs. {snip}


Lauer’s presentation also provided a glimpse into the scope of that broader investigation. There are 399 scientists “of possible concern” to NIH, he told the advisory council, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation has fingered 30% (121) of them. {snip}