Francis Collins, the director of the US National Institutes of Health, says the agency has become concerned about threats to the "robustness" of the biomedical research enterprise.
According to a statement from Collins, there are three areas of particular worry: the failure by some researchers to disclose that they've received a large amount of money from other organizations, including foreign governments; the diversion of intellectual property, including to foreign countries; and the sharing of confidential information by peer reviewers.
Stat News further reports that NIH is investigating a number of institutions due to worries that agency-funded researchers didn't divulge foreign financial contributions. "We are concerned about circumstances where people have intentionally been deceptive about those connections, with an intention to divert intellectual property or perhaps use their access to peer-review materials to ship them overseas," Collins said after a Senate hearing, according to Stat News.
It adds that he has urged some 10,000 US institutions to discuss such IP matters and foreign interference with the FBI. NIH has also created a panel to review research security.
Stat News adds that during the hearing, committee chair Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) noted he hoped NIH would continue to support foreign researchers in the US.