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Dozens of Researchers Ensnared

More than 50 researchers have resigned or been fired as a result of the US National Institutes of Health's probe into unreported foreign ties, Science reports.

In 2018, NIH Director Francis Collins noted that he had become concerned about threats to the "robustness" of the biomedical research enterprise, and the agency subsequently began to investigate researchers' potentially undisclosed ties to foreign governments, such as unreported funding. These inquiries have led some researchers to resign or to be fired, including researchers at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Emory University, and the Moffitt Cancer Center. Additionally, Harvard University's Charles Lieber has been charged with making false claims about funds he received through China's Thousand Talents Program.

According to Science, Michael Lauer, the head of extramural research at NIH, says 54 researchers have resigned or been fired due to this investigation. It adds that 70 percent of the violations NIH uncovered were of researchers failing to disclose they'd received a foreign grant and 54 percent were of researchers failing to disclose being part of a foreign talent program.

"It's not what we had hoped, and it's not a fun task," Collins says of the investigation, according to Science. It adds that he described the data as "sobering."