Most of the cases involve “very well-known academics”, who seem to have been offered money or status because of their accomplishments in their fields … Others received outside support for research that seems to be covered by an NSF grant, a practice known as double dipping.
It’s not an ideal or transparent way to allocate funding, but the irony is that basic science doesn’t get enough funding and now we are complaining about successful researchers getting extra funding!
US funding agencies have been on high alert about the influence of foreign governments in federally funded basic research. The fear is that US intellectual property, including basic research, is being pilfered.
I’d be interested to know how intellectual property is being stolen - basic research is by definition pre-application and should generally be too early-stage to issue patents or other IP protection on. When the research is published it becomes a public good that is accessible to anybody in the US or China, regardless of who funded it. So the only way that I can think of US IP being stolen is if Chinese funded researchers send the results of their basic studies to Chinese authorities without publishing it publically… this seems possible, but also unlikely given academic norms. Does anybody have any other suggestions?
All but two of the cases involved ties to China, although a majority of the scientists in cases referred by the inspector-general are US citizens and are not ethnically Chinese.
I recall seeing this discussed in some other online news articles, and it is always in the context of foreign funding going to the US. Do similar issues exist in other countries? What are their responses? There doesn’t seem to be much of an international comparison being made on this issue.