Foreign Influence

Effective July 1, 2021, the Florida legislature enacted certain legislation regarding foreign influence concerns.  The new legislation requires public disclosure of foreign gifts, scrutiny of grant applicants and vendors with certain foreign connections, and thorough scrutiny of foreign applicants for research positions and of foreign travel and activities of employees of major research institutions.  In follow-up to the legislation, the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) enacted BOG Regulation 9.012, as well as a Foreign Influence Legislation Compliance and Submission Guidance document. Both the legislation and the regulation require the designation of a Research Integrity Office for the purposes of implementing and overseeing these foreign influence concerns.  The FAU President has designated the FAU Office of Compliance & Ethics as the Research Integrity Office for Foreign Influence (RIO-FI)

For additional guidance on evaluating foreign influence concerns, the DOD's Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has published a Risk Rubric to help assess potential undue foreign influence conflicts.

  1. Foreign Gifts and Contracts

Applicants to a state university for a grant, or those that propose a contract having a value of $100,000 or more, are required to disclose any current or prior contract with, or grant or gift received from a specified foreign country of concern with a value of $50,000 or more.

Section 286.101, F.S.

  1. International Cultural Agreements

A state university is prohibited from participating in any agreement with, or acceptance of any grant from, a foreign country of concern or associated entity, which constrains freedom of contract, allows control by the foreign county of concern, or promotes a detrimental agenda.  Any such agreement must be shared with appropriate federal agencies prior to execution of the agreement, which is subject to prohibition if deemed to be detrimental to the safety and security of the United States. Any such entity may not accept anything of value conditioned upon participation in a specified program or endeavor.  For more information on international cultural agreements, please contact FAU’s Center for Global Engagement.

Section 288.860, F.S.; BOG Regulation 9.012(7)

  1. Foreign Gift Reporting

Each state university is required to disclose any gift or contract with a value of $50,000 or more from any foreign source to the BOG.  For more information on FAU’s implementation of these requirements, please see University Policy 6.4 Reporting of Foreign Gifts and Contracts.

Section 1010.25, F.S.; BOG Regulation 9.012(2) 

  1. Screening Foreign Researchers

Each state university with a research budget of $10 million or more is required to screen applicants for research positions who are citizens of a foreign country or have a specified affiliation with a foreign country of concern, with specified exceptions. The screening must take place prior to interviewing or offering applicants a position.

The RIO-FI is required to review certain designated materials and take reasonable steps to verify the information listed in applications and is authorized to approve applicants for hire based on a risk-based determination.  The RIO-FI is required to report to the FBI and to any law enforcement agency designated by the BOG the identity of any applicant rejected from employment based on the specified screening.

For more information on screening foreign researchers, please click here .

Section 1010.35, F.S.; BOG Regulation 9.012(4)

  1. Foreign Travel

Each state university with a research budget of $10 million or more is required to establish an international travel approval and monitoring program, which must require preapproval and screening by the RIO-FI for any employment-related foreign travel and activities engaged in by faculty, researchers, and research department staff and provide an annual report to the BOG of foreign travel to countries of concern.  FAU's international travel approval and monitoring program is led by the Global Travel Safety and Security Subcommittee (GTSSS).  For further information about foreign travel workflow and the approval process or the subcommittee, please contact Jaeson Weber, Director, Emergency Management, and Chair of the GTSSS (Jweber15@fau.edu).

Section 1010.36, F.S.; BOG Regulation 9.012(5)

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Please note that FAU's Research Integrity Office for Foreign Influence is a separate office from the Division of Research Office of Research Integrity.  For more information on FAU's Research Integrity Office for Foreign Influence, please contact FAU's Chief Compliance & Ethics Officer Donovan Diaz at donovandiaz@fau.edu; 561-297-3004. For more more information on the FAU Division of Research Office of Research Integrity, please visit the Office of Research Integrity Webpage. For more information on International Research Collaborations at FAU, please visit the Division of Research Guidelines for International Research Collaborations.