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At NIH Budget Hearing, Blunt Raises Questions About IP Theft & Foreign Influence at U.S. Research Institutions

April 12, 2019

WASHINGTON Yesterday, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, held a hearing on the FY2020 budget request for the National Institutes of Health. At the hearingBlunt underscored the importance of continuing the federal investment in medical research and questioned Dr. Francis Collins, the director of NIH, about what is being done to prevent intellectual property theft and foreign influence at U.S. research institutions.

Following Are Excerpts From Blunt’s Remarks:

“I’m deeply concerned about an issue that I've seen develop, and I hope, Dr. Collins, you have a chance to talk about that, too. It’s something that the research community needs to take more seriously, and that's foreign governments are initiating systematic ways to influence our research and, frankly, to take advantage of our research by stealing it.

“There's a Chinese government program to recruit NIH-funded researchers to encourage them to steal intellectual property, cheat the peer review system, establish shadow laboratories in China, and help the Chinese government obtain confidential information about NIH research grants.

“That can't continue to happen, and I look forward to hearing your discussion of that issue.

“Obviously, there is an important balance here of protecting our research from both foreign threats and other kinds of piracy and having the kind of collaborative environment you want to have to bring the best people into that research community you can.

“I know that's a challenge, and I've seen some challenges that you have faced even recently on that topic of who should be there and where they should be. “But we've benefited from them. They have benefited from us. This is a system that has worked, and we need to be sure we continue to protect it.”

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