Collateral Damage? Research Collaboration in an Age of U.S.-China Competition


Over the past year, the United States has introduced several new policy initiatives to limit foreign access to critical technologies, including tightening inbound investment screening procedures and expanding export controls on emerging and foundational technologies. At a Senate Intelligence Hearing on Worldwide Threats in February 2018, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned of other countries “exploiting the very open research and development environment” in the United States and counterintelligence risks from “nontraditional collectors, especially in the academic setting, whether it’s professors, scientists, students.” The United States is reevaluating its posture on foreign research collaboration. Various U.S. government agencies have increased scrutiny of researchers from sensitive countries while recent legislative proposals would restrict foreign students’ access to certain research projects.

Policymakers have to evaluate the tensions between national security and an open and welcoming investment and innovation environment, as well as the degree to which such efforts should be coordinated with allies and partners. Notably, officials will have to decide whether to expand limits on research collaboration, while ensuring the United States remains the premier destination for top global talent.

Please join the CSIS Simon Chair in Political Economy at 2:00pm on Tuesday, June 4, for keynote remarks by Norman R. Augustine, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lockheed Martin, former Undersecretary of the Army, and current member of advisory boards to the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Energy, followed by an expert panel discussion on balancing national security concerns with research competitiveness.

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