The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced that it reached a $5.5 million settlement with a biomedical research institute that received NIH grant funding—the Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act (FCA) by failing to disclose Chinese government grants that funded two researchers. The DOJ also recently charged a Harvard professor and two Chinese nationals in cases involving intellectual property theft or false claims. Tensions continue to build throughout major academic research centers as connections to China are scrutinized by the federal government.
By early 2018 the NIH was proactively warning grantee institutions around the nation about the rules while initiating investigations into nearly 200 specific scientists and dozens of institutions. The government had specific concerns that these people and organizations were running afoul of the law. Recent settlements represent an intensification of enforcement by the federal government with a specific focus on the FCA. The government will proactively pursue matters involving undue foreign influence affecting a research center’s oversight o...
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