Safeguarding American Innovation Act - S.3997

Overview
Purpose
"A bill to strengthen the security and integrity of the United States scientific and research enterprise."
Primary Sponsors
Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Tom Carper (D-DE)
Summary of Selected Provisions

Selected provisions in bill as amended in committee

  • Changes the definition of "outside compensation" that must be reported to "any compensation, resource, or support regardless of monetary value made available to the applicant in support of or related to any research endeavor, including, but not limited to, a title, research grant, cooperative agreement, contract, institutional award, access to a laboratory, or other resource, including, but not limited to, materials, travel compensation, or work incentives”

Selected provisions in the bill as introduced

  • Creates a Federal Research Security Council led by the White House Office of Management and Budget, with the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy as the lead science advisor
  • Tasks the council with developing uniform grant application policies for science agencies, issuing guidance and warnings about security risks, and implementing a process for “identifying persons participating in federally funded R&D or that have access to nonpublic federally funded information, data, research findings, and R&D grant proposals”
  • Adds criminal penalties for federal grant applicants that falsify documents or fail to disclose any sources of “outside compensation,” defined as “any compensation that is not received from the primary employer of an individual”
  • Provides the State Department new grounds to deny visas to certain applicants. These include an applicant’s “past or likely employment or cooperation” with rival military or security organizations, institutions involved in the theft of U.S. research or export control violations, or a “government that seeks to undermine the integrity and security of the U.S. research community”
  • Requires J-1 visa sponsors to disclose to the State Department whenever an exchange visitor will have access to controlled technology or technical data regulated by export control laws and provide a plan for preventing the unauthorized release of such material
  • Requires universities to report all foreign gifts and contracts valued at $50,000 or more, down from the current threshold of $250,000
Actions
Actions on the Senate bill
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved amended bill
07/22/2020
Bill introduced
06/18/2020
Other versions
Relevant FYI Bulletins

A bipartisan group of 16 lawmakers has introduced legislation that aims to guard against rival governments exploiting the U.S. research system. The bill has met with mixed reactions in the academic community, with some arguing the scope of certain provisions could have a chilling effect on international exchanges.