International Affairs

The U.S. is sunsetting research collaborations with Russia in response to its war against Ukraine, joining a coalition of countries that have already moved to restrict ties with research institutions affiliated with the Russian government.

At a House Science Committee hearing last week, lawmakers and witnesses pushed back against proposals to try to block rival countries from influencing international standards, and instead advocated for strengthening the industry-led approach the U.S. has traditionally relied on.

Governments and science organizations around the world are grappling over the extent to which sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine should extend to scientific exchanges.

In the past week, NASA reported it is reworking the architecture of the Mars Sample Return mission it is undertaking with the European Space Agency, pushing its launch date back two years, and ESA announced the ExoMars mission it has been pursuing with Russia will not launch as planned in September in view of the crisis in Ukraine.

The Department of Justice is setting a higher bar for criminal prosecutions of academic scientists as part of a pivot away from its controversial “China Initiative,” while maintaining a high priority on countering malign activity by the Chinese government.

The House Science Committee has held two hearings thus far examining semiconductor industry needs as Congress considers pumping billions of dollars into domestic semiconductor R&D and manufacturing.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has implemented a review process for fundamental research projects that assesses risks posed by funding applicants’ affiliations with organizations in countries of concern.

The White House announced a set of minor immigration policy changes last week aimed at better welcoming STEM students and scholars from abroad. Meanwhile, more substantive changes are currently up for debate in Congress, including the potential for exempting STEM graduates from numerical caps on green cards.

The Justice Department is continuing to backtrack in bringing cases against academic researchers for allegedly concealing ties to Chinese entities. Meanwhile, surveys suggest that efforts by the department and science agencies to crack down on disclosure policy violations have led to widespread anxiety among researchers.

FYI presents its annual list of 10 science policy stories to watch in the year ahead.