Important NIH regulations on foreign financial connections

Recent science media attention has focused on foreign nations stealing data and research results from research laboratories in the United States. U.S. intelligence agencies and Congress are addressing the matter. The issue has highlighted the need for members of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) research community to pay attention to some important regulations regarding foreign collaborations.

  • Does a research institution outside the United States help fund your research?
  • Have you received fees for consulting with an international company?
  • Do you have a second laboratory in another country?
  • Has a foreign organization paid for your travel to participate in science-related activities?
  • Do you have any financial interests with foreign entities?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you should be reporting the activity to the NIH and any other federal agencies that fund your research. Reporting financial connections is a condition of receiving funding from the federal government. Not only is it the law, but it helps to provide a reasonable expectation that federally funded research is free of financial conflicts of interest.

For more information, including Frequently Asked Questions, visit the NIH’s Conflict of Interest webpage (

About the Author:

Kevin M. Wilson serves as Director of Public Policy and Media Relations for The American Society for Cell Biology. He's worked as the Legislative Director for U.S. Congressman Robert Weygand (D-RI) and as a Legislative Assistant for U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell (D-RI). He has a BA in Politics and American Government from the Catholic University of America. Email: