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Research Security Revisited: COVID-19 & Immigration


In January 2020, COSSA released a Hot Topic titled “Foreign Interference in the U.S. Research Enterprise & Policy Responses,” which reported on the broad policy concerns about securing the U.S. research enterprise, foreign influence, racial bias against Chinese and Chinese-American citizens, and the wide range of actions in response to these concerns taken by the White House, federal agencies, and Congress. Since the publication of that analysis, the sudden and unprecedented global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the early months of 2020 has had a significant impact on the policy conversations surrounding the security of the U.S. research enterprise. The global community became singularly focused on developing vaccines or other treatments for COVID-19, directing attention away from other science priorities. Furthermore, the pandemic has had other indirect impacts on research security, in some cases exacerbating existing concerns such as discrimination against Chinese citizens, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders, and a chilling effect on international research collaboration.

The following pages revisit the topics discussed earlier in the year and provide updates on activities that have since occurred, including how the global COVID-19 pandemic has affected U.S. research security activities. Readers are encouraged to read the information in the prior report for a more comprehensive look at research security efforts and concerns prior to January 2020.

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HOT TOPIC is a series of occasional featured issue briefs offering insights into timely and crosscutting
policy developments affecting the social and behavioral science community