Research Security

'Research Security' refers to a leveraged set of institutional policies, procedures, personnel, and resources that work together to safeguard the research enterprise.

Since 2018, federal agencies have highlighted risks to the academic research enterprise, posed by foreign countries.   Potential threats include the misappropriation of research to the detriment of national or economic security, related violations of research integrity, and foreign government interference in research.  This risk involves both fundamental, unrestricted research as well as export-controlled and/or defense-sensitive work. 

The US government has issued multiple directives, requiring that federal agencies and contractors develop and implement a program to identify and mitigate potential research security risks.  As a recipient of such funding, Princeton built a comprehensive research security program that seeks to protect institutional research and researchers without adding faculty burden and in a manner that reflects Princeton’s core values.  

Research Security


Princeton’s Commitment to International Collaboration and Open Research 

Princeton University strenuously supports the free dissemination and open publication of research results.  

The University recognizes and appreciates the benefits of international collaboration. Our research programs are stronger and better with the benefit of open and respectful research partners from around the world.  The University is committed to ensuring that the Research Security program is designed and conducted in a non-discriminatory manner.  Research security is not about the citizenship or previous nationality of our researchers or their collaborators. Rather, it is about mitigating the threat to the US research enterprise posed by parties who wish to take advantage of our open research environment.

Princeton remains committed to preserving the open exchange of information amongst global partners. 

What is Research Security?

Pursuant to NSPM-33 and the CHIPS + Science Act of 2022, the term “Research Security” refers to a combination of institutional compliance programs designed to safeguard the research enterprise against the misappropriation of research to the detriment of national or economic security; violations of research integrity; and foreign government interference.

Princeton University has longstanding programs in Export Controls, Research Integrity, and the protection of research data.  More recently, the University has developed the Research Security program to address federal and state requirements related to the prevention of foreign influence.  For clarity, these requirements relate to fundamental research activities.  Princeton does not maintain a Facility Security program or conduct classified research.

Click below for more information on each of these key programs:

Why does Research Security matter?

Open and collaborative research is key to addressing domestic and global responses to some of the most pressing issues facing mankind today.  Collaborative research may be undertaken under formal or informal arraignments as well as across an array of scales.  Such collaborations help to accelerate new discoveries and shape a dynamic and resourceful research community.

Some parties may choose to misappropriate the results of these research activities for their own economic, strategic or military purposes.  These actions contradict the norms and values that serve as the foundation of international collaborative research. Princeton’s Research Security program is intended to prevent the illicit and unethical utilization of research results, while ensuring that the benefits of our research activities remain open and benefit mankind. 

Partners in Security

Effective Research Security impacts the entire University community: faculty, staff, students, and affiliates.  Princeton’s Research Security program requires partnership between the Research Security Office and key partners across the University. 

Partner offices across the University make up the Research Security Coordination Committee to assess and implement University policies and procedures related to Research Security.  In addition, smaller working groups, such as the Foreign Engagement Assessment Team, are assigned specific responsibilities related to the program such as evaluating foreign engagements or affiliations of Princeton researchers.


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