DOE Guidance

Last updated 12-8-2020

The Department of Energy (DOE) issued a directive dated June 7, 2019, mandating that “federal and contractor personnel fully disclose and, as necessary, terminate affiliations with foreign government-supported talent recruitment programs” on DOE contracts and subcontracts.   

In 2020, DOE revised the above DOE Order 486.1A to include a definition of “foreign government-sponsored talent recruitment programs” and requires DOE employees and contractor personnel (including some individuals on DOE-sponsored programs at the University) to report participation in such programs, regardless of where the work is performed.

Foreign Government-Sponsored Talent Recruitment Program. An effort directly or indirectly organized, managed, or funded by a foreign government to recruit science and technology professionals or students (regardless of citizenship or national origin, and whether having a full-time or part-time position). Some foreign government-sponsored talent recruitment programs operate with the intent to import or otherwise acquire from abroad, sometimes through illicit means, proprietary technology or software, unpublished data and methods, and intellectual property to further the military modernization goals and/or economic goals of a foreign government. Many, but not all, programs aim to incentivize the targeted individual to physically relocate to the foreign state for the above purpose. Some programs allow for or encourage continued employment at U.S. research facilities or receipt of Federal research funds while concurrently working at and/or receiving compensation from a foreign institution, and some direct participants not to disclose their participation to U.S. entities. Compensation could take many forms including cash, research funding, complimentary foreign travel, honorific titles, career advancement opportunities, promised future compensation, or other types of remuneration or consideration, including in-kind compensation.

In late 2019, DOE revised DOE Order 142.3A to remove the exemption for institutions of higher education to comply with the foreign national approval processes for DOE projects.  Prior to this change, the Under Secretary for Science and Energy exempted projects at universities from this foreign national approval if the results were intended to be published.  By removing this exemption, university performers may be required to obtain DOE approval prior to utilizing non-US persons on DOE awards.  In addition to violating University policy, this approval process may also subject the conduct of the research project to export control regulations. The information required for DOE to review foreign persons is extensive, and is required for all persons who are not US citizens by birth or naturalization.

If any representative of the DOE or a collaborating institution under a DOE proposal or award approaches a member of the Princeton research community with a request for information on project personnel, please refer your ORPA representative.