Stanford University to pay $1.9M after not disclosing faculty got foreign research funds

Stanford University will pay $1.9 million to resolve allegations brought by the federal government that the university violated federal law by not disclosing funding that faculty members were receiving from abroad, the U.S. Department of Justice said. 

Between 2015 and 2020, Stanford received research grants from five federal agencies: the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, NASA and the National Science Foundation. Each of those agencies requires that grant applicants disclose any foreign funding received by principal investigators on the grant proposals.

The government alleged that on 16 grant applications, Stanford "knowingly failed to disclose current and pending foreign funding" that 11 Stanford researchers had received or were expecting to receive. The government also alleged that Stanford knowingly didn't disclose to the Army, Air Force and NSF that a professor received research funding related to his employment at Fudan University, a public university in Shanghai, China.

"Complete and accurate disclosures by principal investigators and universities of current and pending support are essential to federal agencies that make decisions on awarding federal grants," U.S. Attorney Erek Barron for the District of Maryland said in a statement on Monday. "Those individuals and universities that knowingly fail to do so skew the grant awarding process in their favor and will be held accountable."

A Stanford University spokesperson told UPI in a statement that it is "pleased" this issue has been resolved and that it is committed to ensuring its researchers meet federal compliance responsibilities.

"Stanford takes seriously the threat of foreign governments seeking to undermine U.S. national security," the spokesperson said.