International Collaboration, Research Integrity, & Foreign Influence

Context

The University of California, Berkeley’s reputation for excellence in teaching and research is built, in part, on its long tradition of robust international engagement. 

Aligned with our Principles of International Engagement, UC Berkeley is proud to welcome students, faculty, visitors, scholars, and international partnerships from around the world, and strives to create a campus community that encourages cross-cultural understanding in a welcoming environment. 

In recent years, federal agencies and Congress have grown concerned about foreign influence in US higher education - the idea that international governments, institutions, or individuals may be using access to academic research in an attempt to compromise the United States’ economic competitiveness and national security. UC Berkeley joins the Department of Education, University of California Office of the President , Association of American Universities (AAU), and many peer institutions in our commitment to protecting academic freedom, US national security interests, economic prosperity, and appropriate international collaboration and exchange. In addition, the UC Berkeley Global Engagement Office remains committed to continuing and strengthening our international relationships, advocating for international collaboration, and to providing resources to help the UC Berkeley community navigate this evolving environment.

The purpose of this website is to provide resources and guidance to support UC Berkeley’s continued global engagement, particularly for faculty who are engaged in international collaborations, research, and other scholarly activities. International research is supported by a multitude of campus offices at UC Berkeley. The Global Engagement Office has compiled a variety of UC Berkeley resources to help ensure that international activities at Berkeley are compliant with federal regulations, state laws, university policy, and sponsor requirements. 

While GEO has aggregated several campus resources, this is a rapidly evolving landscape with responsibilities dispersed across a multitude of UC Berkeley offices. If you have a resource that should be featured or updated, please contact us. 

Guidance and resources

UC BERKELEY PRINCIPLES OF INTERNATIONAL ENGAGEMENT

The University of California, Berkeley's Principles of International Engagement statement was developed in 2019 by the International Engagement Policy Task Force, and issued by the Chancellor in 2020. Its intent is to guide UC Berkeley’s international activities, convey the importance of international engagement to UC Berkeley's academic mission and standing, and condemn actions that discriminate against and alienate the international community. Faculty, staff, students and administrative units are encouraged to reference this statement when developing new international partnerships or considering communications.

UCOP FOREIGN INFLUENCE GUIDANCE

The University of California Office of the President (UCOP) Foreign Influence resource website provides additional background information, guidance, and recommendations for the UC community on foreign influence and research integrity, as well as an overview of UCOP’s compliance plan.

INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS

All agreements, whether binding or non-binding, must be signed by an authorized representative of the university. Faculty are not authorized to sign international agreements on behalf of UC Berkeley. GEO provides many resources to help faculty and staff navigate international agreements at UC Berkeley.

It is best practice to conduct Restricted Party Screening on institutional partners and individual collaborators - regardless of destination - in order to ensure UC Berkeley is not inadvertently partnering with embargoed or sanctioned individuals or institutions.

Refer to the resources below for more information for specific types of agreements:

Research contracts and grants, data and materials transfers

Proposals for external support for sponsored research and other activities must be submitted to the sponsor through the Sponsored Projects Office(non-profit and government sponsors) or the Office of Intellectual Property and Industry Research Alliances (for-profit / industry sponsors, via its The Industry Alliances Office - IAO or The Office of Technology Licensing - OTL). These units also handle agreements for sharing of proprietary/confidential information, data use, material transfer, and other agreements with outside parties related to research that do not involve an exchange of funds.

The Grant Life Cycle portal also provides an overview of the research proposal submission and award administration process, guiding you through campus resources, policies, and procedures, as well as finding funding and applying for and administering grants.

Gifts

Philanthropic gift support to UC Berkeley from foreign sources must be accepted in accordance with the campus’s Gift Acceptance Policy. Over 30 years ago, Congress enacted Section 117 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) in light of concerns about the growing financial relationship between U.S. universities and foreign sources. Per Section 117, UC Berkeley is responsible for reporting all contracts and gifts from a foreign source that, alone or combined, are valued at $250,000 or more in a calendar year. Contact Donor and Gift Services, University Development and Alumni Relations with questions.

Complex International Activities: High-Profile & high-risk international collaborations

In accordance with UCOP International Activities Policy, the International Activities Coordination Group (IACG) has developed guidelines for complex international activities to help UC Berkeley faculty and staff navigate high-profile, high-risk international collaborations and activities that may ultimately require approval by the Chancellor, UCOP, or the Regents. Certain high-level activities will require a business and reputational risk assessment with the IACG and approval from senior leadership before they can proceed.

Examples may include dual-degree programs, the establishment of a joint research center abroad, activities involving shared governance, UC Berkeley subsidiaries abroad, or high-profile use of the UC Berkeley name internationally, among others. Please consult geo@berkeley.edu with questions.

International exchange or student mobility agreements (graduate, undergraduate), collaborative degree programs (such as 3+1+1 programs), faculty exchange programs, international service agreements, or revenue-generating programs

All agreements to establish terms and conditions for an undergraduate exchange, graduate exchange, or faculty exchange program, as well as any revenue-generating international programs, should be processed by Business Contracts and Brand Protection (BCBP). Restricted Party Screening should be conducted for all prospective international partners.

Use of UC Berkeley’s name, trademark, or logo

Any activity that involves licensing of the UC Berkeley name or trademark internationally must be reviewed by Business Contracts and Brand Protection (BCBP). BCBP will look at many factors including the territory and its intellectual property laws, valuation of the mark, and risk of reputational harm.

Other International Agreements

Refer to our guidance on Types of International Agreements to determine the authorized representative. The Global Engagement Office is available to consult on international agreements and determine the appropriate representative or unit to handle the transaction. Contact geo@berkeley.edu


Please refer to the University of California (UCOP) Policy on International Activity (IAP) which covers policy related to all international activities conducted by UC employees and students, and is intended to support the University's academic mission, provide an administrative framework for international activities, and guard the interests of faculty, students, and staff while engaging in international activities. The Global Engagement Office is available to help faculty and staff interpret the UCOP International Activities Policy and approval routing throughout campus. Please consult geo@berkeley.edu.

SPONSORED RESEARCH & DISCLOSING INTERNATIONAL CONNECTIONS

Federal agencies and policymakers have expressed concern that foreign entities may be using the academic research enterprise in an attempt to compromise the United States’ economic competitiveness and national security. In response, federal funding agencies have sought to clarify long standing policies and issued new guidance that clarifies what principal investigators (PIs) should be disclosing to a federal sponsor about foreign connections. The Sponsored Projects Office maintains an International Connections and Foreign Influences website to provide guidance on these evolving Federal regulations and disclosure requirements. This includes guidance on disclosing foreign talent programs, conflicts of interest, and conflicts of commitment, as well as detailed guidance from specific agencies (NIH, DOE, etc).


For timely updates, principal investigators, faculty, and staff wishing to stay up to date on Sponsored research requirements should join the SPO mailing list. Research Administrators and other support staff are also encouraged to attend Research Administration and Compliance (RAC) Forums.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST/CONFLICT OF COMMITMENT

Faculty members and other investigators must disclose certain information to UC Berkeley in order to comply with federal, state, and university requirements. It is important for all UC Berkeley investigators, especially UC Berkeley faculty and other employees, to comply with these regulations, and to be mindful of disclosing international connections and interests that may pose a conflict of interest or commitment. 

Note that UC Berkeley recommends all involvement (funded or unfunded) with foreign entities be disclosed.

Please find more information about the responsible offices and university policies for conflict of interest and conflict of commitment below.


CONFLICT OF INTEREST (COI)

To protect the integrity and objectivity of research conducted by UC Berkeley investigators, and comply with related policies and regulations

The University recognizes that outside financial interests can facilitate opportunities for innovation, collaboration, and support.  Federal, State, and University regulations and policies requiring financial disclosure and review were implemented to address those instances when the outside financial interests may bias or appear to bias the research. COI disclosure requirements comparison provides an overview of the financial disclosure requirements.

Questions regarding conflict of interest should be directed to the Conflict of Interest staff.


CONFLICT OF COMMITMENT (COC)

To identify and manage outside professional activities of UC Berkeley faculty to ensure no interference with academic responsibilities

The Academic Personnel Manual (section 025) places limits on the amount of outside professional activities faculty members are permitted to undertake and sets out reporting guidelines for compensated and uncompensated outside professional and non-professional activities. UC Berkeley's Academic Personnel Office oversees UC Berkeley's campus information on conflict of commitment.

Reports of outside professional activities (whether compensated or uncompensated) must include all foreign and domestic activities. The UC-wide Outside Activity Tracking System (OATS) has been developed to facilitate this reporting throughout the UC system and at UC Berkeley.

Questions regarding conflict of commitment should be addressed to the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Faculty Welfare.


Faculty or other investigators with questions about specific federal agency disclosure requirements for sponsored research should refer to the International Connections and Foreign Influences website.

PROTECTING INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, DATA & MATERIALS

The aim of UC Berkeley policies on the protection of intellectual property rights is to make available research to others for the public benefit, while providing recognition to individual researchers and inventors and encouraging the prompt and open dissemination of research results.

The Office of Intellectual Property and Industry Research Alliances (IPIRA) has the mission of enhancing the research enterprise of UC Berkeley by establishing multifaceted collaborations with companies and organizations, as well as protecting intellectual property and data. Contact the appropriate office of IPIRA if you intend to:

If you have questions about intellectual property, industrial contracts, or affiliate programs, contact iao@berkeley.edu.

HOSTING INTERNATIONAL SCHOLARS, RESEARCHERS, & VISITORS

The openness of UC Berkeley campus to international researchers, scholars, and students is vitally important to our research enterprise. Please refer to the following resources and guidelines:

Hosting visiting researchers

Prior to hosting a visiting international scholar or during the application phase, all faculty or departments considering hosting visiting international scholars should consult the Visiting Scholars and Postdoc Affairs (VSPA) office to ensure compliance with university policies. VSPA is responsible for oversight and appointments of visiting research scholars (faculty, students) and postdocs.

Export Control Regulations and Visitors

Whenever you are planning to have an international visitor participate in your research, laboratory, course, training or other activity, there are three general questions to take into consideration prior to the visit to guide you in evaluating the export compliance risk involved: From what country or institution is the visitor? To what research, technology, and information will the visitor have access? To what locations will the visitor have access while at Berkeley? Depending on the answers to these questions, a Restricted Party Screening may be required. Consult the Export Control hosting International Visitors, Students, and Researchers website for more information. In particular, hosting visitors from sanctioned countries may carry additional risk and may require consultation with Export Control.

High-level international delegations

The Global Engagement Office is responsible for hosting and coordinating high-level international delegation visits meeting with UC Berkeley senior leadership, including visits with government officials, higher education officials, foreign ministries, and other diplomatic or educational institutions. Please reference the Hosting International Visitors webpage or contact geo@berkeley.edu for more information.

Visas and immigration

The Berkeley International Office provides support for UC Berkeley’s international students and scholars, and serves as the campus experts in advising, visas and immigration services, advocacy, and programming to the UC Berkeley campus community.

Standards of conduct

As members of the UC Berkeley community, international students and scholars adhere to UC Berkeley’s Standards of Ethical Conduct in the realms of academics and research, social and cultural life and federal and university regulations.

The Berkeley International Office (BIO) has also developed a guide to intellectual property at UC Berkeley and in the United States for international graduate students.

COMPLIANCE WITH EXPORT CONTROL REGULATIONS

Export control laws are federal regulations that control the conditions under which certain information, technologies, and commodities can be transmitted overseas to anyone, including U.S. citizens, or to a foreign national on U.S. soil. These federal regulations may impose access, dissemination, or participation restrictions on transfer of items and information regulated for reasons such as national security, trade sanctions policy, or anti-terrorism.


International collaborations that could trigger export control requirements include:

  • collaboration on controlled or restricted research
  • collaborators that include people or entities from a sanctioned country
  • collaborators that include people or entities that are considered a restricted party
  • research that involves the transfer of physical items, technical data, or software
  • any transfers that could meet the definition of a defense service

Export control laws have the potential to impact UC Berkeley faculty, staff, students, researchers, and research, especially in fields of science and engineering. When collaborating with international partners, making financial transactions, shipping materials, transferring technology, traveling abroad, or using restricted materials for research, all UC Berkeley faculty, staff, and students must comply with US export control regulations.

For more information, please refer to the Export Control Office or the following EC guidelines:


If you have a question or require assistance with an export control matter, including Restricted Party Screenings, please submit an Export Control Service Request Form. This will ensure that your request/question is noted, time stamped, and tracked. The Export Control can provide one-on-one consultations, trainings, and informational materials for campus, and can also host informational sessions for your department, lab, or group.

UC Berkeley offers export control training through the online Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) program.

Please contact ec-team@berkeley.edu with questions.

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL & CYBERSECURITY

Sponsor requirements and disclosures:

Federal agencies and other entities that fund your work may also require advance approval and/or disclosure of foreign travel or domestic travel sponsored by foreign entities. Check the requirements associated with your specific funding sources. When traveling to high-risk countries, follow cybersecurity recommendations, including the use of clean devices to protect information. Refer to the Sponsored Project Office International Connections and Foreign Influences guidance for Federal funding guidelines.


Export Control:

Certain types of international travel, research, and other activities may involve export control regulations depending on the travel destination and the items, software, and/or technical data that are taken. When you travel abroad, everything you take is an export, including high-tech equipment, confidential, unpublished, or proprietary information or data. Traveling with certain types of high-tech equipment including but not limited to advanced GPS units, scientific equipment, or with controlled, proprietary or unpublished data in any format may require an export license depending on your travel destination. Travel to sanctioned countries (as defined by the Federal government) carries higher risk. If you are traveling to one of these countries, you should review export control requirements and regulations for international travel.


Cybersecurity:

For members of the campus community, a trip to a foreign country presents unique data security challenges. The following cybersecurity resources will help faculty, staff, and students better prepare:

  • Berkeley's Information Security Office provides advice on protecting your intellectual property, data, and devices, whether it’s for work or personal, and includes a list of data security safeguards you should add to your travel checklist before, during and after your trip. If you plan to access CalNet while traveling, follow the University's recommendations for "Traveling with 2-Step"
  • Although encryption is recommended to protect sensitive information in case your device is lost, stolen, inspected or confiscated, some countries restrict the use/importation of encryption software. The USA may also restrict its export. See UCOP's International Travel web page for information, including lists of countries with travel restrictions, and links for additional help.

Campus travel resources:

The Global Engagement Office has compiled general campus resources for international travel, including current international travel policies and approval processes, risk services, trip registration, reimbursements, and travel insurance.

UCOP & UC BERKELEY RESPONSE, ADVOCACY & COMMUNICATION

The University of California system and UC Berkeley are actively involved in advocating for international collaboration in higher education and research, and have worked to provide resources and information to help the UC Berkeley community navigate this evolving environment.


UC Office of the President (UCOP) advocacy & resources

The UC Office of the President (UCOP) has established a website that provides additional background information, guidance, and recommendations for the UC community on foreign influence.


Two internal committees and task forces have helped guide UC Berkeley’s approach to international engagement

  • In 2019, the UC Berkeley International Engagement Policy Task Force (IEPTF), convened by the Vice Chancellor of Research, Randy Katz, and Vice Provost of Academic Planning & Senior International Officer, Lisa Alvarez-Cohen, reviewed UC Berkeley campus policies and procedures related to international agreements and funding, research disclosures, training and awareness regarding regulations, communications, and related international operations issues. The Task Force included broad faculty and staff representation and was staffed by GEO and VCRO.
  • The standing International Activities Coordination Group (IACG) committee provides ongoing support for UC Berkeley’s international activities, serves as an advisory group to senior leadership, and is tasked with advising on issues of international engagement and foreign influence to ensure campus operations are aligned with UC Berkeley’s Principles of International Engagement, among other priorities. The IACG is Chaired by Vice Provost for Academic Planning & Senior International Officer, staffed by GEO, and includes faculty senate representatives.

UC Berkeley and University of California leadership have issued the following notices related to this topic

  • February 7, 2019 and February 13, 2019 UC President Janet Napolitano - Foreign Influence Memos
  • February 20, 2019 - UC Berkeley Chancellor - Reaffirming our support for Berkeley's international community
  • March 9, 2019 - UC Academic CouncilResponse to Reports from two Tiger Teams on International Research and Students, in response to President Napolitano’s letters of February 7 and 13, 2019. 
  • July 22, 2019 - UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor for Research & Vice Provost for Academic Planning - UC Berkeley International Engagement Policy Task Force
  • August 8, 2019 - UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor for Research - Update: Changes to federal agency guidelines on foreign funding and foreign talent programs
  • January 8, 2020 - UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor, Student Affairs - Supporting students during times of international tension
  • July 7, 2020 - UC Berkeley Chancellor - We support our international community
  • January 22, 2021 - Vice Provost for Academic Planning - UC Berkeley Principles of International Engagement

UC Berkeley leadership has participated in the following presentations and related events

Advocacy for International Education

The University of California system and UC Berkeley continue to monitor and advocate for sound legislation around immigration and international education matters. The Berkeley International Office maintains a record of what efforts are being made to address specific issues. 

TRAINING & OTHER RESOURCES

UC Training


National resources and guidance

The Biden-Harris White House developed Clear Rules for Research Security and Researcher Responsibility (August 10, 2021).

The U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Education issued a joint statement of Principles in Support of International Education and pledged a renewed U.S. commitment to international education. These principles include a call to maintain the integrity of federally-funded and protected intellectual property and research endeavors from undue foreign influence and unlawful acquisition. (July 27, 2021)

The Association of American Universities (AAU), of which Berkeley is a member, compiled a high-level summary of actions taken by US Universities, Congress, and Federal Agencies to address foreign security threats, undue foreign interference, and protect research integrity at US Universities.

The Council on Government Relations (COGR) developed a Science and Security resource for information on foreign influence.

CAMPUS CONTACTS

Refer to the campus International Agreement Risk and Compliance Contacts for campus contacts related to global engagement, international agreements, and research.

If you are contacted by a government agency or media organization concerning foreign involvement in your research or other activities, please contact the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research - vcr@berkeley.edu (for research) or Chief Ethics, Risk, and Compliance Officer - ethics@berkeley.edu (for other activities) immediately and you will be directed to the appropriate UC Berkeley office for assistance.

Please contact geo@berkeley.edu if you have any other questions.