May I collaborate informally (i.e., on an individual-to-individual basis without a signed agreement between Northeastern and the collaborator’s institution) or co-author a paper with other academics around the world?

Yes.  However, when working informally with those outside the U.S., please be aware of the following:

  • Please contact the Export Control Office if you are planning international shipment of any physical items and/or transfer of software and/or technical information to ensure that what you are sending internationally is exported in accordance with U.S. laws. If you are sharing research data or materials (either sending or receiving) with an outside party, please visit the NU-RES website for the appropriate NDA template regarding confidentiality, data use, or material transfer agreement to protect your data and your research.
  • The US sanctions programs under the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) vary by country and scope, there are countries with comprehensive embargoes and sanctions (i.e., Iran, Cuba, Syria, North Korea, Russia, Belarus, Crimea region of Ukraine, Sudan) any collaboration, even if informal may be subject to export license requirements and in some cases strictly prohibited. As a reminder there are restricted entities and persons in every country, and NU is prohibited from entering into an agreement with restricted parties. The Export Control Office ( will screen and review your potential collaborators against U.S. sanctions lists and provide advice if you are considering an informal collaboration with an individual and/or entity in any foreign country.
  • If your informal collaborations— whether domestic or international— relate to the research you are pursuing under a federal award, you may need to disclose these activities in the proposal or in future progress reports.  Please be sure to carefully review the applicable funding opportunity instructions and agency-specific guidance to determine which of your activities must be disclosed.
May I involve NU students in my international collaborations?

Yes. NU’s sponsored research and collaborations regularly involve support from student researchers. NU-RES will communicate with you if there are any specific restrictions that limit the participation of foreign collaborators. If you have specific questions, please contact NU-RES Research Compliance (

I have been invited to speak at an international conference about a paper I authored – can I share my work at the conference?

Yes. Research results that are ordinarily published and shared broadly are considered the results of “fundamental research” and are not subject to U.S. export control restrictions. The shipment of any physical item (i.e., a prototype, biological, sample, or physical model) is subject to U.S. export control even if created or used during fundamental research. Certain encryption software may also require special consideration. If you intend to ship physical items or transmit encryption software, data, or technology that has not been made public, please contact the Export Control Office ().

Although fundamental research in general is not subject to export controls, there may be export license requirements for an engagement if you are traveling to a country with comprehensive sanctions, such as Iran. In some instances, presenting at a conference is seen as “providing a service” to the government of that sanctioned country.

I have a former international post-doc who has returned to his home country and is now employed by a state institution. He is still collaborating on current funded research in my lab. What are the reporting requirements to NU?

Please disclose the collaboration on the International Engagement Form. This collaboration will also need to be disclosed in your annual eCD disclosure. For additional information, please review the Policy on International Engagements and visit the International Engagements Compliance website. If you have additional questions, please reach out to NU-RES Research Compliance (  

Please note that some U.S. federal sponsors, such as NASA, restrict participation, collaboration, or coordination bilaterally with the People’s Republic of China and any company owned by or incorporated under the laws of China. This applies whether the bilateral involvement is funded or performed under a no-exchange of funds arrangement. Additional evaluation may be required for collaboration against the use of NASA resources to ensure that no NASA-funded resources will be provided to a Chinese entity.  Disclosures are important to ensure we provide you with the best possible guidance to protect your research.

Additional review of this collaboration may occur if the student is returning to a country with comprehensive US sanctions. For additional questions please contact the Export Control Office at

My former student (now a faculty member at a foreign institution) gave me co-authorship credit for ideas I contributed 10 years ago while they were in my lab. I was unaware of this publication and that I should not be considered a co-author. What should I do?

Authorship is governed not only by disciplinary norms but also by cultural ones.  A best practice is always to request consent from all co-authors.  In this specific case, it is most likely the student was following their own cultural norms around authorship, which may vary slightly from U.S. norms.  In this case, since you do not believe you meet the definition of a co-author, we recommend that you reach out to the journal to request your name be removed from the publication.  If you have questions or need assistance, please contact

I am applying for a DoD grant. The DoD recently released a new Policy on Risk-Based Security Reviews of Fundamental Research – how does this apply to me? Will my past/current international collaborations impact my ability to secure DoD funding based on the new DoD policy?

Yes, this policy will apply, but additional review is required to determine any impact.

The new DoD policy “requires all fundamental research projects that are selected for award by the DoD to go through a review for potential conflicts of interest and conflicts of commitment arising from foreign influence.” The policy’s goal of reviewing fundamental research project proposals is to mitigate potential research security risks uncovered during a risk-based security review in compliance with NSPM-33. The policy is accompanied by a DoD Component Decision Matrix that will inform fundamental research proposal mitigation decisions.

Beginning August 9, 2024, the DoD is prohibited from providing funding to or making an award of fundamental research project proposal in which a covered individual is participating in a malign foreign talent recruitment program or to a proposing institution that does not have a policy addressing malign foreign talent recruitment programs pursuant to Section 10632 of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022.

The DoD specifies that a covered individual’s collaboration with international researchers, including researchers from foreign countries of concern, does not require mitigation if it does not include any of the factors described in the matrix.   If you are currently participating in a malign foreign talent recruitment program or to a proposing institution that does not have a policy addressing malign foreign talent programs, your ability to secure DoD funding may be impacted.

I have been hearing about the term “malign foreign talent recruitment program”. As a researcher conducting fundamental research with funding primarily from NSF, how does this affect me?

NSF has released their 2024 PAPPG draft which includes a new comprehensive definition of malign foreign talent recruitment program and foreign country of concern. PIs will need to abide by this definition when submitting the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending (Other) Support documents, which require the PI to certify prior to proposal submission that the information provided is accurate, current, and complete, and that the individual is not a party to a malign foreign talent recruitment program (see PAPPG Chapters I.E.2(b) and II.D.1.e for additional information.) NSF will require senior personnel on potential awards to submit updated Current and Pending (Other) Support information prior to award.

What is the difference between a foreign talent recruitment program (FTRP) and a malign foreign talent recruitment program (MFTRP)? Are either allowed?

CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 states there is a difference between a foreign talent recruitment program and a malign foreign talent recruitment program. While the C&S Act does not give a definition of a FTRP – it directs OSTP to create a definition – it “prohibits the participation in any FTRP by personnel of Federal research agencies and to prohibit participation in a MFTRP by covered individual involved with research and development awards from those agencies.” Currently NSPM-33 has released a preliminary definition of FTRPs which is below:

Foreign Talent Recruitment Program: “Effort organized, managed, or funded by a foreign government, or a foreign government instrumentality or entity, to recruit science and technology professionals or students (regardless of citizenship or national origin, or whether having a full-time or part-time position).”

However, not all foreign talent recruitment programs are malign. For the full definition of a malign foreign talent recruitment program, please click here.

If you have any questions, please contact Research Compliance at

Are there situations in which I may not be able to engage with a foreign collaborator?

Yes, there are a few specific situations:

  • The U.S Government maintains restrictions on exports for specific individuals and entities which are identified on various Restricted Party Lists (RPL). In general, collaboration with a restricted entity or person from an RPL will be prohibited.  
  • Collaboration with entities and/or persons from a country with comprehensive embargoes or sanctions will require additional review. Per U.S. sanctions programs, depending on the country and type of collaboration, an export license may be required, and, in some cases, collaboration may be strictly prohibited (reference question 1 for additional details).
  • Some federal agencies are prohibited from providing funding if there is a participation with a foreign talent recruitment program (reference question 6 and 9 for additional information).
  • If the research agreement clearly states that international collaboration is restricted.  Note that this situation is unusual and the request for proposal or other solicitation materials generally spell out if the government/sponsor is considering restricting the project for export control or security reasons.

The Export Control Office ( will screen and review your potential collaborators against U.S. sanctions lists if you are considering collaboration with an individual and/or entity in any foreign country.

What does a faculty member need to consider before becoming an editor on an international journal?

There are a few key factors to consider when signing on as a journal editor:

  • How well do you know the journal and/or its publisher?  How long have they been operating?  Can you find any information about their reputation online?
    • You can find some helpful information on paper mills at the COPE website.
  • Who will be your co-editors and where are they appointed?  Who are the sponsors of the journal?
    • We recommend performing a Restricted Party Screening (RPS) to identify if there are co-editors and/or journal sponsors from debarred or suspended entities.  This does not mean that you cannot participate in the activity, but we may need to provide you with further guidance.
  • What is the expected time commitment?  Will you be remunerated?
    • These are important to understand because they may require disclosure/reporting to the federal government on any biosketch or current and pending support documents.

Please be advised that some funding agencies may question relationships with sanctioned entities, even the journal sponsor that you would be unlikely to interact with. It is difficult to predict the concerns that the funding agency will raise but we have experienced situations where a faculty member was asked to choose between serving as an editor and being included in a funded research activity. 

We recommend that faculty seeking to become an editor or co-editor for a journal screen the journal’s editors and sponsors (reach out to, we will screen them for you, or you can ask for a screening through your college, department or local unit).  If you would like guidance on if a specific situation will impact your funding, please reach out to us

How do I disclose foreign components on federal grants?

How to disclose foreign components and other support to NIH, NSF, DOD, NASA and DOE:


NIH has comprehensive guidance on requirements for disclosure of other support, foreign components and conflicts of interest that can be found at the following website:

NIH additionally has a FAQ section on other support and foreign components that can be found at the following website:


NSF offers guidance and reference information regarding pre-award and post-award disclosures related to the biographical sketch and current and pending (other) support that can be found at the following website:

​Additional NSF Information:​

Department of Defense (DOD)

  • Outside appointments, both paid and unpaid
    • Disclose in the biosketch
    • Disclose at proposal stage
  • Related sources of support
    • Disclose in other support
    • Disclose at proposal stage

Additional DOD Information: 


Department of Energy (DOE)

I still have additional questions – who can I reach out to for help?

Please reach out to NU-RES Research Compliance ( and we will help you.