The U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report on January 11, 2024, which studies federal funding provided to foreign entities for research and development. The Report states:
According to the National Science Foundation, federal
agencies obligated about $1.4 billion for R&D with foreign entities in
fiscal year 2020 (the most recent data available). However, some foreign
entities may try to exploit U.S. openness in sharing R&D for nefarious
The Research and Development, Competition, and Innovation Act
includes a provision for GAO to review research funding provided to foreign
entities of concern. The act's definition of such entities includes foreign
terrorist organizations and foreign entities subject to the control, ownership,
and jurisdiction of Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran.
This report examines challenges in identifying R&D funds
awarded to foreign entities of concern and requirements for awarding and
monitoring such funding.
The Report also states, in part:
GAO found that determining whether federal research and
development (R&D) funds were provided to a foreign entity of concern is
challenging. Such entities include foreign terrorist organizations and
specially designated nationals, among others. Awarding agencies are generally
prohibited from doing business with foreign terrorist organizations and
specially designated nationals.
GAO found that government-wide databases which report on some
of these entities lack common identifying information such as a unique
identifier or personally identifiable information. For example, a physical
address, date of birth, or other identifying information for entities on the
foreign terrorist organization list is often unavailable as entities often try
to conceal their identity or location, according to the Treasury Department.
When personally identifiable information such as date of birth is available,
similar information is not available in the public federal funding data source,
USAspending.gov. Specifically, although awarding agencies collect other
identifying information, such as phone numbers of entities seeking an award,
not all such information is reported in USAspending.gov. Together, these
challenges limit the ability to match foreign entities on certain lists with
those receiving government-wide funding.
The full Report is available, here.