Department of Energy Prohibits all Employees from Participating in Foreign Talent Recruitment Programs

Jun 21, 2019

The Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced that it is no longer permitting any of its employees to participate in talent recruitment programs sponsored by foreign governments that the department deems a “foreign country of risk.” This ban includes all scientists working in the DOE national laboratories, as well as all members of its’ external advisory committees and comes amidst worsening relationships between the U.S. and China following reports of China hacking into U.S. data through foreign telecom companies. For the time being the list of prohibited countries is limited to China, North Korea, Russia, and Iran.

DOE defines a talent recruitment program as “any foreign-state-sponsored attempt to acquire U.S. scientific-funded research or technology through foreign government-run or funded recruitment programs that target scientists, engineers, academics, researchers, and entrepreneurs of all nationalities working in the United States.” 

The directive goes on to note that “Many, but not all, programs aim to incentivize the targeted individual to physically relocate to the foreign state. Of particular concern are those programs that allow for continued employment at U.S. research facilities or receipt of DOE research funds while concurrently receiving compensation from a foreign state.”

DOE further clarifies that its definition of compensation extends beyond simply cash, to include other incentives such as career advancement opportunities, honorific titles or research funding. A separate directive geared towards university-based grantees is anticipated to be released in the near future.

To view the DOE Talent Directive, click here:

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