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Limits on tech transfer are likely to get tighter

AAAS panel
White House science adviser Kelvin Droegemeier speaks on a panel at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting in Seattle. Other panelists include moderator Margaret Hamburg, AAAS board chair (on Droegemeier’s left side); Jodi Black of the National Institutes of Health; Pradeep Khosla, chancellor at the University of California at San Diego; and Mary Lidstrom, vice provost for research at the University of Washington. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle)

Concerns about international intellectual property theft are feeding into the formulation of new guidelines for auditing federal research funding. And the White House’s science adviser, Kelvin Droegemeier, says he’s trying to make sure the guidelines don’t become too restrictive.

“For research security in particular, I can tell you that we’ve developed a policy for guidance to agencies that is really good,” Droegemeier said today during a town hall session at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting in Seattle. “Let me just tell you, a year ago, I was concerned about where it was going to land, because I thought it was pretty heavy-duty. It would increase burden and wouldn’t actually address the challenges.”

Since then, the guidelines have been adjusted to respond to input received from international partners and from the Joint Committee on the Research Environment, or JCORE, which includes representatives from academia and industry as well as government agencies.

“The one thing that we don’t want to do is build really tall fences around really big areas,” Droegemeier, a meteorologist who heads the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, told attendees. “That would hamstring our research enterprises, and that’s not the right approach.”

After the session, Droegemeier told GeekWire that the guidelines would be released soon but didn’t provide a precise time frame.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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