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Projects & Initiatives

Debbie Altenburg
Assistant Vice President, Research Advocacy and Policy

Science and Security

APLU Impact

  • Working with federal research and intelligence agencies to address ongoing and emerging foreign security threats and ensure the security of the research enterprise.
  • Producing an Effective Practices Summary with the Association of American Universities (AAU) highlighting policies, practices, tools, and resources for our member institutions.
  • Advocating for the Securing American Science and Technology Act of 2019 to protect research from foreign threats while maintaining the benefits of international research collaborations and emphasizing openness, academic freedom, and the transmission of knowledge.

The nation’s public research universities have a unique, long-standing partnership with the federal government conducting research on behalf of the American people. This research represents one of the nation’s greatest assets, which is why it is a target for foreign attack. APLU is working with its member institutions to help protect against foreign interference, influence, and theft of research and the discoveries that come from it.

APLU is partnering with AAU as well. Together, APLU and AAU conducted a survey of their members institutions on policies, practices, tools, and resources. The groups released an Effective Practices Summary in April 2019, based on a joint survey of the membership. The associations will continue to update this document. APLU President Peter McPherson and AAU President Mary Sue Coleman penned an op-ed promulgating the best practices, encouraging university presidents to receive security briefings from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and urging the intelligence community to provide more detailed assessments. APLU President Peter McPherson wrote an earlier op-ed advocating for increased federal investments in scientific research.

On the federal policy side, APLU and AAU support the Securing American Science and Technology Act of 2019, which would require federal research and security agencies to coordinate in an effort to better safeguard federally funded research from foreign influence, attacks, and theft.