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On October 28, the House Subcommittee on Science tackled what one congressman described as “one of the thorniest issues in science policy”—the relationship between foreign corporations and American research universities. The 2-hour hearing probably raised more questions than it answered.

Congress has been looking at this issue with an eye toward whether changes in existing U.S. law are needed. Last year, the Senate discussed this matter during its consideration of the National Institutes of Health authorization bill. Current legislation governing foreign access to federally funded research at U.S. universities dates back to 1980.