Our Commitment to Ethical Standards in Research

February 4, 2020

UCLA Office of the Excutive Vice Chancellor and Provost 

To: Deans, Directors, Department Chairs, Administrative Officers, and Faculty

Please share this message with all researchers in your unit. 

Dear Colleagues:

As you are well aware, UCLA is committed to academic freedom and supports international collaborations and scholarly exchanges. At the same time, however, we must comply with U.S. laws and regulations that govern them, including full and transparent reporting to the University and to federal research sponsors of affiliations with and support from foreign governments and other institutions.

The academic community was reminded of this last week when a Harvard professor was arrested because he failed to disclose foreign affiliations and funding sources to federal research sponsors. In August 2019, a researcher at the University of Kansas was indicted for a similar reason. We have read about researchers at other U.S. institutions who have lost their positions because of undisclosed membership in foreign talents programs, because they maintained shadow laboratories in other countries, or because they failed to disclose support for research from foreign governments and other foreign entities.

Former Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Scott Waugh issued a memo last year emphasizing the importance of complying with U.S. laws and regulations as well as UC and UCLA policies that govern the way international engagements are managed and reported. Recently, the Chancellor, the Vice Chancellor for Research, the Chair of the Academic Senate and I wrote to reaffirm the importance of international collaborations as well as our responsibility to comply with applicable laws and policies.

The UC Statement of Ethical Values and Standards of Ethical Conduct (PDF) apply to all members of the University community. It reminds us that we are all expected to conduct ourselves ethically, honestly, and with integrity. The section on Fair Dealing states that “principles of fairness, good faith and respect consistent with laws, regulations and University policies govern our conduct…” It also states that “no unlawful practice or a practice at odds with these standards can be justified on the basis of customary practice, expediency, or achieving a ‘higher’ purpose.”

I remain exceptionally proud of the innovative and impactful research conducted all across this campus each day. I also appreciate your shared dedication and commitment to compliance with these policies and requirements. Our administration stands ready to assist and provide guidance to ensure all of our activities conform to UC and UCLA policy, funding agency requirements, and U.S. laws. Questions or concerns about foreign collaborations and any related matters can be brought to Roger Wakimoto, vice chancellor for research, at rwakimoto@conet.ucla.edu.


Emily A. Carter
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost