University of Central Florida alleged to have ties with Chinese institutions

The University of Central Florida came out on the list of alleged educational institutions having research ties with China.

Research at the University of Central Florida

The House of Representatives’ Committee on the Integrity of Research Institutions flagged the University of Central Florida for having researches that are linked with Chinese institutions.

This is the third institution that the house inquiry committee has investigated for suspected research ties with China. Undeclared Research ties with foreign countries are considered illegal and put the risk in national security.

The Vice President for Compliance and Risk at the University of Central Florida, Rhonda Bishop, has already formed their own fact-finding committee and has forwarded the reports to authorities.

In the report, four instances where listed, with one standing out. This case drags Dr. Zinzhang Wu in 1999, with research on magnets used for silent motors. Bishop acknowledges that Wu has been in contact with another Chinese university during the course of his research.

The university administrator was not informed of any communication Wu had with the Chinese university back then. In 2018, Wu was summoned by the committee to answer to the allegations charged against him, but he didn’t appear, and eventually tendered his resignation and left the country.

The university now includes training workshops for its researchers to educate them on the legalities in being involved with foreign institutions while working in the university. The training is one way of preventing another Dr. Wu case in the future.

Thousand Talents Program

Cases of researches in International universities being leaked into Chinese universities are part of the Thousand Talents Program of China. In this program, Chinese universities are enticing foreign talents to be under their payroll and leak out research information that will then be patented in China.

According to the House inquiry committee, the Moffit Cancer Center also had records of their researchers receiving bank transfers traced to China’s Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute and Hospital.

The controversy in Moffitt forced the resignation of guilty parties, including Dr. Dan Sullivan, Dr. Howard McLeod, Dr. Sheng Wei, Dr. Pearlie Epling-Burnette, and two admin staff, CEO Alan List and Center director Tom Sellers.

Mr. Sellers does not admit to the allegations and suing Moffit for branding him as a part of the Thousand Talents program.