Caught in the Crossfire: Strategic Competition, U.S.-China Science Collaboration, and U.S. Universities

Panel Discussion


Arthur Bienenstock,
Co-chair, American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Committee on International Scientific Partnerships; Professor of Photon Science, Emeritus, Stanford University

Elsa B. Kania,
Adjunct Senior Fellow, Technology and National Security Program, Center for a New American Security

Susan Shirk,
Chair of the 21st Century China Center, UC San Diego; Research Professor, School of Global Policy & Strategy, UC San Diego

Tim Stearns,
Frank Lee and Carol Hall Professorship, Department of Biology, Stanford University; Senior Associate Vice Provost of Research

Date and Time

October 28, 2020 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM


Via Zoom. Register at:

FSI Contact

This is a virtual event. Please click here to register and generate a link to the talk. 
The link will be unique to you; please save it and do not share with others.

Reports of Chinese espionage, IP theft and military-civil fusion strategy have all fueled concerns regarding U.S. universities’ open research ecosystem, especially in STEM.  Many of the concerns focus not only on research integrity but also on potential adverse consequences to U.S. military and economic security.  This panel intends to deepen discussion on open access to U.S. universities, security risks involved, as well as the potential adverse consequences of limiting international access in science and technology (S&T) research.  Questions that panel members will be asked to address include:  What is our best estimate regarding the scale and scope of adverse influence in U.S. universities attributable to S&T collaboration with PRC personnel?  Scientific collaboration and higher education have traditionally been immune to the ups-and-downs of U.S.-China politics.  How did we get to where we are, and why?  What are remedial measures that universities can consider, optimized to balance security and ethical concerns while ensuring pre-eminent scientific advancements and continued U.S. innovation? 



Photo of Arthur BienenstockArthur Bienenstock is co-chair, with Peter Michelson, of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Committee on International Scientific Partnerships.  He has also been a member of the National Science Board, the governing body of the National Science Foundation, since 2012.  From November 1997 to January 2001, he was Associate Director for Science of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.  At Stanford, he is Special Assistant to the President for Federal Research Policy, Associate Director of the Wallenberg Research Link and a professor emeritus of Photon Science, having joined the faculty in 1967.  He was Vice Provost and Dean of Research and Graduate Policy during the period September 2003 to November 2006, Director of the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource from 1978 to 1977 and Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs from 1972 to 1977. 

Photo of Elsa B. KaniaElsa B. Kania is an Adjunct Senior Fellow with the Technology and National Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. Her research focuses on Chinese military strategy, defense innovation, and emerging technologies. Ms. Kania also works in support of the U.S. Air Force’s China Aerospace Studies Institute through its Associates Program and is a Non-Resident Fellow in Indo-Pacific Security with the Institute for the Study of War. She has been invited to testify before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, and the National Commission on Service. Kania was named an official “Mad Scientist” by the U.S. Army’s Training and Doctrine Command and was a 2018 Fulbright Specialist with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. Her first book, Fighting to Innovate, should be forthcoming with the Naval Institute Press in 2021. Currently, she is a PhD candidate in Harvard University's Department of Government.

Portrait of Susan Shirk

Susan Shirk is the chair of the 21st Century China Center and a research professor at the School of Global Policy & Strategy at UC San Diego. She is also director emeritus of the University of California’s Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC), serving from 1992 to 1997, and again from 2007 to 2012. 

From 1997 to 2000, Shirk served as deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs, with responsibility for China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Mongolia. Shirk founded in 1993 the Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue (NEACD), an unofficial “track-two” forum for discussions of security issues among defense and foreign ministry officials and academics from the United States, Japan, China, Russia, and the Koreas.

Shirk’s book China: Fragile Superpower helped frame the policy debate on China in the U.S. and other countries. Her other publications include The Political Logic of Economic Reform in China; How China Opened its Door; Competitive Comrades: Career Incentives and Student Strategies in China; and her edited book, Changing Media, Changing China. Her current book project is Overreach: How China’s Domestic Politics Derailed its Peaceful Rise

Portrait of Tim SternsTim Stearns holds the Frank Lee and Carol Hall Professorship in the Department of Biology at Stanford University and is Senior Associate Vice Provost of Research. He also holds appointments in the Department of Genetics, is a member of the Stanford Cancer Institute and Bio-X, is a Faculty Fellow in Chem-H, and is an affiliated faculty member of the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC). He is a member of JASON, a national organization that advises the government on matters of science, technology and national security. He has also been an advisor to the National Academies of Science and the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). Dr. Stearns received a B.S. from Cornell University, a Ph.D. from MIT, and did his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. His research concerns the mechanism and regulation of cell division, the organization of signaling pathways within cells, and cell biology of fungal pathogens. Stearns was named an HHMI Professor in 2002 for his work in science education, and has taught international workshops in South Africa, Chile, Ghana, and Tanzania. He is the chair of the NCSD Study Section at the NIH and has served on the editorial boards of several journals.

Share this Event