NCSC and Partners Unveil “Safeguarding Science” Toolkit to Help U.S. Research Enterprise Guard Against Threats

NCSC and Partners Unveil “Safeguarding Science” Toolkit to Help
U.S. Research Enterprise Guard Against Threats

The National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) and its partners today announced a unique collaboration between elements of the U.S. intelligence and scientific communities to help the U.S. research enterprise mitigate the broad spectrum of risk it faces from nation-state, criminal, and other threat actors.


The Safeguarding Science online toolkit is designed for individuals and organizations in the U.S. scientific, academic, and emerging technology sectors who are seeking to develop their own programs to protect research, technology, and personnel from theft, abuse, misuse, or exploitation.



  • Promote a U.S. research ecosystem that emphasizes collaboration, openness, equity, integrity, and security, all of which facilitate innovation
  • Provide curated resources for our stakeholders to support best practices in protecting research and innovation
    • Supplement existing ethics training with security education to provide case studies relating to misuse and exploitation of research
    • Provide inclusive educational opportunities for domestic / international students and faculty that are germane to the fields of research and development
  • Assist academia and industry in developing their own methods to protect research from theft, misuse, abuse, or exploitation.
    • Highlight shared responsibility of scientific community and U.S. government to protect research and innovation in emerging technologies
    • Develop a culture of security awareness to supplement existing compliance measures, fostering scientific citizenship
    • Evolve from a “do no harm” mentality to an explicit “not on my watch” mentality
  • Foster information exchanges to better identify emerging technology security challenges
    • Establish liaison contacts between scientific community and the U.S. government
    • Facilitate tripwire/suspicious activity reporting


NCSC has developed this resource with partners at the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (WH-OSTP), and the American Association of Universities (AAU).


The Safeguarding Science toolkit was designed with the scientific community for the scientific community. It provides research stakeholders with a single location to access security best practices from across government and academia and to select those tools tailored for their individual needs. NCSC and its partners seek to promote a robust and resilient U.S. research ecosystem that emphasizes integrity, collaboration, openness, and security, all of which facilitate innovation.


“NCSC has been providing research stakeholders with information about threats for some time, but we also felt it was critical to partner with the scientific community to give researchers tangible mitigation tools they could use to enhance their security,” said Michael Orlando, the Senior Official Performing the Duties of the NCSC Director. “The Safeguarding Science effort is not a new government compliance program or prosecution effort, just a free online resource to help U.S. researchers mitigate today’s evolving risks so they can continue to innovate for the future.”


“NSF is pleased to collaborate with our Federal agency partners to provide the research security sections in the new online “Safeguarding Science” toolkit. By aligning that content with key areas of the National Security Presidential Memorandum-33 (NSPM-33) Implementation Guidance, we can help the academic community better understand research security initiatives currently underway across the federal enterprise, and the rationale for that guidance. We look forward to continuing to provide information and tools that will be helpful to the research community,” said Rebecca Keiser, NSF Chief of Research Security Strategy and Policy.


“The U.S. Department of Transportation is focused on delivering innovation through the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), with unprecedented investments in research, technology deployments, and innovative projects to future-proof America’s transportation system,” noted Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology and Chief Science Officer Dr. Robert C. Hampshire. “We appreciate the intelligence and scientific communities coming together to deliver the Safeguarding Science Toolkit, to enable us and our partners to deliver innovation while protecting American technology from theft and abuse.”


The Safeguarding Science initiative is the latest iteration of NCSC’s ongoing outreach to key U.S. emerging technology sectors, which was first announced publicly last year. A core NCSC mission is to conduct counterintelligence (CI) outreach to the U.S. private sector, academic and research communities, as well as other external stakeholders to arm them with information about foreign intelligence threats to their organizations and ways to mitigate the risks.


A Center within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), NCSC is the nation’s premier source for CI and security expertise and is a trusted mission partner in protecting America against foreign and other adversarial threats.