Chinese Company Funding Research At US Universities

( – Chinese telecommunication company Huawei Technologies has been secretly funding research at US colleges, including Harvard, through a Washington D.C.-based foundation.

Huawei, which has been blacklisted by the US Commerce Department since 2019, is the sole funder of the Optica Foundation’s research competition, which, since 2022, has awarded millions to research scientists worldwide, including at top American universities that ban researchers from working with Huawei.

Nonpublic documents reveal that the Optica Foundation is deliberately hiding that Huawei is the “funding source or program sponsor” for the competition, which the foundation described as “Confidential Information.”

Research applicants for the competition, university officials, and even one of the competition judges acknowledged that they were not aware that Huawei was funding the program until they were approached by a reporter from Bloomberg. Most of them said they believed that the funding was provided directly by the Optica Foundation and not from a foreign company.

Of the 11 prizes and fellowships offered by the Optica Foundation, only the competition funded by Huawei, which is a $1 million annual award, keeps the list of contributors a secret. The other ten provide a list of corporate and individual contributors.

A spokesman for the Chinese telecom company said Huawei created the competition in conjunction with the Optica Foundation to support global scientific research and insisted that there was no nefarious intent in keeping Huawei’s involvement confidential.

Optica CEO Liz Rogan defended the confidentiality, arguing that some of the foundation’s donors “prefer to remain anonymous.”

Rogan added that Huawei’s funding was first reviewed by outside counsel and was approved by the foundation’s board. She said Optica has been “completely transparent” about the funding and support of its programs with the foundation’s board and its staff.

However, Huawei’s public initiatives in European countries like Germany and France are not kept anonymous, despite the EU Commission recommending that telecommunication equipment from Huawei be banned from use in EU member states due to security risks.

Copyright 2024,