Elias Zerhouni, Sanofi

Elias Zer­houni: Fear of ‘tar­get­ed dis­crim­i­na­tion’ against Chi­nese-Amer­i­can sci­en­tists threat­ens an ex­o­dus of tal­ent. What do you think?

The re­cent dis­missal of sev­er­al Chi­nese-Amer­i­can bio­med­ical sci­en­tists be­lieved to have vi­o­lat­ed the rules on dis­clo­sure — or sus­pect­ed of be­ing sci­en­tif­ic spies for Chi­na — has Elias Zer­houni con­cerned about the fu­ture of biotech and sci­ence in gen­er­al in the US. And he be­lieves some­thing should be done about it. Now.

The for­mer NIH chief, as well as the re­cent­ly re­tired head of R&D at Sanofi, sound­ed a clear warn­ing in an op-ed piece for Sci­ence that these dis­missals threat­en thou­sands of Chi­nese-born sci­en­tists work­ing in the US — and who clear­ly want to re­main here. The US needs to bal­ance the need for vig­i­lance in main­tain­ing trade se­crets while keep­ing open the col­lab­o­ra­tive lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion that have been en­cour­aged in sci­en­tif­ic fields for years, he writes. And par­tic­u­lar care needs to be ap­plied when en­forc­ing old and long-ne­glect­ed rules on work­ing with Chi­nese in­sti­tu­tions and in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

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