DOE Q/TS after working in China

Hello! I have a hypothetical question regarding foreign influence and past employment history. I am a PhD student looking for positions in an R&D-related field where DoD and DoE national labs typically hire, but things have been tight regarding funding. However, I was flat-out offered a position in China to do (in theory) non-defense related science for an agency that is funded by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. It’s a competitive and very well compensated 3-year position, and it’s been clear for a while that they’re heavily recruiting foreign talent. I’m not sold on it, but they’re rolling in cash and US-funded science isn’t.

However, I would want to come back to the US eventually, and I am worried that this position would disqualify me from many DoD/DoE positions based on the suspicion of foreign influence. The information regarding disqualification for foreign family members/spouses/dual citizenship/etc seems pretty clear, but I’d like to try and find some more evidence in my situation before I accept/decline this opportunity. (For the record, I have no foreign family, no money or legal issues, and have other family members with active clearance.)

Working for a foreign government/business - especially China - will cause you to be scrutinized.

Google Chinese espionage tactics - industrial and defense programs. This simple Google search will give a PhD student more than enough information to answer your question.

1 Like

Thank you for the reply. That’s what I figured (and the reason I was scrutinizing the position and posting in the first place!). The risk of espionage has been a touchy-but-real subject in my field, where we straddle defense-related funding and often having Chinese graduate students or collaborators. Ultimately, my situation (or similar) wasn’t explicitly covered in the resources I had seen regarding foreign influence and espionage, and I wanted to see if there was something in writing regarding temporary positions abroad that I had missed - most of the “help” related articles or posts here seem to deal with family members/Chinese spouses/etc.

Part of the problem is that little happens in China that is not, in the background in some way, funded by or controlled by the military. I would even be careful working in the U.S. if the company was based in China.