BOSTON—Two federal agencies have recently tightened procedures to avoid potential financial conflicts of interest among staff members. The new procedures at the National Science Foundation and the Office of Technology Assessment follow public disclosure that a staff member at each agency had ties to companies whose products were related to their work.

This perennial thorny issue resurfaced last fall after reports that David T. Kingsbury, assistant director of NSF and chairman of the White House’s Biotechnology Science Coordinating Committee (BSCC), had ties to several subsidiaries of Porton International, a British biotechnology company. The Justice Department is investigating the charges at the request of a congressional committee. Kingsbury let the BSCC in October when the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy restructured the committee (see THE SCIENTIST, November 2, p. 3). His departure appeared unrelated to the criminal investigation. Kingsbury retains his post at NSF, which says its investigation...

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