This article critically considers these recent developments and political context, proposing an approach to manage sensitive research in the complex contemporary political environment. The first part of the article defines security-sensitive research as research having risk associated with foreign interference, cybersecurity, biosecurity or terrorism. The second discusses recent political developments, foreign interference laws and government reforms seeking to better manage the security risks of sensitive research projects in Australia, and briefly surveying relevant developments in the United Kingdom and the United States. The third part examines the ideological and practical issues for universities in complying with the new government requirements and undertaking research in the contemporary political environment. It argues that universities must engage with ongoing societal developments and government reform to adapt their management of security sensitive research, and balance priorities, such as integrity and academic freedom, with broader critical priorities, such as the national interest.