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Concerns – When to Contact Export Compliance

Though university activities are often eligible for exceptions and exclusions from export controls, the use of such exclusions/exemptions may be unavailable in certain circumstances. The following provides guidance on circumstances or concerns that require a closer review of potential export control issues. These concerns may appear in a number of activities, including sponsored research, non-sponsored research, or collaboration with third parties. Examples of activities in a university setting that may be subject to export controls follow.

Export controls may apply if an employee or the university accepts restriction on the publication or dissemination of information.

Examples of problematic restrictions included:

  • Pre-publication review by a sponsor or third-party;
  • Requirement to treat research results as proprietary or confidential;
  • A sponsor’s right to withhold information from dissemination or publication;
  • Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) that restrict information or request that  certain information be held as proprietary.

Export controls may apply if an employee or the university accepts research restrictions, including those that:

  • Forbid or restrict the participation of foreign nationals;
  • Limit research participation to U.S. persons or U.S. citizens;
  • Designate the research activity, content or results as subject to export controls;
  • Include a sponsor initiated or Government flow-down export control clause (other than a general statement of compliance);
  • Require a security clearance for participants; or
  • Otherwise limits the openness in research activities.

Export controls may also apply to university activities related to international travel. International travel activities that may be subject to export controls include:

  • Shipment or hand-carry of items, materials, equipment or technical data, including prototypes, to another country;
  • Travel to a country subject to a U.S. embargo or sanctions (e.g., Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan or Syria).

With few exceptions, the Fundamental Research Exclusion is limited to research conducted at U.S. accredited institutions of higher learning.

Therefore, research activity involving a location outside the United States or exchange of technology with a foreign located collaborator may invalidate this exemption. In addition, collaborative research with any U.S. embargoed or sanctioned country may be subject to U.S. export controls or economic sanctions regulations.