Export Controls

What are Export Controls?

The United States government regulates the transfer of certain goods, technology, and technical data considered to be strategically important to the U.S. in the interest of national security, economic and/or foreign policy concerns. The complicated network of federal agencies and inter-related regulations that govern exports are collectively referred to as “export controls.” In brief, export controls regulate the shipment or transfer, by whatever means, of controlled goods, technology, or services out of U.S. (called an “export”).

Of even greater importance to the university, is that the government also restricts the release of certain information to foreign nationals here in the U.S. (known as a “deemed export”). Export controls have the potential to severely limit the research opportunities of university faculty and their students and staff, as well as to prevent international collaboration in certain research areas. Non-compliance with export controls can result in severe monetary and criminal penalties against both an individual as well as the university, and can result in the loss of research contracts, governmental funding, and the ability to export items.

Fortunately, most basic research conducted at the university is not subject to export controls under what is referred to as the "Fundamental Research Exclusion" (or "FRE"). Fundamental research is basic or applied research in science and/or engineering at an accredited institution of higher learning in the U.S. resulting in information that is ordinarily published and shared broadly within the scientific community. To learn more about export controls, the FRE, and how they might apply to your work, please use the links on the left.

What areas of research might be affected by Export Controls?

Research in the following areas is most likely to be affected by export controls:

  • Military and Defense Articles and Services
  • Dual Use Technologies (technologies with both military and commercial applications)
  • Nuclear Technology
  • Information Security/Encryption
  • Laser and Directed Energy Systems
  • Rocket Systems
  • High Performance Computing
  • Marine Technology
  • Chemical or Biological Weapons
  • Space Technology and Satellites
  • Robotics
  • Propulsion System and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems
  • Select Agents and Toxins (see Select Agent/Toxin List)

What activities might be affected by Export Controls?

Traveling overseas with high tech equipment, confidential, unpublished, or proprietary information or data – Traveling with certain types of high tech equipment including but not limited to advanced GPS units, scientific equipment, or with controlled, proprietary or unpublished data in any format may require an export license depending on your travel destination. See International Travel for more information.

Traveling with laptop computers, web-enabled cell phones and other personal equipment – Laptop computers, web-enabled cell phones, and other electronics containing encryption hardware or software and/or proprietary software can require an export license to certain destinations. In general, an export license will be required to take any items to or through any U.S. sanctioned country (e.g., Iran, Syria, Cuba, Sudan, and North Korea).

Use of 3rd Party Export Controlled Technology or Information – University activities involving the use of export controlled information, items, or technology received from outside the university are not protected under the Fundamental Research Exclusion and all research involving the use of export restricted technology is subject to all export controls. For help in determining export control issues, please contact ORI.

Sponsored research containing contractual restrictions on publication or dissemination – The vast majority of research done at the university is shielded from export controls under the Fundamental Research Exclusion. However, this protection is lost whenever the university or the researcher agrees to allow any restrictions on the publication, dissemination, or access to the research by foreign nationals. Read more about the "Process for the Review of Sponsored-Provided Documents" on OGCA's website regarding proposals. 

Shipping or Taking Items Overseas – University activities that involve the transfer of project information, equipment, materials, or technology out of the U.S. by whatever means will be subject to export controls and may require export license(s) depending on the item, destination, recipient, and end-use.

Providing Financial Support/International Financial Transactions – University activities that involve the international payment of funds to non-U.S. persons abroad need to be verified to ensure that the university is not inadvertently providing financial assistance to a blocked or sanctioned entity. Examples include providing support via a subcontract to a non-U.S. university or providing payments to research subjects in other countries. Contact the Office of Research Integrity if your activity involves payment to persons or organizations outside the U.S.

International Collaborations & Presentations – University activities that involve foreign national faculty, students, staff, visiting foreign scientists or collaborator(s), or other foreign entities (e.g., non-U.S. company, university or other organization) or research that will include travel to international conferences to present unpublished results may be subject to export controls especially if any of the foreign nationals are from embargoed or sanctioned countries. See International Collaborations for more information.

International Field Work – Research projects where any part of the research will take place outside the U.S. (e.g., field work outside the U.S.) may not qualify under the Fundamental Research Exclusion and may be subject to export controls. For help in determining potential export control issues, please contact ORI.

International Consulting – Providing professional consulting services overseas. Services to embargoed or sanctioned countries (e.g., Iran, Syria, Cuba, Sudan and North Korea) are almost always strictly prohibited.

Who should I contact for help?
You can contact Aaron Menshouse in the Office of Research Integrity at acmenshouse@alaska.edu or 907-474-7832.