Export Controls are U.S. laws that regulate, for reasons of foreign policy and national security, the distribution of strategically important technology, services and information to foreign nationals and foreign countries.
What is export control?
Export control laws restrict the transfer of regulated material verbally, visually, or in writing either within the US (this is called a “deemed export”), or outside of the US. They apply to research projects, academic collaborations and other interactions including travel to foreign countries. There are three Federal agencies that regulate export controls. These agencies include the Department of Commerce, the Department of State, and the Department of Treasury.
Implications for researchers at UWF
Whether or not research is sponsored, PIs have primary compliance responsibility regarding export control laws. Consequently, communication with Research Administration and Engagement (RAE) and the Research Integrity Office (RIO) is essential. There are tools and resources available through RAE and the RIO to help the PI to determine if research activities are export controlled.
Failure to comply with U. S. export control laws can result in severe penalties, both civil and criminal, for the individual as well as the University. Under the Export Control Reform Act of 2018, criminal penalties can include up to 20 years of imprisonment and up to $1 million in fines per violation, or both. Civil administrative penalties can reach up to $300,000 per violation or twice the value of the transaction, whichever is greater. In addition, the University may impose its own disciplinary actions.
Examples of items designated as export controlled
The Commerce Control List (CCL) and the US Munitions List (USML) detail items which are export controlled and OFAC regulates economic and trade sanctions against individuals, entities and countries. Further details about items regulated as export controlled by each of these agencies can be found at Export Control. Below you will find some examples of what are considered export controlled items. This is not an exhaustive list and the final determination for what is and isn’t export controlled should be made in consultation with the Research Integrity Coordinator at RIO@uwf.edu.
Commodities Examples: any item specifically designed for military use, satellites and gas centrifuges.
Technology Examples: GPS technology, medical lasers and technology with both military and commercial applications (dual use).
Information Examples: confidential, unpublished or proprietary information or data and sponsored classified research with restricted access by foreign nationals.
Technical data Examples: fingerprint and identification retrieval and engineering designs and specifications.
Software Examples: non-commercial encryption software programs and micro programs in either source code (programming statements) or object code (machine-readable instructions).
Services Examples: professional presentation to a country of concern and military or defense services.
Activities that may be affected by export control regulations
The RIO is available to assist staff and faculty with the regulatory issues that may apply to the following activities. Researchers should contact the RIO before engaging in any of these activities, to ensure that export control regulations do not impact research.
- foreign travel
- transport of research equipment and other University property (such as laptops or iPads)
- collaboration with international visitors either formally or informally
- shipping equipment, information, data or samples internationally
- hiring foreign nationals for research activities
- Sponsored research that restricts participation, publication or dissemination
A word about deemed exports
Seemingly benign activities can expose researchers to liability for export control violations. This is why it is important that researchers be well informed about export control restrictions on their interactions with foreign nationals even when these interactions occur on US soil. These include face to face conversations, casual email or telephone exchanges, laboratory tours, or carrying controlled information on a laptop, flash drive or smartphone.
How can I know if export control regulations apply to my research?
This survey will walk you through a series of eight "yes"/"no" questions, leading to a determination of whether or not an export control license may be applicable to your situation. Your responses will be reviewed by the Research Integrity Office (RIO) and you will be contacted if further action is required.
Exclusions from export control regulations
There are exclusions to export control regulations that apply specifically to academia. The University recognizes that some activities at UWF may fall under the exclusions provided by regulatory agencies. RIO will assist the PI in determining if exclusions apply. For an explanation of these exclusions, please see Export Control.
What if my research involves export controlled items?
In the event that a research project involves export controlled items, a process will be followed to obtain government permission, an export license, to engage in research activities while protecting the security of the items. No research activity that could expose export controlled items to foreign nationals, entities or countries can occur until a license is obtained. The University applies for an export control license on behalf of the researcher.