Export Control Compliance

Export Control for Research and Sponsored Programs

What is Export Control?
U.S. export control laws are implemented as federal regulations that govern how certain information, technologies, and commodities can be transmitted outside the U.S. or to foreign nationals within the U.S. The scope of the regulations is broad: they can cover exports in many areas of science, engineering, and technology and apply to research activities regardless of the source of funding. Failure to comply with these regulations can have serious consequences, both for the institution and for the individual researcher. Penalties can include significant fines and imprisonment.

Export control regulations and the federal agencies that are responsible for them include:

  • Export Administration Regulations (EAR) | US Department of Commerce – Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS)
  • International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) | US Department  of State – Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC)
  • Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) | US Department of Treasury

What University research activities may trigger export controls?
Research in export restricted science and engineering areas – examples include:

  • Military or Defense Articles and Services
  • High Performance Computing
  • Dual Use Technologies (technologies with both a military and commercial application)
  • Encryption Technology
  • Missiles & Missile Technology
  • Chemical/Biological weapons
  • Nuclear Technology
  • Select Agents & Toxins (see Select Agent/Toxin list)
  • Space Technology & Satellites
  • Medical Lasers
  • Traveling overseas with high tech equipment, confidential, unpublished, or proprietary information or data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equipment including but not limited to advanced GPS units, scientific equipment, or with controlled, proprietary or unpublished data in any format may require an export license depending on your travel destination.

  • 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 may require an export license when traveling 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).

  • 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. This exclusion 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.
  • Use of Export Controlled Technology or Information
    University activities involving the use of export controlled information, items, or technology obtained from outside the university are subject to all export controls for those items, regardless of the nature of the research activity.  This applies to software tools obtained from U.S. government agencies flagged as "U.S. Release Only" or similar designation.

  • Shipping or Taking Items Overseas
    University activities that involve the transfer of project information, equipment, materials, or technology out of the U.S. by any 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 must 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.

  • International Collaborations and 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.

  • 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.

  • International Consulting
    Providing professional consulting services overseas, especially to embargoed or sanctioned countries (e.g., Iran, Syria, Cuba, Sudan and North Korea) is in most cases strictly prohibited.

How can export controls affect my research?
Several scenarios that may require an export license including, but not limited to:

  • A physical transfer/disclosure of an item outside the U.S.
  • Any transfer/disclosure of a controlled item or information within the U.S. to a foreign national
  • Any access to controlled software tools to foreign nationals wherever located
  • Participation of foreign national faculty, staff, or students in affected research
  • Presentation/discussion of previously unpublished research at conferences or meetings where foreign national scholars may be in attendance
  • Research collaborations with foreign nationals and technical exchange programs
  • Transfers of research equipment abroad
  • Visits to your lab by foreign national scholars
  • Sponsor restrictions on the participation of foreign nationals in the research
  • Sponsor restrictions on the publication or disclosure of the research results
  • Indications from the sponsor or others that export-controlled information or technology will be furnished for use in the research
  • The physical export of controlled goods or technology from the U.S.

Are there exclusions from export control laws?
Most University research is excluded from export control regulations when the research is considered fundamental or is in the public domain.  These exclusions can be lost, however, if researchers make agreements (including material transfer and non-disclosure agreements) that have publication restrictions or restrict who can participate in the research.

What can happen if export control laws are violated?
The consequences for export control noncompliance are serious for both the University and the researcher. Penalties can include significant monetary fines and prison sentences.

What is the role of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (RSP)?

  • Review all sponsored research grants and contracts to ensure University compliance with federal export control regulations.
  • Assist Principal Investigators (PIs) in the development of Technology Control Plans, as needed.
  • Assist PIs in resolving export control issues, e.g., negotiating contract language to allow open access to projects and obtaining licenses to allow foreign nationals access to export controlled projects, as needed.
  • Maintain a database of all documentation relating to export controlled-research projects. These records must be maintained for five years after a project ends.

As a principal investigator (PI), what do I need to do?
PIs are expected to have the best understanding of their research.  As such, they should know whether specific technology, data, or information related to their research is subject to export control regulations. The University Export Control Analyst Gary Rafe and the Export Control committee will assist PIs in the management of export control concerns. Such management may require obtaining an export license and/or the development of a Technology Control Plan (TCP).

PIs are responsible for:

  • Reviewing information on export controls provided on this web site. Additional training on export controls is provided by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and is available to PIs, their departments, and their department administrators.
  • Indicating on the Proposal Submission Form (RSP100) that the proposed work may be subject to US export control regulations.
  • Contacting Gary Rafe at (419) 530-2227 or ExportCompliance@utoledo.edu for help with determining whether any export control restrictions that may apply to the research.
  • Notifying the Export Control Officer prior to implementing any changes that may give rise to the application of export controls, such as a change in the scope of work or the addition of new staff to the project after work on the project has begun.
  • Cooperating fully with Office of Research and Sponsored Programs personnel to determine the application of export control regulations to proposed research if any export control issues are identified at the contract or grant proposal stage.
  • Development of a Technology Control Plan for management of controlled data, information, technology, equipment, etc., as needed.
  • Adhering to any applicable restrictions and cooperating fully with the University’s efforts to monitor compliance if it is determined that export controls apply to a project.
Last Updated: 7/5/22