Export control compliance for research projects

University research must be reviewed for terms of the award or provisions that may render the Fundamental Research Exclusion inapplicable, as well as for the use of export controlled items, materials, technology, and/or software. All University research, regardless of whether it is conducted by employees, volunteers, students, or visitors, must be reviewed. Sponsored proposals and awarded projects will be reviewed by the Office of Sponsored Projects. Non-sponsored projects will be reviewed by the faculty member(s) responsible for the research.

Research Reviewed by the office of Sponsored Projects

Proposal Phase: The OSP Pre-Award Research Administrator assigned to the proposal will review the SP-1 form for restrictions on publications or other export controls considerations, as noted by the PI completing the form.

Award Phase: If a project is awarded, the Grants & Contracts Officer assigned to the award will review the contract for terms and conditions that might negate the Fundamental Research Exclusion, such as:

  • References to U.S. export control regulations (beyond a mere statement to comply with the law)
  • Restrictions on publication of results (other than a brief review to ensure that proprietary or confidential information is not included)
  • Restrictions on access or participation based on country of origin
  • Restrictions on the use of proprietary or confidential information
  • Military applications of project results
  • Subject matter that is of a defense, space, or bio-chemical nature
  • Use of export controlled equipment/materials
  • Inclusion of foreign sponsors or collaborators
  • Travel, shipment, or work outside of the United States
  • Language suggesting the participation in support of the boycott of Israel by the Arab League

If such terms and conditions exist, the Grants & Contracts Officer will contact the sponsor and attempt to negotiate the removal or modification of unnecessary provisions, and/or amend any troublesome or unclear clauses.

If such negotiation does not result in the removal or modification of the identified terms and conditions, the Grants & Contracts Officer will contact the Export Control Officer (ECO) for further evaluation.

The ECO will review the the details of the proposed project. If necessary, the ECO will meet with the PI for further information.

If it is determined that export controls do not apply to the project, the ECO will recommend that the project be approved/accepted.

If it is determined that the project has elements that are controlled for export, the ECO will review for applicable license exceptions. If a license exception is available, the ECO will notify the PI and provide assistance with the required documentation. Once the documentation is complete, the ECO will recommend that the project be approved/accepted. Records related to license exceptions must be maintained for at least five years.

If it is determined that the project has elements that are controlled for export and no license exceptions are available, the ECO will work with the PI with the goal of accepting the research support from the sponsoring entity while ensuring compliance with export control and economic sanctions regulations. Outcomes may include additional training for project personnel; requests for a Commodity Jurisdiction from the Department of State, a Commodity Classification from the Department of Commerce, or an advisory opinion from the Department of the Treasury; the development of a Technology Control Plan; and/or an application for an export or deemed export license. Whether or not an award or contract can be set up prior to setting up a Technology Control Plan and/or receiving an export license will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

A Technology Control Plan (TCP) is a written document created by the ECO in partnership with the PI that identifies the export controlled items, data, technology or services and defines the steps that will be taken to secure them from unauthorized access. The TCP will be reviewed and approved by the Vice President for Research and Innovation, the department chair, and the PI. The original TCP will be returned to the ECO for official record. Once the TCP is fully signed, the ECO will recommend that the agreement or contract be accepted/approved. In the event that a TCP is not agreed to by the PI, the project is not recommended for approval/acceptance unless there are modifications that remove the need for a TCP.

All project personnel (employees, students, trainees and visitors) associated with the TCP will complete required training in export controls and economic sanctions. Additionally, the ECO will screen all project personnel against specially designated and restricted parties lists.

Once a TCP is in place, it will be modified on an as-needed basis and reviewed annually until the project has been completed or the TCP is no longer necessary.

If an export or deemed export license is required, the ECO will prepare and submit the application. Controlled items, materials, technology, software and/or services may not be released to a foreign national or other prohibited party until the relevant federal enforcement agency(ies) either approve the license or determine that no license is required. License applications can take weeks or even months to approve or deny.