Fundamental Research Exclusion

Although policies differ between federal agencies, most exclude certain types of information from being subject to export control regulations. One of the most important exclusions for institutions of higher education is the Fundamental Research Exclusion.

The results of research performed as fundamental research, as defined below, are not subject to export control laws and regulations. No license is needed to share these results.

The term fundamental research means "basic and applied research in science and engineering, the results of which ordinarily are published and shared broadly within the scientific community," as distinguished from proprietary research and from industrial development, design, production, and product utilization, the results of which ordinarily are restricted for proprietary or national security reasons.

University research will normally be considered as fundamental research unless the university or its researchers accept (1) sponsor restrictions on publication of scientific and technical information resulting from the project, or (2) specific national security controls related to access and dissemination.

Prepublication review by a sponsor solely to insure that the publication would not inadvertently divulge proprietary information that the sponsor has furnished to the researchers, or to ensure that publication would not compromise patent rights, does not change the status of the research as fundamental research.

It is important to note that the Fundamental Research Exclusion applies only to information, not to the export or deemed export of controlled material items or technology. Thus, it is possible that while the information resulting from a project is excluded from control, the use of materials and/or equipment necessary for the project may require an export license before a foreign national can have access to it.

There are other restrictions on using this exclusion. Notably, encryption software is not eligible. Please contact Sponsored Projects whenever there is uncertainty whether your research qualifies for the Fundamental Research Exclusion or any other exclusion.