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What Is Export Control? And What Does It Have to Do With Research?

August 13, 2020

A key part of managing any research in an academic setting is export control compliance. Understanding the regulations of export control and having a good system to properly follow the regulations are both important. 

What Is Export Control? 

Export control is the area of laws and regulations that govern the access, transporting, release, sharing, and publication of non fundamental research with foreign countries and foreign nationals. It is used to protect the United States and the international community from sensitive research information being mishandled or misused. 

Export control not only focuses on information or technology that is going to leave the United States, but it also includes “deemed exports.” If regulated information or technology is released to a foreign national living in the United States, it is deemed as an export to the home country of that individual. 

If a foreign national will be assisting with, collaborating on, or accessing research data, export control compliance is essential in managing deemed exports to ensure adherence with laws and regulations. When it comes to controlled research, it is important to protect and track where the findings are published and shared, where sensitive information is stored, and who has access to it. 

Export control regulations are in place to ensure that both tangible goods and items, as well as thoughts, innovations, and theories, are protected, managed, and controlled in how they are shared. 

What About Fundamental Research?

Some researchers believe they don’t have to be concerned about export control because of the Fundamental Research Exclusion (FRE). However, this introduces risk since FRE can be easily misunderstood. Fundamental research is defined as basic or applied research in the areas of science and engineering where the resulting information is intended to be published and shared broadly within the scientific community with no governmental restrictions. 

The Fundamental Research Exclusion states that information and software (except certain encryption source code) from fundamental research may be disclosed to non-US persons without specific US Government authorization. This exclusion only applies to the dissemination of research data and information, not to the transmissions of material goods. Additionally, there are situations where the exclusion does not apply. For example, if the research includes confidential information received from an outside party, such as a government or industry sponsor, rather than being a result of the research, then that information is generally not covered within the FRE. 

Given the complexities of the regulations, it’s never wise to dismiss export control in your research. All forms of research, even fundamental research, must be a confirmed export control compliant. 

Consequences of Export Control Violations

All research should include the management of export control compliance. Mistakes in following export control regulations can lead up to twenty years of jail time and fines of up to $1,000,000 per violation. In addition, permanent damage to the reputation and credibility of the research institution can directly affect funding and grants.

Compliance with Kuali Export Control Management

Compliance with export control laws and regulations does not have to be complicated. Managing export control practices can be streamlined with Kuali. Kuali Export Control Management helps institutions capture, track, monitor, and analyze all of their export control compliance activities in one secure location. 

Kuali begins the process of helping with export control management by providing faculty and staff with the screening tools to identify export control situations. If a need is discovered as part of this survey, the user can begin managing and tracking the export control activities immediately. Not only does Kuali Export Control Management help track the activities involved with export control compliance, but it also facilitates efficient and effective communication among research faculty, administrative staff, and the export control officer. Notifications and updates can be sent automatically as the project progresses to facilitate transparency and disclosure around export control issues. 
Download our ebook to learn more about Export Control Management and how it seamlessly integrates with Kuali’s Sponsored Programs and Compliance software. These resources will help you meet government regulations, institutional policies, and ever-evolving guidelines.

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