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Researcher Guidance on Export Control

Information for researchers on specific export control areas.

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Am I an Exporter?

If you do any of the following you may be an exporter:

  • Teaching foreign nationals about the use or design of export-controlled equipment/tools, or related technologies
  • Disclosing or shipping third-party controlled proprietary info to a foreign national in the U.S. (even in your own lab) or to anyone outside the U.S. as part of a research project
  • Receiving any export-controlled information or controlled proprietary info specified in NDAs, contracts, grants, MTAs, or purchase orders
  • Providing any service or anything of value to a sanctioned country (e.g., Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, or Sudan)

In general, the export control regulations cover four main types of University activities:

  • Shipment—from the United States to a foreign country—of controlled physical items, such as scientific equipment, that require export licenses
  • Travel to certain sanctioned or embargoed countries for purposes of teaching or performing research
  • Transfer of information related to export-controlled items, including technical data, to persons and entities outside the United States
  • Verbal, written, electronic, or visual disclosure to, or sharing with, foreign nationals of controlled scientific and technical information related to export controlled items, even when it occurs within the United States

What are the dos and don'ts of technical data exchange?

  • Do publish research results in a timely manner (e.g., early and often) through one of the means that qualifies as "publicly available" or "in the public domain." Publicly available technology and software is that which is:
    • Already published or will be published in journals, books, open websites, or other media available to a community of persons interested in the subject
    • Published through release at open conferences and meetings
    • Arises during or results from fundamental research where the resulting information is ordinarily published and shared broadly within the scientific community and where no contractual controls have been accepted
    • Educational information released by instruction in catalog courses and associated teaching laboratories of the university
    • Included in certain patent applications. Before publication, consult with the UC San Diego Technology Transfer Office if the data concerns a patentable invention.
  • Do identify projects with "deliverables" to foreign countries to your Department/ORU and the OCGA or SIO Analyst and Export Control at the proposal and/or award stage.
  • Do not accept publication controls/restrictions such as prior sponsoring agency approval of manuscripts or access/dissemination restrictions, such as approval requirements for access to or use by foreign nationals.
  • Do not provide citizenship, nationality, or visa status information for project staff to sponsors or other third parties or include such information in proposals. It is a violation of the INS regulations, of the federal Privacy Act, and the California Information Practices Act to do so. It is also contrary to University policy to discriminate on the basis of citizenship or to select research project staff on any basis other than merit.
  • Do not agree to background checks or other arrangements where the sponsoring agency screens, clears, or otherwise approves project staff. University policy allows for background screening conducted by the University when appropriate to the position.
  • When invited and permitted to attend conferences/meetings that are held in the United States or hosted by the federal government, where foreign nationals are prohibited from attending, do attend in the capacity as a University employee. However, do not accept and do not bring to UCSD, any material which is labeled as export controlled. Do not accept information that is marked both "confidential" and "subject to U.S. Export Control laws." Do not disclose any controlled scientific and technical information related to export controlled items that you receive at the meeting through verbal, written, electronic, or visual disclosure, or share with foreign nationals any controlled scientific and technical information related to export controlled items.
  • When signing the federal Department of Defense form DD2345 (entitled, "Militarily Critical Technical Data Agreement") as a condition of attending a conference/meeting or receiving materials from the federal government or other sources, do so as an individual, not in your capacity as a university employee.
  • Do not enter into secrecy agreements or otherwise agree to withhold results in research projects conducted at the University or that involve University facilities, students, or staff.
  • Do not enter into any Confidentiality/Non-Disclosure Agreements that contain language that has either UC and/or any of its employees assuming the burden of restricting dissemination based on citizenship status or securing licenses.
  • Do not accept proprietary information, commodities, or equipment from a commercial contractor that is marked "Export Controlled". Return to the manufacturer any materials provided about export controlled equipment that is marked "confidential".
  • Contact Export Control at least 3 months in advance for planned travel to conduct research or educational activities to the embargoed countries of Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Sudan or Syria to determine whether a license from the Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control, is required.
  • Direct any questions regarding Department of Defense form DD2345 (entitled, "Militarily Critical Technical Data Agreement") to the Export Control Office to determine control plan requirements.

What are the dos and don'ts of software exports?

  • Do make software and technical data available for general distribution for research, educational, and non-profit purposes in accordance with University of California copyright policy.
  • If the source code of a software program is publicly available for the purposes listed above, then the machine readable code compiled from the source code is software that is publicly available and, therefore, not subject to the EAR.
  • Do ask the software provider to identify the Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) that controls the software, if they indicate that is does, and contact Export Control and we will determine if there are any needed licenses.
  • Do not agree to software license restrictions on access to or use of the software by nationals of certain countries or restrictions on dissemination.
  • Do not agree to software license restrictions on dissemination of the "direct product" of the software. "Direct product" is defined as a process or service that arises directly from use of the software.
  • Certain types of software contain export restricted encryption, contact Export Controls to discuss any encryption software source code restrictions.

Are there any special controls on biological items?

For researchers in the Health Sciences or working with biological items there are a number of items that will require export licenses prior to being shipped outside the U.S.

Is there any special guidance for Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) researchers?

For researchers at SIO there are a number of third-party components or tools that may require export licenses under EAR or ITAR depending on their capabilities or original design intent. Please contact export control as far in advance as possible to discuss upcoming research missions to determine any export license requirements.

For those third-party components or items, it is best to contact the manufacturer and request the ECCN or ITAR classification prior to the item being purchased. When a similar item is available that is not ITAR controlled, it is recommended that item be purchased instead.

ITAR components or equipment can trigger export licensing for the physical item if it is going out more than 12 nautical miles from the U.S. into international waters, technical data associated with that item and licensing of foreign nationals who require access or training on the use of that item.

Technology control plans (Word file) will be required for export controlled technical data, equipment or components. Contact export control prior to the acquisition of any export restricted items so we can assist in developing the required plan including physical and IT security and any foreign national reviews that may be required.

In addition to an export license, other conditions and provisos must be followed. Export control will advise you at the time the license is approved and assist you in complying with those government requirements like filing the Electronic Export Information (EEI) through the Automated Export System (AES).

I received a call from the US government, what do I do?

Alert the Research Compliance and Integrity Executive Director, Angela McMahill and Brittany Whiting) so we can assist and participate in the discussion with any US government questions in regards to export licenses, foreign nationals, your travels abroad, Customs, or specific export control questions.

Agencies may include:

  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
  • Office of Export Enforcement (OEE)
  • Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS)
  • US Department of State Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC)
  • Department of Homeland Security US Customs
  • US Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC)

I am traveling abroad on UCSD business or with UCSD property, what do I need to know about Export Controls?

Read: What you need to know before you travel outside the U.S. (PDF)

If you have additional questions, contact Export Control.

I’m hand carrying items abroad for research. Are there any requirements?

Hand carrying items in your luggage abroad is an export. Depending on the item you are carrying and your ultimate travel destination, an export license may be required. Additionally, whether or not an export license is required, if the items you are carrying are valued over $2500, additional US government paperwork needs to be filed through the Automated Export System (AES) for Electronic Export Information.

This only takes a few minutes. Export Control will provide a review of your equipment and determine if an export license or license exception is available and if AES filing is required. Please contact us in advance of your travels as early as possible as export licensing may take 6 weeks or longer.

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