Export Controls:
Frequently Asked Questions and References

    • I will have Foreign Nationals visiting or working in my lab (including exchanges students or scholars). Is this an export control issue if their visit or work occurs in the U.S.? Foreign nationals visiting or working in URI labs or facilities may result in a “Deemed Export” discussed here:  Research Deemed Export. If you are planning to hire a foreign national scholar or student you will need to work with Human Resources. More information is available here:  Hiring Foreign Nationals.
    • I will be traveling internationally. Does URI provide any guidance?  The International Travel page provides guidance on risks and precautions for traveling overseas. If you plan to attend a conference, conduct research or other work-related reason and will be preparing a Travel Authorization, you will be asked to certify that you have read and understood this page.
    • I am planning to engage in an International Research collaboration. Do I need to screen my research partners? Please see the international research collaborations page prior to working with universities or businesses or conducting research overseas. If you are planning to work with a foreign country (such as Iran, North Korea, Syria, Sudan, Cuba or Russia) subject to U.S. embargoes or sanctions, please see the Countries of Concern page.
    • I am planning to ship materials, goods or equipment internationally. What do I need to do?  If you’re going to be shipping equipment, certain biological materials, software or technology to a foreign country, please see the International Shipments page.
    • I may want to exchange information with a foreign colleague. What are the restrictions? The restrictions depend on the type of information you are planning to exchange. Proprietary information may not be subject to export controls but may be subject to a Non-Disclosure Agreement with the owner. Generally speaking, Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) may not be exchanged, and no Classified Information may be exchanged with foreign colleagues. Fundamental Research results and information in the public domain may be shared with foreign colleagues. Further information is available here: Exchanges of Information with Foreign Colleagues.
    • I will be Purchasing Export-Controlled Laboratory or Research Equipment. How do I determine if it is export controlled and if so, how does that affect my use of the equipment? The equipment vendor is required to identify the Export Control Classification Number or US Military List Classification (as applicable) for equipment you’re purchasing. URI Purchasing notifies the Export Control Officer for export control equipment purchases valued over $5,000. If necessary, a Technology Control Plan will be prepared by the Export Control Officer with you, to address export control requirements appropriate for such equipment.
    • I am doing basic research that includes field work done overseas; does my research qualify under the Fundamental Research Exclusion?
      Your work outside the United States is ineligible for the Fundamental Research Exclusion. To qualify as Fundamental Research, research must be conducted at an accredited institution of higher education located in the United States. If your research includes work done outside the U.S., then you are ineligible for the exclusion even if such research and informational exchanges are being conducted abroad at an institution that is affiliated with URI. This does not mean, however, that export licenses will be required. Rather, it means that an export-control determination needs to be made before the exchanges can occur. Contact ORI for assistance in making that determination.
    • I am doing basic research at URI in collaboration with a foreign lab, do export controls apply?
      Sharing only the results of fundamental research with a foreign lab would not require a license. However, most often what you are sharing is more than the fundamental research. We often share fundamental research with a foreign collaborator, so that the collaborator can take the research a step further. That effort may also involve conversations designed to supplement your initial findings that were conducted under the fundamental research exclusion. The new research, even if based on fundamental research, is not eligible for the fundamental research exclusion, and any supplementary discussions or material may not be subject to the exclusion. Indeed, applying the fundamental research results to a new matter, particularly in the military or space field, could well trigger a license requirement.
    • I am working as a consultant overseas; do export controls apply to me?
      Yes, export controls apply to all U.S. persons, at all times. It is important that you understand and comply with your obligations under export control regulations, and you should confirm with the entity that has retained you that it has secured the appropriate licenses in advance of your consultancy.
    • My research is exempt from export controls under the Fundamental Research Exclusion, can I ship items developed as part of that research overseas?
      It depends on whether the items developed are subject to the export control laws. Although the Fundamental Research Exemption is broad, it generally does not authorize the transfer of physical items outside the U.S. Before shipping or taking any item abroad, even if that item is the result of Fundamental Research, an export control determination needs to be done to determine if a license is required.
    • Award negotiations with a sponsor for one of my awards are being held up. The sponsor wants to review whatever I intend to publish before I submit my publication to a publisher. I’m willing to agree, but my Sponsored Project Administration office says this is a publication restriction and we cannot accept this term. Why is this a problem?
      URI is committed to open research and its policies require there be no restrictions on publication of research. The Fundamental Research exemption permits only limited review to prevent the inadvertent disclosure of proprietary information or to preserve patent rights. The Fundamental Research exemption may be nullified if a corporate sponsor insists on a prepublication review. If the University accepts an award clause that is inconsistent with the Fundamental Research exemption, then the URI Export Control Officer may have to secure an export license for the sharing of information with foreign nationals.
    • I am going to attend a conference in Europe and will be presenting a paper that will be immediately published. I can talk to anyone about the project and what my plans for the future are, correct?
      It depends on whether it is controlled under the EAR or the ITAR.
      If you are dealing with information that is only controlled under the EAR, and you plan to share results that are ordinarily published broadly within the scientific community and are not proprietary, you may do so. If you are dealing with information controlled under the ITAR (i.e., may be presenting technical information that may be controlled on the Munitions List) you may not discuss project details or future plans. In that case, only technical information that has already been published can be freely shared abroad.
    • I will be submitting a proposal to the World Health Organization. The study will include a survey that will be completed by individuals within the country. The study will take place in several different countries, including an OFAC sanctioned country. What do I need to do before I go?
      Before anyone travels abroad for any reason, they should check to see whether the activities they plan to do abroad may be controlled for any reason or if there are any restrictions on the individuals or entities with whom the researcher will be interacting. Each embargo is different. At this time, the tightest embargoes are on Iran, Cuba, North Korea, and Sudan. In addition, as with all research abroad, a restricted party screening should be done for any organizations, business entities, or individuals with whom a researcher knows he/she will be interacting.
    • I’ve just made arrangements for some biological materials to be shipped to me from a colleague in Spain. What kind of export control issues do I need to worry about?
      Biological materials that are shipped into the United States are imports, not exports, and do not pose any export concerns until it may be necessary to return them to their source. There are, however, different regulations governing imports. The researcher should check with URI Environmental Health and Safety before importing biological materials from a foreign country.