Export Control Exclusions and Implications

What are the exclusions and how do I know when they apply to research?

Research is not subject to export controls if it qualifies for at least one of three exclusions:

(1) Fundamental research exclusion;

(2) Public domain exclusion; and

(3) Education Information Exclusion.

What is the Fundamental Research Exclusion?

The Fundamental research exclusion is a broad-based general legal exclusion to protect technical information (but not tangible items) involved in research from being controlled by export controls. In other words, research qualifying as “fundamental research” is not subject to export controls.

What is the Public Domain Exclusion?

The public domain exclusion applies to information that is published and that is generally accessible or available to the public through:

What is the Educational Information Exclusion?

The educational information exclusion covers commonly taught in courses listed in catalogues and associated teaching laboratories of academic institutions in the United States.

What controls in government-sponsored research nullify the “fundamental research exclusion?”

If the U.S. Government funds research and specific controls are agreed on to protect information resulting from the research, then information resulting from the project will not be considered fundamental research. Such controls are usually contained in contractual clauses. Examples of "specific controls" include requirements for prepublication “approval” by the Government; restrictions on dissemination of information to non-U.S. citizens or other categories of persons; or restrictions on participation of non-U.S. citizens or other categories of persons in the research.

Does a sponsor request to “review” a publication prior to distribution nullify the fundamental research exclusion?

No, this kind of review, even when requested, is considered a courtesy rather than a restriction. If the award required "review and approval" it is considered a restriction as this language implies the potential of denying approval to publish or requiring changes to the report, presentation, or article prior to publication. A publication approval requirement would nullify the fundamental research exclusion.

What if a sponsor begins providing export-controlled information or technology to a project previously determined to be fundamental research?

This action is an indication that the direction of the research or some other factor has changed the project in some way to render the export control regulations applicable to this project and that, more than likely, the researcher’s work will now be export controlled.  Contact Export Control before continuing work on the project to re-evaluate for export control protocols.

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