There are several questions you need to think through to evaluate whether your work is subject to export controls.

Does my work involve Technology?

Technology is specific information necessary for the development, production, or use of a product.  The information takes the form of “Technical Data” (e.g., blueprints, plans, diagrams, models, formulae, engineering designs and specifications, and manuals and instructions) or “Technical Assistance” (e.g., instruction, skills training, working knowledge, and consulting services).  Conducting research in liberal arts fields, for example, would probably not involve such technology.

If yes, is the Technology involved in my work “controlled”?

“Controlled Technology” is “Technology” (including “Technical Data” or “Technical Assistance”) which is controlled for release or export to the country or nationality in question.  In terms of the ITAR, items that appear on the USML are generally controlled for all countries/nationalities.  Under the EAR, the analysis involves a review of the CCL and a subsequent determination as to whether the technology is controlled for the country/nationality in question. 

Practice Tip:

If yes, then certain compliance requirements are triggered, including the possible need for a U.S. government export license prior to export!

But.... Even if the work involves Controlled Technology, there are exemptions to these requirements. In the University setting information resulting from “fundamental research” is typically excluded from export controls. Fundamental research is defined as research in science, engineering, or mathematics, the results of which ordinarily are published and shared broadly within the research community, provided that a confidentiality or other nondisclosure agreement or contract provision does not otherwise restrict information used during the course of the research or publication and dissemination. You can find more information about these exemptions on the Exemptions to Export Controls section on this site.

Does my work involve an Export or a Deemed Export?

For purposes of export controls compliance, an Export is an actual shipment or transmission of Controlled Technology out of the United States.  A “Deemed Export” is the release of Controlled Technology to a Foreign National in the United States.

Although this is not a complete list, an Export or Deemed Export of Controlled Technology may occur through any of the following:

  • a visual inspection of Controlled Technology by a Foreign National.
  • oral exchanges of information regarding Controlled Technology in the United States or abroad.
  • transfer or shipment by any means (physical or electronic) of Controlled Technology to a foreign entity, including on a laptop or other portable device.
  • a foreign national accessing electronic folders that contain Controlled Technology.

When should I be on the lookout for issues regarding export controls?
Although much of our research and other activities at Bucknell may ultimately be eligible for certain exemptions from export controls, it is important to be on the lookout for export control issues.  These issues may arise in many contexts, including in connection with:

  • sponsored research awards for technical research
  • nondisclosure or other confidentiality provisions or agreements
  • demonstrations of prototypes
  • international collaborations
  • work at foreign institutions
  • participation in research by foreign national faculty, staff and students
  • foreign travel or shipments
  • sponsor pre-approval prior to publication of research
  • sponsor placing any restrictions on foreign national participation
  • receipt of any information or software marked "Export Controlled"
  • travel to or through Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria or Sudan
  • military-related research or research with the potential for military applications

What are my responsibilities as a PI?

As a PI, you must conduct a review of your research project and contract provisions to determine whether and, if so how your work might be impacted by export control regulations.  The University will assist you in doing so, but primary compliance responsibility rests with the PI.

The University has prepared a review form that will help you to determine whether your work is subject to export controls.

There are a couple of important points to keep in mind:

  • Complete the review form prior to commencing any research for projects in engineering, the sciences and any other projects involving technical data, and make a determination regarding the applicability of export controls, with assistance from the Office of Sponsored Projects and Office of General Counsel, if necessary.  In limited circumstances, you may be required to work with the Office of Sponsored Projects and Office of General Counsel to develop a technology control plan and obtain an export license from the federal government.
  • You will need to re-evaluate the determination regarding the applicability of export controls before changing the scope or adding new staff to the project to determine if such changes affect the initial determination.
  • You will want to make export determinations far enough in advance of your contemplated work to obtain a license, should one be required.