Export Control

7 Steps of Industry-Sponsored Research

The Department of Commerce’s Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the Department of State’s International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) restrict the export of certain technology or technical data overseas and to foreign nationals working in or visiting the United States. Researchers at Georgia Tech must be aware that there may be restrictions on the transfer of items and/or information that is regulated for reasons of national security, foreign policy, anti-terrorism, or non-proliferation. In some circumstances, Georgia Tech may be required to obtain prior approval from the appropriate U.S. government agency before collaborating with a foreign company or foreign nationals. If any controlled information, technology, software, or equipment will be transferred to another party overseas or to a foreign party in the United States, a license must be obtained prior to the transfer unless a valid licensing exception or exclusion applies. An export license permits controlled technologies or software to be sent outside of the U.S. or shared with foreign individuals in the U.S. or abroad.

Most of the technologies and software Georgia Tech shares with foreign colleagues is not restricted or subject to export control; however, the university is required to conduct an export control review during the proposal development process for international research.

The Office of Industry Engagement engages Georgia Tech’s Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) to review all international research proposals for export control concerns.  During this review, OLA may contact the PI for additional or clarifying information. Once export control is complete, Industry Engagement will forward the proposal to the sponsor. However, it is important to note that proposals to foreign sponsors cannot be sent to the sponsor until export control approval is received.  Therefore, it is strongly advised that proposals be submitted to the Office of Industry Engagement at least 3-5 business days before the sponsor deadline to allow for this review.

Visit Georgia Tech Export Control to learn more about export control procedures and to find export control forms. We have also provided answers to some frequently asked questions on export control below.

What is export control?

Export controls are U.S. laws and regulations for the distribution of technology, services, and information to foreign nationals and foreign countries. They exist in order to promote national security interests, prevent proliferation of weapons and technologies to supporters of international terrorism, and comply with international commitments. Export controls usually arise for one or more of the following reasons:

  • The export has potential military applications.
  • The destination country, organization, or individual is suspect.
  • The end use or end user of the export is suspect.

How could export control affect ongoing Georgia Tech research?

Export control may include the following considerations:

  • Restrictions and/or controls over publication of research results
  • Rules disallowing graduate student participation
  • Rules requiring secure facilities with restricted access
  • Rules for controlled chemicals, biological agents, and toxins

What types of items are subject to export control?

Some examples of items that may be regulated through export control are chemical and biological agents; nuclear materials; remote sensing, imaging, and reconnaissance systems; information security equipment; military equipment; marine systems; composite materials; rocket and propulsion systems; and accelerometers. This is not a complete list but is merely intended to give a broad overview of the items, technologies, and software that may be subject to export control.

What is a ‘deemed export’?

Exports include:

  • The transfer of controlled physical items, such as equipment, to foreign countries or foreign nationals in the U.S. or abroad;
  • Transfer or disclosure of information or technical data (e.g. visual disclosure through observation) to foreign countries or foreign nationals in the U.S. (“deemed export”) or abroad;
  • And provision of services outside the U.S. or to entities outside the U.S.

Laws and policies apply to items, including software, supercomputers, “dual-use” commodities, technologies, as well as information transferred to anyone outside the U.S. or to a foreign person in the U.S. Export licenses are required in certain instances.

What is the Fundamental Research Exclusion?

The Fundamental Research Exclusion pertains to both EAR and ITAR restrictions. Fundamental Research is defined as “basic and applied research in science and engineering, where the resulting information is ordinarily published and shared broadly within the scientific community. Such research can be distinguished from proprietary research and from industrial development, design, production, and product utilization, the results of which ordinarily are restricted for proprietary reasons or specific national security reasons.” This Fundamental Research Exclusion applies to basic and applied research in science as long as the research is carried out openly and without restrictions on publication or access to or dissemination of the research results. However, if the contract includes publication restrictions of any type (including pre-publication approvals) for any reason other than the sponsor’s review of its proprietary information, the Fundamental Research Exclusion may not apply.

Who is considered a foreign national?

A foreign national is an individual who is not a United States citizen, a permanent resident alien of the United States, a lawfully admitted temporary resident alien or refugee, or other protected individual as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3). Individuals on a student visa or H1 visa (including foreign visiting faculty) are considered foreign nationals.

Which countries are subject to embargo?

Although exports to all countries are controlled in various ways, restrictions vary from country to country. There are very strict prohibitions on shipments and interactions with embargoed countries and those designated as supporting terrorist activities. These currently include Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Northern Sudan, and Syria.