Working with foreign national collaborators, institutions, or students may fall under the purview of various federal export control laws. In general, these regulations involve military technology (including nearly all space-based research), “dual-use” technologies (including a wide range of equipment from distillers to lasers), as well as nearly any kind of financial transactions with certain embargoed countries or individuals.
These impacts are not limited to the physical export of equipment or software; “deemed exports” include dissemination of technical information to foreign persons, whether it occurs within or outside the US. This may occur in the context of presentations, emails, personal conversations, site tours, or in training of foreign national research personnel. Penalties for violations can be severe and accrue to individual investigators as well as the University, so it is important for investigators and administrators to be aware of their responsibilities.
In many cases, basic and applied research may be included under one or more of the exemptions or exclusions provided in the regulations. In some cases, it may be necessary to apply for an export license or Technical Assistance Agreement. Licenses and TAAs can take considerable time to develop, so PIs should contact the Office of Regulatory Compliance as early as possible if you think these may be required.