- Why is this required?
Export control laws are federal regulations that govern how certain information, technologies, and commodities can be transmitted overseas to anyone — including U.S. citizens — or to foreign nationals on U.S. soil. These laws apply to individuals and organizations and to commercial and research activities.
- I need to ship something to my collaborator. Are there any restrictions to where I may send it?
There are a variety of concerns related to the shipment of any item being shipped to a collaborator ranging from the type of item being sent; the shipment’s destination; and/or the citizenship of the collaborator. Additionally, governmental approvals and licenses may be required. Please review the Shipping & Procurement page or contact the UTC Export Control Team for more information.
- I want to bring a collaborator to campus to work in my lab. How do I initiate this process?
When sponsoring a visitor who will engage in research, your departmental business manager will help you prepare and process a Visitor Information Packet. The packet should be submitted least 30 days prior to the visit. For more information and guidance about the applicability of the policy can be found here. If project plans change after you have submitted a Visitor Information Packet, please contact The Office of Research Integrity at [email protected].
- I am conducting STEM research that is not externally funded. Do I need to be concerned about export controls?
Yes. Export regulations may apply to any activity that involves transfer of controlled items or information. Research that is not externally funded often meets the definition of “fundamental research”—projects for which the researcher intends to publish study results and that are not subject to restrictions on foreign participation or dissemination of findings. Information generated during such projects is not subject to export controls (but software, equipment, and other commodities used in the research may be). If a researcher does not intend to publish findings—for example, to protect intellectual property—or is collaborating with an external organization under a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement, the research findings are likely to be subject to export controls. Consult with the UTC Export Control Officer ([email protected]) to discuss a specific scenario.
- I have a research award that does not restrict foreign national participation or my ability to publish the research findings, except the funding agency wants to review any publications or presentations in advance. Does this negate the fundamental research exclusion?
No. This type of review is considered a courtesy rather than a restriction. If an award requires “review and approval,” that would be considered a restriction because it implies the funder can prevent you from publishing and/or presenting your findings. A publication approval requirement negates the fundamental research exclusion.
- Can I present information from my research during classroom discussions if foreign nationals are present?
If the information was created, generated, or obtained through a grant or contract that includes export control restrictions, you may be prohibited from sharing it with foreign nationals in a classroom or other setting. In addition, ITAR includes restrictions on providing “defense services,” e.g., teaching foreign nationals how to develop, produce, or use defense items. For example, a faculty member who has a grant to develop and test manufacturing processes for rocket fuels may be restricted from teaching foreign nationals about this topic. Consult the UTC Export Control Officer ([email protected]) to determine whether restrictions apply.
- I download software that I use in my classes and usually just click “yes” without reading the license agreement. I have heard that some of these licenses have export control restrictions. What should I do?
First, read all license agreements because clicking “yes” and agreeing to the terms and conditions of the license. Most license agreements do contain some export control language. Second, notice if there are options for the type of software you can download. In many instances, there is an “educational” version which does not contain export-controlled information and is suitable for classroom use.
- We send documents to the UTC Print Center for reproduction, and foreign nationals might work there. Can we send documents that contain export-controlled information?
This would be a “deemed export” and would violate the export control regulations. Documents produced in export-controlled research are typically subject to marking requirements that identify them as controlled. Check your award terms and conditions for instructions, and consult with the UTC Export Control Officer ([email protected]) if you need to arrange for reproduction of export-controlled materials.
- I teach a class that involves information about encryption using standard published textbooks. Is this allowable if foreign nationals are in my class?
Yes. Information which is already in the public domain (e.g., published textbooks, excerpts from professional journals, newspaper articles, etc.) can be presented as part of your course without restrictions based on citizenship.
- Are individuals with dual citizenship (one of which is U.S.) allowed unlicensed access to export-controlled information?
This depends on the federal agency sponsoring the research. Check with your Contracting Officer/Program Officer and with the UTC Export Control Officer ([email protected]).
- If I have an award with no export control clauses in the terms and conditions, and my funding agency begins providing export-controlled documents, items, or controlled unclassified information (CUI), what should I do?
This action by the award sponsor is a good indication that the direction of the research or some other factor has changed the nature of the project. More than likely, your work will now be export controlled. Seek guidance from the UTC Export Control Officer ([email protected]) before accepting any items or information that the sponsor or a research collaborator has designated as “controlled,” “subject to EAR/ITAR,” “proprietary,” “confidential,” “sensitive information,” “for official use only,” etc. Controls that provide physical and electronic protection will need to be implemented and documented before UTC can receive controlled items/information.
- What are best practices that I should use to protect export-controlled information and items?
If your project is export-controlled, the UTC Export Control Officer will work with you to ensure that required security plans are in place. This may include 1) a Technology Control Plan which will include specific instructions on how to secure controlled items and information, and 2) an Information Security Plan that addresses federally required cybersecurity controls. Many federally funded projects that are subject to controls will be required to use the UTK Secure Enclave, a computing platform that complies with federal regulations and guidelines.
General best practices include:
- Controlled research is conducted in secured laboratory spaces that are physically shielded from observation or during secure time blocks when observation by unauthorized persons can be prevented.
- Data, lab notebooks, printed research documents, and other controlled research materials are stored in locked, fireproof cabinets located in access-controlled rooms.
- Discussions about controlled projects or work products are limited to the authorized investigators and are held only in areas where unauthorized persons are not present.
- Discussions with third-party subcontractors, such as manufacturing partners, are only conducted after UTC and the collaborating organization(s) have executed confidentiality agreements. Do not sign such agreements yourself—contact the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs for assistance in negotiating and executing any research-related agreement.
- Third-party communications are conducted only under valid Confidentiality Agreements with prior consent of the Government.
- Electronic communications occur through secure university systems such as the UT Vault. Proprietary information may be exchanged via the university e-mail system using password-protected (encrypted) files, with the password shared only with authorized personnel by phone or text message. Other methods may be appropriate for transferring controlled unclassified information—consult with the UTC Export Control Officer and/or your research sponsor to identify options.
- Project records, databases, and documents are stored on encrypted university-owned computers (proprietary information) or in the UTK Secure Enclave (controlled unclassified information, protected health information).