UC's Export Compliance Plan

The University of California’s strategy for compliance with the federal export controls is based upon maintaining an open, fundamental research environment, such that scientific data and results qualify as being in the “public domain” under ITAR and are not subject to the EAR under the provisions related to:

By qualifying under these sections of EAR and ITAR, the university can avoid the problems associated with “deemed exports” of technical data, and then secure any required export licenses for actual shipment of controlled items into or out of the United States. In this manner, UC can maintain its open research and education environment while also complying with the export regulations.

In response to efforts to insert contract language controlling publication and participation of foreign nationals in university research, the university confirmed its policy on maintaining an open research and education environment.  In September 2002, the Vice Chancellors for Research from the (then) nine UC campuses unanimously agreed that the University would not make exceptions to the publication policy or accept restrictions on the open dissemination of research results.  It is essential that government contractors and agencies understand that it is not merely a matter of University policy and its education and research mission; it is a matter of compliance with export regulations. 

Steps for researchers to follow to adhere to UC’s Export Compliance Plan

UC faculty and staff must take the following steps to assure that they do not violate the export regulations and become personally liable for substantial civil and criminal penalties.


  1. Prior to shipment of any commodity out of the U.S., determine if the commodity requires an export license and assist in securing such license, when required. There are two main 'lists' of controlled items: Export Regulations (EAR) and International Traffic in Arms (ITAR).  You have to check both lists:  the EAR Commerce Control List and the ITAR U.S. Munitions List.
  2. Secure license approval or verify license exception prior to shipment for all controlled items.  Contact your campus export control manager or Vice Chancellor for Research for guidance on the responsible office on your campus for verifying license exceptions and submission of license applications.

Publications and personnel restrictions:

  1. Assure that all technical data about export-controlled commodities qualify as “publicly available” under the above-described criteria (e.g., publish early and often).
  2. Do not accept publication controls or access/dissemination restrictions (such as approval requirements for use of foreign nationals), enter into ‘secrecy agreements’, or otherwise agree to withhold results in research projects conducted at the University or that involve University facilities, students, or staff.
  3. Do not accept proprietary information from another that is marked “Export Controlled.” Return to the manufacturer any materials they provide to you about export-controlled equipment that is marked “Confidential”.  Review any Confidentiality/Non-Disclosure Agreements to insure that UC and you are not assuming the burden of restricting dissemination based on citizenship status or securing licenses.
  4. Do not provide citizenship, nationality, or visa status information for project staff to others or include such information in proposals. It is a violation of the INS regulations, of the federal Privacy Act, and the California Information Practices Act to do so. It is also contrary to university policy to discriminate on this basis or to select research project staff on any basis other than merit.
  5. Do not agree to background checks or other arrangements where the external sponsor screens, clears, or otherwise approves project staff. University policy allows for background screening conducted by the University when appropriate to the position.
  6. Do not attend meetings where foreign nationals are prohibited from attending. Do not sign the DD2345, Militarily Critical Technical Data Agreement, as a condition of attending a conference or receiving materials from the government.
  7. Do not travel to conduct research or educational activities to the embargoed countries of Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Sudan or Syria without first checking with the campus Vice Chancellor for Research to ascertain whether a license from the Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control, is required.
  8. Contact your campus Contracts and Grants Office if you encounter problems in any of the above areas for assistance in resolving the matter so that the research may proceed in a manner that avoids violation of the export regulations. 

It is important to take these steps to preserve the “publicly available” and “public domain” exemptions provided by the government, including that afforded to fundamental research.  Without exemptions, the EAR or ITAR licensing requirements may apply to information (technology or technical data) concerning controlled commodities or items. 

Unless a license exemption applies, a “deemed export” license would then be required before information is conveyed (even visually thorough observation) to foreign students, researchers, staff, or visitors on campus, and an actual export license would be required before information is conveyed abroad to anyone. 

The university’s mission of education and research and the international nature of science and academic discourse require that we maintain an open academic environment without regard to citizenship or visa status. The export regulations provide appropriate “safe harbors” for fundamental research to protect the university. By following the above guidance, we can assure that the faculty, students, and staff of the university do not compromise our academic standards and do not violate the export regulations.