UT Tyler Research Compliance - Export Control

Associate Vice President of Research and Research Compliance Officer

Anna Kurdowska, Ph.D., Associate Vice President for Research and Research Compliance Officer, oversees Export Control at The University of Texas at Tyler main and Health Science Center campuses.

What are the Export Control Laws?

Export Control Laws (ECLs) broadly describe a comprehensive series of regulations enforced by the Federal Government concerning the export of certain controlled technologies. The regulatory scheme encompassing ECLs requires certain technologies to be controlled for reasons of national security, foreign policy, and competitive trade.

ECLs control the conditions under which certain information, technologies, and commodities can be shipped, shared, or transmitted ("export") overseas to anyone, including U.S. citizens, or to a foreign national on U.S. soil. In the same manner, such controls can extend to interactions with foreign corporations. Most commonly, the control would involve obtaining a "license" from the Federal Government prior to exporting of any controlled technologies.

The term export when used in the context of ECLs is much broader then the standard notion of a tangible item being shipped out of the United States. Under ECLs, the term export includes any: (1) actual shipment of any covered goods or items; (2) the electronic or digital transmission of any covered goods, items or related goods or items; (3) any release or disclosure, including verbal disclosures or visual inspections, of any technology, software or technical data to any foreign national; or (4) actual use or application of covered technology on behalf of or for the benefit of a foreign entity or person anywhere. Export controls preclude the participation of all foreign nationals in research that involves covered technology without first obtaining a license from the appropriate government agency.

As mentioned, ECLs involve a number of different regulations. The three major regulatory schemes in place governing ECLs are provided in the table below:

Regulation U.S. Agency
Export Administration Regulations (EAR) Department of Commerce
International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) Department of State
Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) Department of Treasury

How does this apply to UT Tyler?

The export controls policy can be found at UT Tyler HOP 2.13.1 or UTS 173.

While University research has traditionally been free of governmental regulation, ECLs have the potential to substantially impact research and researchers in most fields of science and engineering at The University of Texas at Tyler. If research involves specified technologies, the ECLs may require that The University of Texas at Tyler obtain prior federal approval before allowing foreign nationals to participate in the research, before partnering with a foreign company, or before sharing research results in any manner (including by publication or presentation at conferences) with persons who are not U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens.

Fortunately, most of the research at The University of Texas at Tyler will be excluded from regulation under ECLs as a result of the exclusion for fundamental research (as long as there are no restrictions on publication of the research or other restrictions on dissemination of the information) or, in some cases, as long as the research or information is made public or is intended to be made public. Fundamental research, as used in the ECLs, includes basic or applied research in science and/or engineering at an accredited institution of higher learning in the U.S. where the resulting information either is ordinarily published and shared broadly in the scientific community or where the resulting information has been or is about to be published.

Information becomes "published" or considered as "ordinarily published" when it is generally accessible to the interested public through a variety of ways. Publication in periodicals, books, print, electronic or any other media available for general distribution to any member of the public or to those that would be interested in the material in a scientific or engineering discipline. Published or ordinarily published material also includes the following: readily available at libraries open to the public; issued patents; and releases at an open conference, meeting, seminar, trade show, or other open gathering. A conference is considered "open" if all technically qualified members of the public are eligible to attend and attendees are permitted to take notes or otherwise make a personal record (but not necessarily a recording) of the proceedings and presentations. In all cases, access to the information must be free or for a fee that does not exceed the cost to produce and distribute the material or hold the conference (including a reasonable profit).

Who does this apply to at UT Tyler?

This policy applies to all University of Texas at Tyler (UT Tyler) employees, students, affiliates, and consultants whose research, scholarship, and/or job responsibilities involve use of UT Tyler resources.

Principal Investigators (PIs) have the following responsibilities:

  • prior to commencing any research, to review and cooperate with the Office of Research and Scholarship to determine whether their research is impacted by the controls or requirements contained within export regulations, and
  • to re-evaluate that determination before changing the scope or adding new staff to the project to determine if such changes alter the initial determination; and
  • to make export determinations far enough in advance to obtain an authorization, should one be required.

The University will assist PIs in assessing the application of such regulations, but primary compliance responsibility rests with the principal investigator of the research. If you have questions about how the export regulations apply to specific research, please feel free to contact the Office of Research and Scholarship.

If a license is needed, what is the process?

Please contact the Office of Research and Scholarship for export control issues. The Office of Research and Scholarship will arrange for appropriate support both within the University and, where necessary, outside the University to address export control and license issues. Unless there is an urgent need for expedited review and approval, it normally takes 4-6 months to secure a license to export controlled materials from the U.S. or to transmit them to a non U.S. citizen or permanent resident within the U.S.

What are the penalties of noncompliance?

Failure to comply with applicable export control regulations may result in severe civil and criminal penalties to UT Tyler and to individual University employees, students, affiliates, and contractors. An individual who violates export control laws and regulations or does not comply with this policy may also be subject to University disciplinary action up to and including termination, dismissal, or expulsion in accordance with University policies and procedures.