Export Controls: Overview
Stevens Institute of Technology is committed to a research environment that promotes openness, collegiality and collaboration. The University does not generally accept research agreements that limit (or require approval) of publication results or that limits the participation of researchers (including students) on the basis of citizenship.
At the same time, Stevens is committed to complying with all applicable export control laws and regulations that pertain to the conduct and dissemination of research and its products. Given the wide-ranging nature of export control regulation, it is likely that a researcher will, at some time, receive an award from the federal government (or as the result of a federal flow-through from a for-profit company) that impose access requirements; restrictions on the dissemination or transfer of items and/or information; require review and approval before allowing publication or presentation of any research results; or that restricts the presence of researchers on the basis of citizenship. These circumstances often denote the presence of United States Export Control Regulations.
FEDERAL REGULATIONS RELATED TO EXPORT CONTROLS ARE COMPLEX AND UNDER CONSTANT REVISION BY THE GOVERNMENT. ADD TO THIS, THE FACT THAT AGENCIES DO NOT USE STANDARD VERBIAGE, DEFINE DIFFERENT ITEMS AS BEING CONTROLLED, AND ISSUE CONTRADICTORY REGULATIONS ON THE SAME TOPICS.
United States export controls exist to protect the national security and foreign policy interests of this country. Export controls govern the shipment, transmission, or transfer of certain sensitive items, information or software to foreign persons or entities. Where applicable, they may require authorization from the US Government in the form of an export license. Most of the items, information or software that Stevens ships or shares with its colleagues and research partners is not of a nature that would be restricted for these purposes, nor are they destined for countries or individuals or entities subject to US embargoes or sanctions. However, Stevens recognizes it is required to exercise due diligence, and for this reason a Decision Matrix has been crafted for the purpose of aiding with US trade law compliance.
The Decision Matrix will take you through a series of questions designed to determine whether an export control license is needed. While it will cover a large percentage of the circumstances we encounter during our university research, you will find that some questions require additional information and it is necessary to complete all associated parts of this assessment. If in doubt, please contact OSP for guidance.
If one of your responses prompts you to contact SIT’s Export Controls Office, you should do that as expeditiously as possible as an export control license may be required and that process may take several months. Please provide the results of this Decision Matrix and all associated assessments to the Export Control Office. If you are planning to ship or carry materials abroad, it is imperative that this matrix be completed as soon as you recognize the need. The Export Controls Office will assess the possible use of a qualified Exemptions or exclusion. Stevens must exercise due diligence and engage in an analysis of the circumstances to provide satisfactory confirmation to any audit by the Government for export compliance.
COMMON “EAR” EXCEPTIONS
Some of the most commonly controlled items that our University population will encounter are laptops, PDAs, cell phones and flash drives when traveling overseas. There are EAR exceptions available for most of these items but it is necessary to engage in the assessment as this is part of the record-keeping requirement levied on the exporter (in this case the university and its employees).
Exception/Exemption checklists for the most common shipping circumstances of controlled technology are available as shown below:
EAR/Temporary Imports, Exports and Re-exports (TMP) – ANNUAL CERTIFICATION
EAR/Temporary Imports, Exports and Re-exports (TMP)
TECHNOLOGY CONTROL PLAN
If the research involves Export Controlled Information (ECI) and it cannot qualify for an exception or exemption through the EAR or ITAR because of award terms and conditions, or because it does not meet the threshold definition of “basic research” or “educational information” or the “fundamental research exclusion” or information in the “public domain;” then it will be necessary for the Principal Investigator to develop a Technology Control Plan (TCP). TCPs engage in an assessment of the steps to be taken to secure the controlled technology and are a required element of the governmental record-keeping responsibilities. TCPs will suffice to protect the controlled technology and obviate the requirement for an export license, until (and unless) the technology is shipped or shared. TCPs must be developed in concert with the Export Controls Office in the Office of Sponsored Programs. The ECO will assist in the completion of this process after conducting an interview with the PI to discuss all the parameters of the research.
INFORMATION IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN AND EXEMPT FROM EXPORT CONTROLS
Research might involve Export Controlled Information (ECI); however, if it might qualify as exempt from the requirement for a license or Technology Control Plan if it is information in the “public domain.” The checklist that follows will engage that assessment and provide substantiation of our institutional analysis.
- Checklist for Public Doman Exemption
The Office of Sponsored Programs is required to maintain a robust export compliance program in place for its University population. In order to achieve this, regular training with refreshers is incumbent on us. The Export Control Office has developed a three level training program based on the needed exposure to the laws and regulations. The three levels or “tiers” are as follows:
- Tier One, offered annually, and requiring 45 minutes consists of:
- Office of the President, Provost and cabinet
- Department Heads
- Tier Two, offered monthly and requiring 2 hrs. consists of:
- Principal Investigators,
- Faculty supporting Sponsored Research
- Post-Doc Grad Students
- Department Administrators supporting Research Faculty, including HR, IT, Security personnel.
- Tier Three, offered quarterly and requiring 1 hr. consists of:
- Faculty not directly working Sponsored research
- University Administrative Staff
In addition to the above, the University has mandated that all professional faculty and staff take a basic export fundamentals course that will provide a useful understanding of the export compliance requirements imposed by the US Government. The course is required to be taken once, and your participation will be recorded as completed when taken. This course can be accessed by visiting the CITI training page.