Export Controls for Researchers
Export Controls seek to prevent technologies, materials, chemicals, goods, equipment, information, software or computer programmes, and know-how, being acquired by those that may use these items for undesirable purposes such as to destabilise governments, threaten national security or human life.
In particular, export controls cover items of military use, or that can be adapted for military use, i.e. dual use (including their constituent parts, or unfinished goods). There are certain exemptions for basic scientific research and for material that is already in the public domain, but these exceptions or “decontrols” are interpreted very narrowly and need to be considered carefully on a case by case basis as to whether they might apply.
Licenses. Export Controls generally take the form of a legal obligation on exporters to obtain prior authorisation i.e., an Export Licence, from the national competent authority for the export to third countries of the listed items. In Ireland, this means that exporters must apply to the Export Control Unit of the Department of Enterprise Business and Innovation for an export licence before exporting any of the listed items or any technology, technical assistance, software or knowhow relating to those items.
Universities. We are subject to Export Controls in the very same way as commercial exporters; the motivation or the reason for the export is not relevant. If a University exports a listed item, or exports technical assistance/knowhow etc. relating to a listed item, it must obtain a licence in advance, regardless of the intended use. Whilst academic freedom is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, that does not exempt researchers and Universities from complying with the Regulations.
The European Commission Recommendation 2021/1700 provide guidelines for Universities on how we can comply with export control. We are currently working through the recommendation and further information will be provided in due course. Meanwhile, we have provided some helpful training videos below and if you have queries or believe you have an immediate requirement for an Export Control Licence, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Researcher Export Controls Training
Part 1 : What are export controls?
Part 2: Scenarios where researchers are considered exporters.
Part 3: The EU Military List.
Part 4: Case Study.