Fundamental Research Exclusion
While these export laws and regulations may seem onerous, there is one advantageous exception that benefits researchers who are doing research with the primary goal of publication and sharing their results with other researchers. It is called the Fundamental Research Exclusion.
The term Fundamental Research is defined as "basic and applied research in science and engineering, the results of which ordinarily are published and shared broadly within the scientific community, as distinguished from proprietary research and from industrial development, design, production, and product utilization, the results of which ordinarily are restricted for proprietary or national security reasons."
Research results within the definition of fundamental research are excluded from the requirements of export control laws and regulations. No license is needed to share these results, even if they relate to items or technology that is otherwise controlled. Of significance to the University is that this exclusion permits U.S. universities to allow foreign members of their communities (e.g., students, faculty, and visitors) to participate in research projects involving export-controlled information on campus in the U.S. without the need for a license, where information is controlled by EAR. However, where such information is controlled under ITAR, the State Department has taken the position that foreign persons must be licensed or eligible for an exemption before information about controlled items or technology can be shared. Thus, where a research project involves equipment or information that is controlled under ITAR, it is imperative that ORPA conduct a review of the information to be shared to determine whether an exemption may exist or whether a license may be required. In no case does the fundamental research exclusion permit the transfer of export-controlled information, materials, or items abroad, even to research collaborators, except under very limited circumstances.
Because of the fundamental research exclusion, the University is able to conduct the majority of research activities that fall under the definition of fundamental research without the constraints of export control laws and without the need of an export license. Research performed on University premises normally will be considered as fundamental research unless the university or its researchers accept sponsor restrictions on publication of scientific and technical information resulting from the project or activity. However if a researcher is uncertain whether a research project qualifies as fundamental research, he or she should contact ORPA.