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Research at Boston College

Export Control Policy

office of the vice provost fo research


Compliance with Export Control Laws and Regulations

It is Boston College policy to fully comply with all applicable United States export control laws, regulations, and policies. To the extent possible, the University and its faculty and students will conduct academic and research activities in accordance with the exclusions and exemptions permitted under the applicable federal export-related regulations.

The regulations include the following:

  • Export Administration Regulations (EAR) implemented by the Department of Commerce:
    The EAR covers the export of dual-use (civilian and military) items and technologies;           
  • International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) implemented by the Department of State:
    The ITAR covers the export of military and defense-related items, technologies and services; and
  • Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) policies and regulations:
    These regulations address country-specific controls, including economic and trade sanctions and embargoes, as well as restrictive controls with respect to specific entities and individuals.  Travel and the transfer of funds, services, and items to certain countries and a designated list of entities and individuals are subject to OFAC regulations.

Export control regulations cover the oral, written, electronic or visual transfer of items, technology, software, services, and information outside the United States, or any such transfer of a controlled item with the intent to transfer to a non-U.S. entity or individual. It is important to note that transfers of technical data or disclosures of information within the U.S. (even to a foreign student or colleague at the University) may be a “deemed export” if the item or information is controlled under an export control regulation.

Deemed exports may occur in what would ordinarily be seen as normal scholarly discussion or equipment-sharing among colleagues. If a discussion or shared equipment includes controlled information, and the colleagues are foreign nationals, then additional care must be taken in ensuring that such disclosures do not violate the federal law and/or regulations.

Care must also be exercised when traveling to other countries. For instance, traveling with a laptop computer containing controlled information or certain encryption technology can violate regulations, particularly when traveling to certain countries on a federal embargo or restriction list.

The foregoing examples are by no means inclusive and are presented here solely for illustrative purposes. Federal export control  regulations and policies apply to all Boston College employees and students, as well as those associated with the University on a temporary basis (e.g. visitors and visiting scholars). No person affiliated with Boston College may export items or make deemed exports contrary to the requirements of the aforementioned laws, regulations, or any policies and procedures the University may adopt to ensure the University’s compliance.

Most university activities and travel to foreign countries are not affected by export control laws, or they are subject to an exception. The most common exception applicable to a University’s transfer of technical data or information is the “fundamental research” exemption, which includes basic or applied research in science or engineering at an accredited institution of higher education in the United States in which the resulting information is published and shared broadly. Both to help ensure compliance with export control law and to protect academic freedom, University researchers should strive to ensure that their research activities meet this exemption whenever possible. Research will not qualify if the University accepts any restrictions on the publication of information resulting from the research (other than limited prepublication reviews by sponsors to ensure that their patent rights are not compromised) or the research is federally funded and specific access or dissemination controls regarding the resulting information have been accepted by the University or researcher. If the fundamental research exemption is not met, the University may need to adopt controls with respect to the research activities to ensure compliance with export controls, including any prohibitions on deemed exports within or outside the University. Furthermore, the fundamental research exemption does not apply to the export of licensed controlled tangible items or software or if the export is to an embargoed country or to a national of that country.

Export control laws, regulations, and policies are highly complex, and violations can result in severe civil and criminal penalties.  Those seeking assistance in determining whether licenses are required or whether any restrictions apply to travel, exports or deemed exports should contact the Office for Research Integrity and Compliance (ORIC). Additional information and resources can be found in the Boston College Export Controls website: /research/exportcontrols.html. The ORIC Director is the responsible official for the University’s compliance with export control regulations and has been designated as the University’s “Empowered Official” in accordance with Department of State regulations.