Export controls and research collaboration
Export control regulations apply to the physical movement of goods or the transfer of software, data, technology or know how by any means (including by email and telephone) from the UK to a destination outside the UK. The controls restrict the export of goods or technology with the aim of preventing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and countering terrorism. Where an export falls under one or more of the controls, a license may be required before any transfer can be made.
The main areas of concern are technologies that can be used in nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons or their means of delivery. The transfer can be physical or electronic. Two categories of control are important in an academic context:
- Military items
Items with a specific military application to be exported outside the UK fall into this category. Some examples are: thermal imaging devices; target acquisition and tracking systems; phased-array radar antennae; and weapon-locating systems.
- Dual use items
Items with a legitimate civilian application which also have military application, to be exported outside the EU, fall into this category. Some examples of dual use items: dual-use parts and materials for nuclear reactors; chemicals (e.g. precursors for toxic chemical agents); micro-organisms & toxins (e.g. live cultures of lassa fever virus, apart from vaccines); navigation and avionics (e.g. continuous output accelerometers); unmanned aerial vehicles and associated technology.
There is no automatic exemption for academics and researchers. Failure to obtain an appropriate licence to export controlled goods is a criminal offence.
See more information on the Research Services webpages.
Importing natural materials or samples
Individual academics and researchers in the University have a legal obligation to comply with the Nagoya Protocol.
The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (the ‘ABS’ Protocol) is an international agreement that implements the access and benefit-sharing obligations of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). It entered into force on 12 October 2014.
Genetic resources in this context includes any material of plant, animal, microbial or other origin containing functional units of heredity which is of actual or potential value, or derivatives. Researchers who source or use such material are required to 'exercise diligence' to ensure that genetic resources and traditional knowledge associated with those resources have been accessed in accordance with applicable access and benefit sharing laws implemented by the source country.
EC Horizon 2020 Guidance on the ABS Regulation and how award holders should address requirements can be found on the European Commission website. This includes a 'decision tree' to answer the question of whether research falls within the scope of the Regulation.
See the full guidance on the Research Services webpages.