Research conducted by UCSB researchers is considered fundamental research, as long as there are no restrictions on publishing the research and the research results are ordinarily published and shared broadly within the scientific community. Export control regulations include an exemption for fundamental research, however this term is sometimes misunderstood to mean that export control regulations do not apply to fundamental research.

The Fundamental Research Exclusion only applies to the results of fundamental research and means that fundamental research results are not subject to export controls. However, this only applies to research data and information and does not apply to resulting physical items, encryption software, or research that is conducted out of the United States. In addition, an export control license may be required for fundamental research that involves the use of export controlled equipment or technology.

University research is not protected by the Fundamental Research Exclusion if the university accepts any restrictions on the publication of research results or accepts dissemination controls imposed by a federal sponsor. Similarly, the Fundamental Research Exclusion is jeopardized if a researcher accepts a private arrangement with a sponsor that limits their ability to publish or restricts foreign nationals from participating on the research project.

We are seeing an increasing number of cases where the use of export controlled technology is critical for certain research projects, but where access to that technology is restricted by export control regulations. In such cases, the Export Control Officer works closely with the PI to develop a plan to safeguard the controlled technology and determine whether a deemed export license is required for any researchers or students who need to access the technology.

Deemed exports refer to situations where controlled technology is “released” to a foreign national, even if that individual is currently in the United States. In certain circumstances, a deemed export license is required for individuals from particular countries to access controlled technology. The Export Control Officer will work with the PI to obtain any required approvals and to maintain the applicability of the Fundamental Research Exclusion.