UK Export Controls are designed to restrict the export and communication of sensitive technology or strategic goods, with the aim of preventing Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) proliferation and countering international threats such as terrorism. The Controls apply equally to the academic community as they do to any other exporter, and cover physical export, electronic transfer, non-electronic transfer (which may include verbal), or transfer by any other means.
Where a transfer or export falls under one or more of the Controls, a licence may be required in order to continue, or in extreme circumstances the transfer may not be able to take place. Export Controls and any licences required are administered by the Export Control Organisation (ECO). It should be noted that failure to obtain an appropriate licence to export controlled goods may result in a criminal offence being committed.

Academics and Researchers should consider the technology being exported and whether there are any concerns about the recipient of that technology, including current sanctions which might be applicable (see Current arms embargoes and restrictions). Export Controls should be considered as early as possible when considering undertaking a research activity. If an export falls within the Controls, a licence will be required before any transfer can be made. The ECO aim to turn around applications via SPIRE within 21 working days, however complex applications may take considerably longer.