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Export Control survey

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There are no blanket exemptions from Export Controls for academic research or teaching. Before relying on one of the exemptions below, you must carefully assess whether an exemption applies to your activities. If you are unsure, we strongly advise contacting the Research Office for guidance.

The following exemptions only cover technology and software on the Dual-use items list. You cannot claim an exemption for the export of physical goods or any military items. Importantly, exemptions do not apply where there are End-use controls as military, WMD, and human rights concerns take precedent. You may need to apply for an appropriate export licence in such cases.

Decontrols & Exemptions from Export Controls

Information in the public domain

Type: Decontrol

Dual-use software or technology that is lawfully placed into the public domain is released from export controls - this is also referred to as being 'decontrolled'.

“In the public domain” is defined as "available without restriction upon further dissemination (no account being taken of restrictions arising solely from copyright)” (see Articles 18(1)(a) and 18(2) of the Export Control Order 2008).

For something to be in the public domain it must be freely available including in a book, on a website, at an exhibition, etc. It is not in the public domain if:

  • It needs to be bought from a supplier who controls the supply;
  • It needs to be registered for;
  • Where access is restricted to certain persons; or
  • Where it is subject to MoD or other Government security classifications (commercially confidential information, Official Secrets Act, etc).

Material placed in the public domain in contravention of a statutory prohibition (e.g. classified material), is not covered by this exemption. You cannot use this exemption to publish controlled technology or software with the intention to circumvent Export Controls - this might constitute a criminal offence.

Basic scientific research

Type: Exemption

Exemptions apply to items outside the scope of export controls.

“Basic scientific research” is defined as “experimental or theoretical work undertaken principally to acquire knowledge of the fundamental principles or phenomena or observable facts and not primarily directed towards a specific practical aim or objective” (see Article 18(3) of the Export Control Order 2008).

This exemption generally applies only to the most early-stage and fundamental work. Applied research and collaborations with commercial entities are usually not covered by this exemption.

Patent applications

Type: Exemption

Exemptions apply to items outside the scope of export controls.

In the case of dual-use technology, except for any items controlled under Category 0 (Nuclear materials, facilities and equipment) of the Dual-use items list, Export Controls do not apply to the minimum technical information required to support a patent application (see Article 18(1)(b)(ii) of the Export Control Order 2008).